Which actors do you think have a ‘tragic/soulful/poetic’ aura they give to their performances?

I’m not sure I can quite put my finger on the right word for this, but I know it when I see it–maybe you have a better term for it. Best examples I can give: [Jeanne Moreau](http://www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/styles/full/public/image/lift-to-the-scaffold-1958-003-jeanne-moreau.jpg?itok=gGPxj3q-), [Judy Garland](https://judygarlandnews.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/072.jpg) and Liza Minnelli, [Montgomery Clift](http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BiJO-cJMLOk/Uk_Xuw8NlwI/AAAAAAAALVU/iRshRJ1WLXg/s1600/A+Place+in+the+Sun_Montgonery+Clift_1951.JPG), [Forest Whitaker](http://www.vanyaland.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ghost_dog_sword.jpg), [Julie Christie](http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JUVjz1gIpDU/VS1u2H_ciZI/AAAAAAAAXaE/Ul_0ftOFZxM/s1600/mccabe-and-mrs-miller.jpg). Who else do you think has this quality?

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16 thoughts on “Which actors do you think have a ‘tragic/soulful/poetic’ aura they give to their performances?

  1. KaDoink February 13, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    William H. Macy.

  2. MilhouseVsEvil February 13, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    Casey Affleck. Assassination of Jesse James… Gone Baby Gone, Manchester by the Sea.

  3. xtiaaneubaten February 13, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    Adrian Brody whe hes doing a serious film.

  4. skrulewi February 13, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    Nicholas Cage.

    Maybe it’s not poetry in the sense that you were intending for this thread, but when he’s on the screen, energy pours off of him that seems unrelated to the context of the film he’s in. Soul, energy, manic poetry.

    We make fun of ‘Nicholas Cage’ freak-outs, and while they are funny, the intensity is real. Honestly, I think he’s just pure cinema magic. I love to watch him. He makes the screen radioactive, in a good way.

  5. coffeesavant February 13, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    naturally have it: Mark Rylance, Laurie Metcalf, Joaquin Phoenix, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Ethan Hawke, Kristen Stewart, Jason Segel, André Holland, Elizabeth Debicki, Mark Ruffalo, John Hawkes, Michelle Williams

    really want us to think that they naturally have it: Ryan Gosling, Casey Affleck, Steve Carell in Very Serious Dramatic Actor mode

  6. mide117 February 13, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    Eddie Redmayne. First few minutes into Theory of Everything and I have no idea why my eyes watered up watching his performance.

  7. LuminaTitan February 13, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    William Hurt, somewhat fittingly enough.

    But I also think, the role and direction has a lot to do with it also, like say, Kim Novak in Vertigo. Or take someone like Klaus Kinski, who probably seems the opposite of that and more like a raging inferno in a lot of his roles, but in Aguirre: the Wrath of God he evokes that haunting quality like smoldering coals, or even more so in his pained role in Woyzeck

  8. Eiredditor February 13, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    I feel like Ben Mendelssohn and Mass Mikkelson both have a dark magic to them, that can be used to elicit pity, compassion, horror, hatred. They’ve both played abused or abusive people and still been unquestionably compelling.

    Off topic but they were criminally misused in Rogue One.

  9. dangstraight February 13, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    I’ve always thought this about Mandy Patinkin.

  10. Awearyman February 13, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    Gary Oldman as George Smiley.

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