What is Ethan Hawke's best (non-Linklater, non-2018) performance?

Poll choices
Posted 11 months.


  • Mary McInroy - 10 months ago

    My favorite images of (non-Linklater, non-2018) Ethan Hawke come from the movie "Maudie." His transformation from grunting bachelor to caring partner was wonderful. If you've ever been around any of Iowa's bachelor farmers, you'd know his performance was spot on. Great movie. (I'm from Iowa City)

  • Sebastian (Timisoara Romania) - 10 months ago

    I was never the biggest fan of Ethan Hawke but I did like him in a few films like the linkater stuff and Valerian. My favorite of his performances was in Snow Falling on Cedar; I red the book before I saw the film and thought Hawke did a really good as the lead.

  • Stephen Cotton - 10 months ago

    Easy. Ben Crandall in Explorers. All the charisma of future roles, none of the arrogance.

  • JW - 10 months ago

    Totally agree with 'Tyler "The Other Tyler" Vance from Ontario, Canada.'

    Question is, what's the proper way to identify his PREDESTINATION character in a poll without spoilers? IMDB lists Hawke's character as "The Barkeep." Wikipedia as "John."

  • Brian Quinn - 10 months ago

    There’s no doubt that 'Training Day' is Denzel’s film, his charisma sizzles through scenes with such ease we can hardly take our eyes off him. But as Denzel sizzles, Hawke wriggles. With a catalogue of giddy tics, his limbs flutter and flick to almost undercut Washington’s swaggering stardom. It’s this clash of physicality that underpins the tension splintering through out the film, and what a film it is.

  • Tyler "The Other Tyler" Vance from Ontario, Canada - 10 months ago

    My vote goes to the bendiest film I've ever seen: Predestination. It bends characters; it bends plot; it bends MINDS! Also, I could sit in a bar and talk with Ethan Hawke all the days of my life.

  • Jose Maldonado - 10 months ago

    I'm throwing in my vote for Hawke's performance in one of my favorite horror/thrillers of the decade, Sinister. His portrayal of true-crime author, Ellison Oswalt, who moves his family into a home where a horrific set of murders previously occurred in hopes of getting inspired to write his latest novel and recapture his former literary glory, is one of his underrated gems. As the events of the movie unfold and he gets deeper into his investigation, we see layer upon layer of Ellison's seen-it-all attitude get peeled away as his stubbornness to move forward has him completely in over his head. Hawke masterfully carries us through and what we're left with chills me to the bone every time. Fantastic movie and yet another great performance on his already impressive resume.

    As always, thank you an awesome show guys!

    Jose Maldonado
    Lakeland, FL

  • Tom Kuzmarskis - 10 months ago

    My choice for the best Hawke performance is Born To Be Blue. This is a criminally under-seen film and Hawke's delicate performance as a musician struggling with his personal demons while trying to make his music is amazing. A great piece of art about making art that I hear has influenced Hawke's own film Blaze.

  • Simon - 10 months ago

    I think I have to go with Boyhood on this one. It’s my favorite Linklater film and I love Ethan Hawke’s performance. That may be because he reminds me a bit of my dad, especially in this bit of dialogue:
    Mason: Dad, there's no real magic in the world, right?
    Dad: What do you mean?
    Mason: You know, like elves and stuff. People just made that up.
    Dad: Oh, I don't know. I mean, what makes you think that elves are any more magical than something like a whale? You know what I mean? What if I told you a story about how underneath the ocean, there was this giant sea mammal that used sonar and sang songs and it was so big that its heart was the size of a car and you could crawl through the arteries? I mean, you'd think that was pretty magical, right?

  • Daniel Shaykevich - 10 months ago

    My vote for "Other" may be a cheat, but I wanted to make sure that Hawke's genre performances were given some recognition. From horror entries like The Purge and Sinister to sci-fi flicks like Predestination, Hawke shows up in a LOT of moves. Not all of them are great, but one thing is consistent: Hawke's commitment is complete in any role he inhabits.

  • Darren - 10 months ago

    Excluding "First Reformed" and all of Linklater poses quite the challenge, but honestly, I could praise every one of the performances on this list, and I am tempted to add "Born to Be Blue," "The Phenom," and "Gattaca" as my "Other" choice.
    Because there's no such thing as a guilty pleasure, though, I can't pass up the opportunity to praise "Great Expectations." Alfonso Cuaron and Emmanuel Lubezki help make this a joy to look at throughout, but Ethan Hawke, by offering such heart, makes this one of my favorites of the 90s: I believe Finn's an artist, and I believe he's in confused "love" with Estella. I believe his awkwardness as a teenager, and as an adult, I believe his discomfort and shame in his class. I even believe the emotions in his narration. It all works.
    Thank you, Filmspotting, for giving Ethan Hawke the recognition he deserves!

  • Billy Ray Brewton - 10 months ago

    This was an easy choice - Vincent Freeman in GATTACA. It's one of the most underrated sci-fi films ever made, in part due to Hawke's complicated and nuanced performance as a a man who will do anything it takes to travel to the stars. It's really a simple story that Hawke transforms into something revelatory and entirely human. It also features one of my favorite 'brother' relationships ever depicted on screen. I am just going to assume that EVERYONE who chooses 'Other' in this poll is doing it for GATTACA.

  • Holly - 10 months ago

    In Gattica, Hawke doesn’t let his acting get in the way of the story and movie purpose. One of my top ten films.

  • Kevin White (Carol Stream IL) - 10 months ago

    I’ll give a shout out to VALERIAN, not because I think it’s Ethan Hawke’s best role but because he and Rihanna are the best parts of that movie, and I wanted to watch more of them instead of whatever else was going on in that movie.

  • Matthew Harper - 10 months ago

    I voted for Training Day before giving due consideration for Other, but in retrospect, I prefer his performances in Gattaca or In a Valley of Violence.

  • Jason - 10 months ago

    I can't claim to have seen most of Ethan Hawke's work, but the first thing to jump to my mind was his portrayal of Chet Baker in Born To Be Blue. Amazing work.

  • Laura Ellis - 10 months ago

    First Reformed is Ethan Hawke's best performance period. It shows a maturity and skill that Hawke has had problems showing in the past. Linklater's films show Hawke's ability to ad lib and be personable, but do not stretch him as an actor. Dead Poet's was an ensemble piece. Hamlet should not have been done.

  • Tom Morris - 10 months ago

    Gattaca is Hawke’s best performance. Unlike most of his Linklater roles, his double performance of Vincent (Godchild) portraying Borrow Ladder Jerome has incredible restraint. His performance is almost slient at times. Jude Law meanwhile goes over the top. Hawke has many scenes where his physical actions like washing with a stone, show determination that most actors would never do. Gattaca was made 21 years ago but prophetic in concerns about Genetic profiling and discrimination.

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