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Every Timothee Chalamet Performance, Ranked
Yes, the time he played a corpse on Law & Order is included.by Matthew Huff
Art: Hartley Mellick. Images: The Orchard, Netflix, Yannis Drakoulidis/MGM, Chiabella James/Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Class, Searchlight Pictures. All Courtesy Everett Collection
Timothee Chalamet. Timmy to close friends (which I obviously am). Oscar-nominated crying boy. Red carpet fashionista. Mr. Tumnus cosplayer. While only 26 years old (for just another month), the actor has racked up an incredible set of accomplishments, not to mention, millions of adoring fans the world over. He's worked with acclaimed directors like Greta Gerwig, Christopher Nolan, Luca Guadagnino, and Wes Anderson. He's played iconic book characters in Little Women, Call Me By Your Name, and Dune. And he even played a corpse on Law & Order (you're not a real actor if you haven't). The boy is clearly on his way to greatness and next year he'll be back in theaters with Dune: Part Two and Wonka (which has been much discussed already on the internet).
While Chalamet was in three films last year, his 2022 has been fairly quiet with only Bones & All, his young adult cannibalism love story, making it to theaters over the next week or so depending on where you live. I can say from attending the New York premiere, where several people threw up and/or passed out, that it is a DOOZY of a film. And it was while I was watching him ingest an arm that I thought, "Why not rank all of Timmy's performances?"
A few ground rules before we get eaten, whoops, I mean started: we're ranking both film and television performances. Cameos and bit roles are included, but his appearances in documentaries and as himself are not. Also, it should be noted that this ranking is based SOLELY on his performances and NOT the project as a whole. So, unfortunately, Matthew McConaughey's crying in Interstellar does not factor into this ranking, but thankfully, neither do the bad seasons of Homeland.
So, let's get this ranking started so I can get back to listening to the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack.
23. Hostiles (2017) — Pvt. Philippe DeJardin
Lorey Sebastian/Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
Coming at dead last (and dead is the operative term), we have Timmy's performance in this 1800s-set Oscar-baity Western about a group of soldiers tasked with transporting a Cheyenne warrior across the west. The cast is packed with talent (Rosamund Pike, Christian Bale, Jesse Plemons, Wes Studi, Jonathan Majors), and given that this debuted immediately at the same time as the one-two punch of Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name, you'd think that our boy would be at least passable here. Nope. Playing a French soldier, who has somehow joined the US forces, Timmy is delivering one of the worst French accents I've heard on film — a half-assed mix of Steve Martin's Inspector Clouseau and standard American. Mercifully, Timmy is given the least amount of dialogue possible and is clipped at the posse's first encounter with Comanche warriors. An accent so bad it deserves to be shot at close range and left for dead in the Colorado wilderness.
22. Loving Leah (2009) — Young Jake Lever
Rid of his ghastly French accent, but somehow with even less screen time, Timmy's TV movie entree comes up second from last. Timmy's got one scene in a flashback where he receives a necklace from his older brother, and he is perfectly fine in his 30 seconds on film. More interesting is the ludicrous plot of this Hallmark romance in which due to ancient Jewish custom (that I've never heard of) a man is guilted into marrying his brother's widow after he dies. Even crazier, the man (the older version of Timmy) tries to convince his girlfriend that this additional sister-in-law/wife is NBD. If this is the kind of stuff going on over on Hallmark, I gotta watch more often.
21. Men, Women & Children (2014) — Danny Vance
In case you didn't know, Timothee Chalamet and Ansel Elgort went to high school together (NYC's "famed" LaGuardia High School that boasts a celebrity-filled alumni roster) and are actor besties (or at least were pre-Elgort's semi-canceling). The pairs one collab is this Adam Sandler-led ensemble dramedy about a bunch of horny people trying to find love and/or sex online. Elgort plays a high schooler who doesn't want to play football anymore and instead wants to hang out with his nerdy girlfriend and play video games online. Chalamet, in a very small role, plays an acquaintance from the football team (lol at whoever would cast Timmy as a football player) who is VERY pissed that Elgort quit and is costing them the championship. Timmy's mostly a glorified extra but does have one lunchroom brawl to bump this above his sister-wife flashback moment.
20. Law & Order (2009) — Eric Foley
It's a right of passage for every New York-based actor to play a corpse on Law & Order, and Timmy did a marvelous job in his first-ever on-screen role. Our lil' baby wants to play Xbox with his friend, but his housekeeper won't let him. Then his body is found with his throat slit by a "Fresh Delivery" man, and a mysterious lock of hair missing. I'm giving him bonus points for lying super super super still as a dead body.
