“Whatever your mind tells you is a limit is a lie; limitations are lies we tell ourselves.” – Mark Ruffalo
American actor Mark Ruffalo is one of the most recognisable movie-stars working in the industry now. Renowned for his works in both commercial blockbusters and independent cinema, he has impressed fans and critics alike courtesy his acting chops and with the variety of roles that he has portrayed over the years.
Perhaps best known for playing Bruce Banner/Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero films, Ruffalo began acting in the early 1990s and first gained recognition for his work in Kenneth Lonergan’s play This Is Our Youth and drama film You Can Count On Me. He gained nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for playing a sperm-donor in the comedy-drama The Kids Are All Right, Dave Schultz in the biopic Foxcatcher, and Michael Rezendes in the drama Spotlight.
On the occasion of his 53rd birthday, we look at the best Mark Ruffalo-starring films streaming on Netflix right now.
The 5 best Mark Ruffalo movies:
5. Rumor Has It (Rob Reiner – 2005)
In this Rob Reiner romantic-comedy, Ruffalo starred alongside Kevin Costner, Jennifer Aniston and Shirley MacLaine as Jeff Daly, playing fiancé to Aniston’s character. The concept of the screenplay by Ted Griffin is that a woman learns that her mother and grandmother may be the inspiration for the 1963 novel The Graduate by Charles Webb.
On her first time working with Ruffalo, Jennifer Aniston was all-praises for our man. “You could not ask for a more supportive, lovely, talented, hysterical, hard working man to play opposite. He really is. It’s so funny. All of these girls that I know from, who’ve worked with him, they’ll say: ‘This is the best co-star you’ll ever work with. The best actor you could ever ask to work with.’ And they were, I mean, they were absolutely right.”
4. Now You See Me 2 (Jon M. Chu – 2016)
The second instalment in the popular heist-thriller Now You See Me series had Ruffalo reprising his role from the first film as the Horsemen’s handler, FBI Special Agent Dylan Rhodes. Including an ensemble cast of Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman, Now You See Me 2 matched the success of its predecessor, ruling box-offices and garnering generally positive reviews.
Explaining how the magic in the film is more “realistic” compared to the first one, Ruffalo said: “Yes. It’s production magic. This goes both ways. It has the bigger things and then it has the slight of hand stuff. And there’s a really satisfying slight of hand thing that goes on and on and on. It’s slight of hand, it’s card manipulation, it’s very cool.”
3. Collateral (Michael Mann – 2004)
Although present with an incredibly star-studded cast—which includes the likes of Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Mark Ruffalo, Javier Bardem, and Jada Pinkett-Smith—the real shine in Collateral arguably comes from its master-director, Michael Mann.
This gritty film plays on in the dark LA underbelly, where the easy-going cab driver Max (Jamie Foxx) finds his rather uneventful world turned upside-down when his hire, the cold-blooded assassin Vincent (Tom Cruise) persuades him with big bucks to drive around the city so that he can go about his ‘job’ and assassinate five people during the course of one night.
2. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese – 2010)
From Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese, Shutter Island is the story of two U.S. marshals, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), who are summoned to a remote and barren island off the coast of Massachusetts to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a murderess from the island’s fortress-like hospital for the criminally insane. Also starring Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow and Michelle Williams, the film was hugely acclaimed for Scorsese’s masterful direction, as well as top turns from the entire cast.
Pervaded with an air of mystery and sense of foreboding, the film effectively builds on its interesting premise and only gets more gripping, thrilling & suspenseful as the plot progresses. Scorsese keeps the plot faithful to its source material while eerie camerawork, tight editing and menacing music keeps the tense aura alive and kicking.
1. Begin Again (John Carney – 2013)
One beautiful drama with a musical heartbeat, John Carney’s Begin Again tells a story about family, friendship, and second chances against a New York City backdrop. With a top-notch cast, memorable melodies, and recognisable themes, the film easily engages and becomes something highly appealing.
Starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo as, respectively, a fledgeling musician and a jaded record producer, the film follows as the two come together to pick up the pieces of their individual lives. The story weaves together themes of redemption and separation as multiple characters collide in ways that are charming but never falsely so. It is a satisfying story with plenty of low-key warmth and heart.