Casey Affleck: Top 5 Performances

500 Days Of Film Reviews The Best Performances Of Casey Affleck

Casey Affleck’s stunning performance in Manchester By The Sea has won him awards and global acclaim. However, this is far from a break-out role for Ben Affleck’s younger brother. This accomplished actor, writer and director may only be 41 years old, but he has a long cinematic track record.  


In this post, I am going to highlight my favourite five Casey Affleck performances.

Good Will Hunting - 1997


Gus Van Sant’s award winning film, Good Will Hunting, was based on a screenplay written by promising newcomers, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Their powerful story made for an extremely moving film - a movie that is just as emotionally affecting 20 years on. 


In a film filled with superb performances, Casey Affleck shines as Will Hunting’s friend, Morgan O’Mally. He displays a perfect sense of comic timing in a film that benefits from his wonderful injections of humour.


It is hard to imagine anyone stealing the limelight from Matt Damon or Ben Affleck in this film but, watch it again, Casey stands out in every scene.


The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford - 2007


Casey Affleck took on a number of acting roles following Good Will Hunting (15 according to IMDB). However, none were as stunning as Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford.


Affleck plays Ford in this superb and gripping film (also notable for its wonderful cinematography from the legend that is Roger Deakins). In every scene, he conveys Ford’s awkward uneasiness and creates an almost unbearable tension between Ford and Brad Pitt's Jesse James. 


Affleck’s performance ensures that the film's two hours and forty minutes fly by and it was for this role that he received his first Oscar nomination.


Gone Baby Gone - 2007


Released in the same year as The Assassination Of Jesse James, Casey Affleck took on a leading role in Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone. Based on the

novel by Dennis Lehane, Casey plays Patrick Kenzie, a private detective hired to investigate the disappearance of a little girl.


Gone Baby Gone is both gripping and darkly disturbing. Casey gives a nuanced and extremely powerful performance - one that lingers long after the credits have rolled.


Aint Them Bodies Saints - 2013


In 2013, Casey Affleck starred in David Lowery’s atmospheric crime drama, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. He is wonderful as Bob Muldoon - one half of a doomed romance (the other half being Rooney Mara’s Ruth Guthrie).


Lowery’s film avoids the action that one might expect from a film in this genre, preferring to focus on what happens just before or just after violence. In lesser hands, this could have proved rather tedious. However, both Affleck and Mara keep us invested in their story until the movie’s final, tragic moments. 


Manchester By The Sea


A number of impressive roles followed Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (in films such as Interstellar, The Killer Inside Me and The Finest Hours) leading Affleck to a role in Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea.


The character of Lee Chandler, a man broken by grief, allowed Affleck the chance to show us all of his acting potential - humour, anger, love and grief.


Affleck gives a truly stunning performance in this film - one that has already been recognised by the Golden Globes and will undoubtedly garner him many more accolades.


However, most exciting of all is the fact that this feels like only the beginning for one of the most impressive actors working in cinema today.


Click here for my full review of Manchester By The Sea


Random Observations

Have you seen any of these films?


If so, what did you think about Casey Affleck’s performance in them? Would you include any of his other roles on this list?


Let me know! Leave me a comment in the box below!

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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