19. Love the Coopers (2015) — Charlie Cooper
Every December we get a new onslaught of Christmas films desperate to elbow their way into the canon alongside Elf, Home Alone, and It's a Wonderful Life. One ill-fated 2015 contender was this ensemble comedy about an extended family reuniting for the holidays. The film did poorly in theaters, worse with critics, and has largely faded from memory. Timmy pops up in several scenes as a grandkid with a deep crush on Lauren Hesselberg (the always-funny Molly Gordon). The pair are terrible at making out, Timmy gets punched in the face, and that's about it for him. He does manage to make himself incredibly unsexy, so that's some sort of acting, but he doesn't get much to do in this Christmas flop.
18. Worst Friends (2014) — Young Sam
Level 33 Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection
Chalamet's early career is marked by a number of "young" roles in which he plays the child version of the film's main character in a flashback. In this indie comedy, he appears in two scenes as Noah Barrow's younger self, whose best friend is awful. Timmy is forced to go as Alfred rather than Robin for Halloween (his bestie is Batman) and has to hide in a bush while said bestie hits on a girl who obviously doesn't like him. Wearing glasses, and with a distinct cleverness, Chalamet does stand out here in a way he doesn't in the likes of Loving Leah or Men, Women and Children, but he's still only a bit player.
17. Interstellar (2014) — Young Tom Cooper
If you had completely forgotten that Timothee Chalamet is even in Interstellar, that's because he barely is. As you probably do remember, Matthew McConoughey's NASA astronaut gets lost in space and time travels to Hans Zimmer's score, while his kids (MURPH!!!!!!!!) age on Earth without him. His son, Tom, who grows up to be a farmer, is played by Casey Affleck as an adult but Timmy gets the role for a few scenes before McConoughey launches himself into space. Since the crux of the movie is the father/daughter relationship, Timmy is mostly an extra here, but he does get a couple of good scenes to be angry at his dad.
16. Royal Pains (2012) — Luke
With slightly more screen time than he had in Interstellar, Timmy has a four-episode arc on this show about a concierge doctor servicing the elite in the Hamptons. Chalamet plays the nephew of Jill Casey (Jill Flint), a snarky chess prodigy who helped a girl cheat on the SAT before nearly dying from a cold medicine/antidepressant cocktail. After Jill left the show in Season 4, there was no reason for Chalamet to return, but this is the first time on this list we've got to see the erudite, smartypants, too-cool-for-school energy that will come to be his trademark. You can see how these clips in 2012 would help him land the film roles that would start two years later.
15. The Adderall Diaries (2015) — Teenage Stephen Elliott
Our final flashback performance on the list comes in this James Franco vehicle, based on a memoir by the real Stephen Elliott, about a man grappling with his past as he tries to write an autobiography. While Franco does most of the heavy lifting here, Chalamet plays the younger version who endured much of the physical and emotional abuse from his father and who descended into a life of bad choices to cope. A largely non-verbal role mostly shot with video and a heavy score, Chalamet is doing a lot of great facial work and body language acting (something he could often stand to do more of) to compensate. I wish he had a more even split of the screen time with Franco, but alas. He did what he could.
14. The King (2019) — King Henry V
Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection
On paper, this Timmy performance should be much higher. He is playing the titular King Henry V of England in a 2.5-hour-long saga based on William Shakespeare's Henry V. Rarely has he seen more screen time and yet this is far and away one of the most boring films I've ever had the task of sitting through. Thank GOD I decided to watch it in the morning. For whatever reason, Chalamet, who is playing a charismatic leader that rallied an entire nation around him, is giving NOTHING in this role. I supposed you could claim it's an interior performance, but if he's doing something it's too nuanced for me to pick up on the radar. He does have a bowl cut, and he does have a lot of lines, so I think it deserves to be above the bit roles, but this performance is on a high dose of Xanax (or whatever the 1400s equivalent of that would be).
13. One and Two (2015) — Zac
IFC Midnight/Courtesy Everett Collection
Timmy is giving another muted performance in this odd little rustic sci-fi tale about a pair of siblings who have teleportation powers and parents who decide to try and lock them on a rural farm. Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka is definitely the lead here as her half of the duo escapes over the barricade erected to keep the teens from the real world. Timmy, the more docile of the two, spends a lot of the film with his head down doing as he's told, but a few strong scenes at the end, made me nudge this above The King, which is BEGGING for a few mediocre scenes.
