Adam Driver’s Best Movies, Ranked According to Critics

9. Driver plays a comic book aficionado in “Gayby.”

Adam Driver in "Gayby"

Adam Driver in “Gayby.”

The Film Collaborative

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90{835de6664969b5e2b6c055b582ef3cf063416af730213b9aba3a0f9f5e47a307}

Synopsis: In “Gayby,” a straight, single woman named Jenn (Jenn Harris) wants to have a baby the old-fashioned way with her gay best friend Matt (Matthew Wilkas).

While the plot is hardly original — the 2000 film “The Next Best Thing” had a similar narrative — “Gayby” was well-received by most critics, who found the film likable and its characters endearing. 

Driver plays Neil, the awkward comic book-loving friend of Matt’s who eventually sleeps with Jenn. 

“What lifts “Gayby” above its sitcom trappings is its emotional generosity and easy warmth, the sense that characters are defined by — and made funny through — their aspirations, not their way with a one-liner,” wrote Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times. 

8. In “Logan Lucky,” Driver is a somber bartender who helps his brother pull off a heist.

logan lucky

Adam Driver in “Logan Lucky.”

Fingerprint Releasing/Bleecker Street Media

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92{835de6664969b5e2b6c055b582ef3cf063416af730213b9aba3a0f9f5e47a307}

Synopsis: Directed by Steven Soderbergh, “Logan Lucky” follows a family as they hatch a plan to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina during the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Race.

Driver plays the war veteran-turned-bartender Clyde and brother of Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum).

Together with their sister, Mellie (Riley Keough), and the Bang brothers (Daniel Craig and Jack Quaid), they attempt to break into a vault beneath the stadium complex with the hope of walking away with millions of dollars. 

“The characters and plot devices may not be entirely new, but Soderbergh derives enough pleasure from setting up the dominoes and then letting them fall that it doesn’t really matter,” wrote Slashfilm’s Karen Han. “His energy is infectious, as is the goodwill of the characters we’re watching, even if they are breaking the law.” 

7. The actor makes a brief appearance in “Inside Llewyn Davis” as a musician.

Adam Driver in "Inside Llewyn Davis"

Adam Driver in “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

CBS Films

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92{835de6664969b5e2b6c055b582ef3cf063416af730213b9aba3a0f9f5e47a307}

Synopsis: “Inside Llewyn Davis” captures a week in the life of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a homeless folk singer with a cat who gets by largely by crashing on friends’ couches.

Struggling with his career after the death of his musical partner Mike, Llewyn learns that Jean (Carey Mulligan), one-half of the couple he stays with on occasion, is pregnant, possibly with his child. 

Driver briefly appears in the film as Al Cody, a musician who rehearses a song with Llewyn and Jim (Justin Timberlake). 

While “Inside Llewyn Davis” isn’t ambitious in its scope, Ethan and Joel Coen’s low-key film is driven by strong characters like Llewyn and Jean. 

“The direction is pitch-perfect,” wrote Larushka Ivan-Zadeh of “The characters unique and eccentric yet fully realised and the script, woven with absurdist comedy, a marvel.”

6. In “Frances Ha,” Driver portrays a friend of the main character who lets her live with him.

Adam Driver in "Frances Ha"

Adam Driver in “Frances Ha.”

IFC Films

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93{835de6664969b5e2b6c055b582ef3cf063416af730213b9aba3a0f9f5e47a307}

Synopsis: Frances Halladay (Greta Gerwig) is a dancer and choreographer who apprentices for a dance company, doing her best to get by in New York with scraps of work and little money.

Unable to pay the rent after her roommate Sophie (Mickey Sumner) moves out, Frances moves in with friends Lev (Adam Driver) and Benji (Michael Zegen).

Frances eventually falls into a funk as she watches those around her pursue their dreams, while hers always seem to be just out of reach.

“‘Frances Ha’ certainly isn’t breaking new ground and some may not find its peculiarity all that entertaining,” wrote Keith Garlington of Keith and the Movies. “It does spin its wheels in spots and it may not blow you away with its ambition. But sometimes a movie doesn’t need to do those things to be successful. That’s the case with this film. ‘Frances Ha’ works because of its intriguing central character, a great performance from Greta Gerwig, and a really interesting technical approach from Noah Baumbach.” 

5. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” marked Driver’s most mainstream role yet as Kylo Ren.

Adam Driver in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

Adam Driver in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93{835de6664969b5e2b6c055b582ef3cf063416af730213b9aba3a0f9f5e47a307}

Synopsis: Set 30 years after “Return of the Jedi,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” follows hotshot pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), who picks up a map for the location of Luke Skywalker, the protagonist from the original “Star Wars trilogy” the who has since gone into hiding.

