A guide to….James McAvoy


December 20, 2012 by thedavidryan

James McAvoy

Come one; come all to the newest feature on The Ryanblog!

Firstly let me start by saying no, the “Finally got round to watching….” feature is by no means dead and gone, so to none of its fans out there you can all rest easy. I simply thought the time was right to take a look deeper at those relatively new to the public actors that have been taking over the box office recently, to discuss some of their earlier and brilliant work before they hit the big bright lights of Hollywood celebrity.

The premise is simple, each “A guide to….” will feature one specific actor and will look at some of their previous unfamiliar work that I highly recommend you check out, if you are fans of them of course. If not, then take a hike junior!

So, let’s end this incoherent babbling and begin shall we? Come on down James McAvoy!

Atonement (2007)

James McAvoy stars as Robbie Turner, a simple groundskeeper who falls in love with the aristocratic Keira Knightley before having his heart and life ripped apart due to the actions of Knightley’s jealous younger sister Briony. AtonementDue to a spiteful lie fabricated by the envious younger sibling, McAvoy is excommunicated from his duties as groundsman of the manor and is sent to the perilous battle fields of the Second World War.

Atonement was a huge success both critically and financially, grossing nearly $130 million and earning James McAvoy a slew of awards and nominations for Best Actor in the role.

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McAvoy’s greatest moment in the film comes with not a single piece of dialogue being spoken. During a traumatic and emotional scene his facial mannerisms and look of anguish is dazzling as he gazes across the devastating ramifications of war. His heartbreaking performance in this disturbing scene is superbly powerful and makes this 2007 movie a must watch.

Inside I’m Dancing (2004)

Arguably one of James McAvoy’s most character driven performances is the acclaimed Inside I’m Dancing (also released as Rory O’Shea Was Here) as he takes on the role of the enigmatic wheel chair bound Rory O’Shea. Inside I'm DancingThe sweet natured story of Inside I’m Dancing follows McAvoy’s O’Shea as he befriends Michael Connolly, a fellow wheel chair user, whose disability restricts him to being unable to verbally communicate with others. Their unlikely friendship see’s the duo break free from their disability care home and move into their own housing accommodation with the help of their reluctant friend turned home carer Siobhán. O’Shea’s never give up brass attitude and Michael’s quiet nature leads the two improbable friends on a series of mishaps and adventures as they look to integrate themselves into modern able bodied Irish society.

The Ryanblog’s best bit

James McAvoy once again pulls at the heart strings during a poignant confrontation between the two pals, as the pouring rain rails they come to a crossroads in their friendship, as both have taken an affectionate shine to their mutual friend turned carer Siobhán. A gut wrenching scene in what is a wonderfully courageous story.

Starter for 10 (2006)

Starter for 10 is a spirited coming of age tale that chronicles the exploits of Brian Jackson, a student going through the next stage of his life as he leaves his small coastal hometown to begin his first year at Bristol University. Starter For TenFor those that went to University, Starter for 10 offers a very real take on the awkwardness of leaving home and meeting new people. Set in 1985, general knowledge boffin Brian seizes the opportunity to join Bristol’s University Challenge quiz team as a chance to meet new people and to impress fellow student Rebecca.

James McAvoy’s honest performance as the small town teen off to explore the big city without the comfort of his family and hometown is particularly pertinent, as it is something I did personally a few years back. Minus the whole ‘going on national TV for University Challenge to impress a girl’ thing, obviously.

The Ryanblog’s best bit

James McAvoy’s all too real and awkward moments are in abundance throughout Starter for 10. However, the best example is when Brian attempts to introduce himself at his first University fancy dress party, dressed as a priest, in an excruciatingly uncomfortable scene that hammers home just how glad I am to be in a steady 9-5 job, where I no longer have to deal with the embarrassing “so what course are you doing?” icebreaker questions of daily Uni life.

The Last King of Scotland (2006)

Without doubt The Last King of Scotland was James McAvoy’s breakout performance, a showing that made Hollywood stand up and take notice. The Last King of Scotland is the fictional story of Dr. Nicholas Garrigan (McAvoy), a young Scottish doctor who travels to Uganda and becomes the personal physician to the dictator Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker). Whilst most of the acting credits went to Whitaker’s powerful display as the intimidating African ruler, many criLast King of Scotlandtics praised McAvoy for his turn as the Scottish doctor hugely out of his depth.

The Last King of Scotland is a must see for fans of powerful emotive drama with an enthralling ending that will have you fully behind McAvoy as he looks to escape the clutches of the tyrannical Amin.

The Ryanblog’s best bit

Without doubt the best bit of The Last King of Scotland is the films climax. Without giving too much away it is edge of your seat stuff, as the initial friendship between McAvoy’s Nicholas and Idi Amin turns drastically sour with the young doctor attempting to flee Uganda to safety. It is a genuinely thrilling and suspense driven finale that lingers long after the final credits have concluded.

So there we have it a few relatively unknown recommendations for fans of James McAvoy to sink their teeth into. Stay tuned for the next “A guide to….” over the coming days.

For now, those with Twitter can follow me here.


15 thoughts on “A guide to….James McAvoy

  1. Glad to see someone talk about McAvoy’s brilliance as an actor. He really can dazzle. I first saw him as Thomas Lefroy in Becoming Jane. He bowled me over there and also in Atonement when I saw that. I haven’t seen the others you reviewed, but i’ll be adding them to my list of things to look for.

  2. Excellent stuff mate. Absolutely love Last King of Scotland, great film. Really like Atonement, too. Wasn’t as fussed about Starter for 10 and haven’t seen Inside I’m Dancing, but I’ll check it out if I can. I saw him in X-Men First Class but he was eclipsed a bit by our favourite well hung Irish/German fellow.

  3. Watched Last King of Scotland this morning from my film palace in Halls at uni – was such a great film. Have just ordered Inside I’m Dancing on your recommendations.

    If you know of any other films similar to Last King of Scotland suggestions would be great

    • thedavidryan says:

      Wow thanks! It is great that you ordered it on my suggestion. I dont think he has done many other films quite like Last King of Scotland, although I would definitely suggest watching Wanted if you haven’t already.

      • I didn’t necessarily mean James Macavoy films but I will check it out. With films at 0.01 on amazon even I can afford them on a student budget 🙂

      • thedavidryan says:

        I know that student feeling all too well! What kind of films are you interested in?

      • Thing is I am completely new to films. As stupid as that sounds. I never had the attention span and my ‘Thing’ used to be my lack of ability to watch films but in the last year I have changed :L

        All sorts really, I love films that leave you with questions shutter Island and A beautiful Mind are favourites, Indie cult films I suppose as well because trainspotting is a favourite but really I am open to anything.

      • thedavidryan says:

        Wow I have tons of suggestions for you then, for a film to leave you with questions I would suggest The Machinist with Christian Bale and Hunger with Michael Fassbender.

      • Thanks – Just watched the trailers and they both look great – currently sitting in my Wishlist untill the other arrive. Don’t suppose you’ve seen The Talented Mr Ripley?

      • thedavidryan says:

        I haven’t but I hear that is very good! Perhaps you will watch it and let me know your thoughts? 🙂

      • I’ve already seen it 🙂 thats why I said – going to recommend it to you to return the favour

      • thedavidryan says:

        I will definitely check it out! If you’re on Twitter you can follow me @TheDavidRyan

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