12. Hot Summer Nights (2018) — Daniel Middleton
A24/Courtesy Everett Collection
Hot Summer Nights is the third in this trifecta of muter performances from Timmy. It's also a bit of an outlier in his filmography because although it came out in 2018, after the Chalamet breakthrough in 2017, it was shot way back in 2015 before Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name. The film, which focuses on the bored Chalamet becoming a Cape Cod drug dealer, met with mixed reviews at festivals, had a hard time finding distribution, and was eventually dumped on Direct TV after he became a big star. The performance, like that in The King, is awkwardly restrained for some reason. He's a bit more chill in the modern setting than he is in the medieval one, but still just okay.
11. Homeland (2012) — Finn Walden
My first encounter with Timothee Chalamet was as the spoiled son of Vice President Walden in Season 2 of Showtime's juggernaut terrorism thriller. He played the usually annoying Dana's love interest who enjoyed breaking the rules and forcing his parents (and the United States taxpayers) to clean up after him. His suave charisma is on display here in a way it isn't in The King, and he gets to pull out some of his dramatic chops in the back half of the season after he kills a woman in a hit-and-run. Ultimately, he's dispensed with in the Season 2 finale in a bombing that kills much of the cast, but he was a fun weird blip in the show while he was around.
10. The French Dispatch (2021) — Zeffirelli B.
Wes Anderson's latest film foray was last year's New Yorker-come-to-life, The French Dispatch, an anthology film cataloging the various stories to be published in the final issue of the titular magazine. The celebrity-crammed cast fight over screen time, but Chalamet gets to star opposite Frances McDormand in a black-and-white segment about a college uprising. Because of the dialogue and stylization that Anderson always brings, Chalamet's performance is necessarily heightened. It's a small role, but his repartee and impassioned love affair with McDormand make it one that pops in an otherwise drowsy film. We're finally getting to the good stuff on this list.
9. Lady Bird (2017) — Kyle Scheible
A24/Courtesy Everett Collection
The one-two punch of Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name in 2017 skyrocketed Timothée Chalamet to a stardom that has not abated in the slightest ever since. As with his trio of muted performances earlier on the list, we've now entered a segment I like to call "Douchebag Timmy," in which he essentially plays variations of the same stuck-up, insufferable, pseudo-intellectual. Clearly, people thought he did a nice job in his few Lady Bird scenes as her horrible boyfriend and decided to amp that up.
8. A Rainy Day in New York (2019) — Gatsby Welles
Jessica Miglio/Gravier Productions/Courtesy Everett Collection
Timmy's second (and I'll say most annoying) douchebag is this self-obsessed, upper-crusty, "You don't know Mahler?" New Yorker in this Woody Allen film. As with my Emma Stone ranking, I had the distinct displeasure of enduring a Woody Allen film for the sake of being a completist, and this one, on the whole, is not great (and yet again features a very young woman in romantic relationships with much older men). Chalamet is SO INSUFFERABLE in this, which is exactly what he is supposed to be, and while Elle Fanning is the real star, Timmy does a nice job of elevating his Lady Bird role to a leading man status.
7. Don't Look Up (2021) — Yule
Niko Tavernise/Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection
A slightly grungier and more likable version of Douchebag Timmy appears in last year's apocalyptic Best Picture nominee in which he plays a shoplifter who meets Jennifer Lawrence and strikes up a romance as they face their death. Chalamet IS a really great comedic actor, something we saw fleetingly in Royal Pains and Homeland, and when he's allowed to flex those muscles he really shines. While he only has a few scenes towards the end of the film, Timmy is able to give us a range of emotions and skills we haven't seen yet on this list, and that's why this ranks so high. While Chalamet has made a number of great films, I think if he was given a lead role that tapped into this sort of semi-comedic performance, he'd do his best work yet. I'm not holding my breath for Wonka to deliver that, but if I was his agent, I'd be aiming for something in the realm of The Wolf of Wall Street.
6. Bones and All (2022) — Lee
Yannis Drakoulidis/MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection
The final Douchebag Timmy entry on this clump of the list is his most recent appearance in the cannibal drama (not to be confused with Call Me By Your Name where his costar was a cannibal). Less sophisticated, and a bit more solemn than his roles in Don't Look Up or Lady Bird, he's got a similar brooding teen energy that he taps into quite well. Unlike those films, however, this is a full-on DRAMA. There is no restraint to be had here, and Timmy is allowed to unlock the loud screaming, hysterical crying, and blood-drenched slurping that you wish we'd got a dose of in The King. Chalamet is definitely a supporting figure here to Taylor Russell, who gets to do more of the muted internal work, but he's got plenty of dramatic moments to play with AND he gets to deliver the titular "bones and all" line which will haunt you for all eternity.