Poe eventually links up with the scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley), a disillusioned stormtrooper named Finn (John Boyega), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) himself to take on the First Order. 

Driver plays Kylo Ren, who abducts Rey to find out where Luke has gone. He channels enough angst and fury to convincingly portray Kylo as the film’s brooding villain. 

“‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ giving new life to a franchise of hope, resilience, courage and family that’s been missing from theatres for far too long,” wrote Sara Michelle Fetters of 

4. In “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected),” Driver briefly appears as one of the Meyerowitz children’s clients.

Adam Driver in "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"

Adam Driver in “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).”


Rotten Tomatoes score: 93{835de6664969b5e2b6c055b582ef3cf063416af730213b9aba3a0f9f5e47a307}

Synopsis: “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” is, at its core, a wandering account of the Meyerowitz family.

Harold is the family patriarch, married to Maureen (Emma Thompson). His children are Danny (Adam Sandler), an overly clingy single father who isn’t doing much with his life, Matthew (Ben Stiller), a Hollywood accountant who has loads of money and no fun, and Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), the sibling who receives the least attention from her parents. 

As critics point out, there’s not much more to the plot than that. Driver, for his part, briefly appears as a client of Danny’s. 

“Baumbach gets plenty of mileage out of simply letting these people awkwardly interact, trying, not very successfully, to keep unkind honesty tamped down while they watch each other make horrible life decisions,” wrote Olly Richards of NME. “It’s the kind of comedy where a lot could be solved by people sitting down and calmly clearing the air, but the laughs come from doing the opposite.”

3. “Marriage Story” is considered one of Driver’s best performances to date.

Adam Driver in "Marriage Story"

Adam Driver in “Marriage Story.”

Wilson Webb

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95{835de6664969b5e2b6c055b582ef3cf063416af730213b9aba3a0f9f5e47a307}

Synopsis: A domestic drama at its heart, “Marriage Story” follows stage director Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) and his actor wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and the pains they experience as their marriage dissolves and leads to divorce. 

Driver’s performance in “Marriage Story” is widely considered some of his best on-screen work, which culminates in the film’s final scene: a quiet, tender, and devastating moment in which the actor forces back tears while reading to his young son. 

“Writer/director Noah Baumbach’s incisive and insightful examination of a dissolving marriage features searing performances by Adam Driver and Scarlet Johansson (who also get to perform two numbers from ‘Company,’ Stephen Sondheim’s musical about marriage),” wrote Brian T. Carney of the Washington Blade.

2. In “Paterson,” Driver thrives as a curious and somewhat detached bus driver.

paterson amazon final

Adam Driver in “Paterson.”

Mary Cybulsky

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96{835de6664969b5e2b6c055b582ef3cf063416af730213b9aba3a0f9f5e47a307}

Synopsis: Paterson is a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey who follows the same routine every day of picking up and dropping off passengers, writing poetry, walking his dog, and nursing a beer at the pub once his shift ends.

At the end of the day, he comes home to his wife Laura (Golshifteh Farhani), who dreams of becoming a country-western star and adores Paterson and his poetry. 

Not much happens per se in “Paterson,” but that’s probably the point.

Jim Jarmusch’s film revels in the character of Paterson himself: a seemingly “real” character living a “real” life and working a ho-hum job.

In that regard, Driver delivers another excellent performance with his deadpan delivery, reacting to just about every occurrence in his life with some level of curiosity and detachment. 

“‘Paterson is quaint, charming, curious, deeply engaging and one of the finest profiles of the artistic mind that I’ve seen in recent memory,” wrote Steve Prokopy of Third Coast Review.

1. Based on a true story, “BlacKkKlansman” is Driver’s highest-rated film to date.


Adam Driver and John David Washington in “BlacKkKlansman.”

Focus Features

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96{835de6664969b5e2b6c055b582ef3cf063416af730213b9aba3a0f9f5e47a307}

Synopsis: Directed by Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman” follows rookie detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first Black police officer in Colorado Springs, Colorado, who infiltrates a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan over the phone by pretending to be white.

Ron partners with Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), a Jewish detective, who pretends to be Ron when he meets the klansmen and attends their meetings. 

“There’s nobody left in Hollywood making broad, sweeping, lively political melodramas like Spike Lee,” wrote Jake Wilson of The Age. “This one, set in the 1970s, but bluntly topical, tells the approximately true story of a black cop assigned to masquerade as a Ku Klux Klan member over the phone, giving Lee ample scope for his usual provocative method of juxtaposing contrasting attitudes and types of speech.”

Shirley McQuay

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