5. Dune (2021) — Paul Atreides
Chiabella James/Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection
We're past the Douchebag Timmy section of the list now, and it's all killer (worms) no filler (worms) from here on out. Timothée Chalamet's starred in his second Best Picture nominee last year with this Frank Herbert sci-fi adaptation about wealthy space aristocracy sent to a sand planet in the midst of an assassination attempt. Chalamet plays Paul, the son who is forced to grow up quickly in the grueling conditions and must navigate a treacherous world full of even more treacherous people. While this is certainly a quieter performance than Bones & All or Don't Look Up, I'd argue that its stability and nuance really take it to a higher level. The whole film hinges on Paul, and Chalamet delivers a performance powerful and magnetic enough for us to see why. Unlike The King, where he was also playing a somewhat stoic leader, in this role, the nervous trepidation is necessary, whereas The King needed more charismatic umph. That charismatic umph will be needed in Part Two, however, so we shall see how he fares when returning to "young leader of an army" territory.
4. Miss Stevens (2016) — Billy Mitman
The Orchard/Courtesy Everett Collection
THIS is the Timothee Chalamet movie that no one is talking about and that everyone should be talking about. The year before Call Me By Your Name debuted, our boy Timmy had the second lead in this quiet indie about Miss Stevens (Lily Rabe), an English teacher who drives three students to a drama competition. Chalamet plays one such student, a naturally talented actor who has decided to stop taking his mental health medication and who has developed feelings for his teacher. Both Rabe and Chalamet are extraordinary in this film (as is Lili Reinhart who plays the know-it-all classmate). Chalamet not only gives a tremendous performance as a high schooler struggling under rapidly shifting emotions, but we also get an extended monologue from Death of a Salesman that is transcendent. I was completely blown away when watching this, and if you count yourself a Chalamet stan, this should be at the top of your to-watch pile.
3. Beautiful Boy (2018) — Nic Sheff
Francois Duhamel/Amazon Studios/Courtesy Everett Collection
Timmy's first big role post-2017 was in this drug addiction drama based on a memoir about a real father/son duo whose relationship was put under severe pressure due to the son's addiction battles. Chalamet stars opposite Steve Carrell here in what is probably his most ambitious performance to date. As with The King, this is Chalamet's movie from start to finish without much need to share the screen time, but unlike that film, he is given nearly endless amounts of big scenes here to dramatically fight his way through. (If the film has a flaw it's that he probably receives too many dramatic scenes in his endless tour of rehabs and relapses). I think this is probably Timmy's most Oscar-y film to date, and the fact that he just narrowly missed out on a nomination (losing to Willem Dafoe in At Eternity's Gate) after receiving all the major precursors is a bit shocking. I'm sure a second nomination is in his near future.
2. Little Women (2019) — Theodore "Laurie" Laurence
Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
UGH! I love this film and Timmy's performance in it as the March Sisters' bestie/love interest, Laurie. While Chalamet is not the lead here as he is in Beautiful Boy, I think the performance is a little more interesting and ventures into his comedy sensibilities a bit more than the dour addiction drama does. Plus he, like the rest of the cast, gets to play both the young and old versions of himself which is worth extra points. He just gets SO MANY ICONIC SCENES though. He proposes to Jo. He proposes to Amy. He tells Jo he married Amy. He meets Amy in a carriage. He dances with Jo. And while not really his scene, he does get to listen to Amy's great monologue as well. Mostly though, he is in the Little Women McDonald's photo and THAT is HISTORY.
1. Call Me By Your Name (2017) — Elio Perlman
Sony Pictures Classics/Courtesy Everett Collection
Was there ever any doubt that Call Me By Your Name would be at the top of this list? This was Timmy's breakthrough performance, and he has yet to top it. Playing the horny sad teen desperately in love with an older man, Timmy flirts, cries, and makes love in as many gorgeous Italian settings as he possibly can. Filled with life upon the arrival of Armie Hammer's Oliver, and then devastated when he inevitably leaves, Chalamet perfectly captures every heart-ripping moment of young infatuation, making viewers feel like they are living those moments for themselves all over again. While I think the film is more of a cautionary tale than a true romance, there is no denying that Timmy owned this film, earned his Oscar nomination, and launched his career. And to celebrate Timmy, his immense talent, and the end of this list, let's dance!
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