Top 10 Movie Moments That Made Us Love Jake Gyllenhaal
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Top 10 Movie Moments That Made Us Love Jake Gyllenhaal

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Olivia Olphin
These are the movie moments that made us love Jake Gyllenhaal. Our countdown includes "Stronger," "Nightcrawler," "Donnie Darko," and more!

Top 10 Movie Moments That Made Us Love Jake Gyllenhaal

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movie Moments That Made Us Love Jake Gyllenhaal.

For this list, we’ll be looking at Jake Gyllenhaal scenes that had fans laughing, crying and/or shouting at the screen showing us why he’s still a fan favorite in Hollywood. We’re excluding his talk show appearances as well as his TV and theater parts.

Which of these scenes made you love Jake Gyllenhaal the most? Comment your favourite in the comments below.

#10: Need
"Love & Other Drugs" (2010)

This touching comedy-drama follows the relationship of Jamie and Maggie, the latter of whom is a rebellious woman dealing with Parkinson's disease. In this heart wrenching scene, Jamie tells Maggie that he is going to be there for her as her illness deteriorates. Gyllenhaal gives one of his most nuanced and sensitive performances, effectively proving why he is a master of subtlety and demonstrating his ability to push his emotions to the extreme. This wasn’t the first time that Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal have been lovers on screen, as they previously played a married couple in “Brokeback Mountain.” Although this is one of Jake’s few rom-coms, the raw quality of the acting really hits us in the heart.

#9: Walking Again
“Stronger” (2017)

Based on the true story of Jeff Bauman’s recovery after what happened at the 2013 Boston Marathon, this film showcases resilience and determination in a way that stays with you long after you’ve finished watching it. Seeing Jeff walk again for the first time - without help - after losing his legs is a brilliant scene and shows Gyllenhaal’s commitment to the physicality of the role. He researched PTSD as well as spent time with the real-life Jeff to replicate the impact on his mental and physical health as accurately as possible. This climactic walking scene is a pivotal moment that shows just how dedicated Jake is to his craft, which is another reason his fans admire him so much.

#8: Super-Pig Contest Winner Announcement
“Okja” (2017)

Bong Joon-ho’s film follows a company giving out huge ‘super-pigs’ for farmers to raise, before claiming them back for nefarious purposes once they are fully grown. Okay, we’ll admit this: it does sound like an unlikely premise. Gyllenhaal plays zoologist Johnny Wilcox in a zany and off the wall role, which showcases his character acting skills. In this announcement to the public, he makes his mannerisms eccentric, and his voice bizarre in order to successfully show the narcissism and self-centered nature of the role. Jake has said that he loves taking risks, and although Johnny is an unlikeable character, you can’t help but admire the unique acting choices and his wonderfully quirky wardrobe.

#7: The Illusion
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” (2019)

Although he’s played in major studio pictures before, this huge superhero blockbuster was still a big change from the smaller, niche independent films we’re more used to seeing him do. While Jake’s character Mysterio initially plays a supportive mentor to Spider-Man, halfway through the movie he reveals his sinister motives with a gleeful grin. Gyllenhaal proceeds to ham it up as a megalomaniacal visual effects operator with dreams of becoming the world’s most famous superhero. We see the actor cut loose and have a great time playing this larger than life character, pulling off the goofy fishbowl helmet from the comics with surprising ease.

#6: Saving Anna
“Prisoners” (2013)

In one of his most dark and intense roles, Jake plays Detective Loki, who is on the case to find two young women after they were kidnapped. Even director Denis Villeneuve has said he felt haunted by the film’s subject matter. The role shows someone dealing with the pressures of working on such a difficult and pressurised case, and Gyllenhaal effectively portrays a man who puts everything on the line for the sake of others. The final climactic scene sees Loki saving Anna and driving her to hospital, while blood is dripping from his own head injuries. In this moment Jake simultaneously shows us this man’s exhaustion, relief and pain - and we really feel for him.

#5: Looking in the Mirror
“Nightcrawler” (2014)

In this neo-noir thriller, Jake was so engrossed in the scene that when he punched the mirror, he cut his hand on the glass and had to go to hospital. Talk about commitment! He completely transforms himself into the role of Louis Bloom, a cameraman who gets off on recording recent accidents and horrific crimes. Jake’s eye contact and lack of blinking puts the audience on edge immediately. To prepare, Jake apparently ate mainly kale and chewed gum. He pushed his body to lose 30 pounds by running 15 miles a day in order to achieve Bloom’s haunting and haggard appearance. Although the material clearly isn’t glamorous, this scene shows his capacity to morph into any part and into the darker recesses of the human mind.

#4: At the Diner
“Zodiac” (2007)

In 1960s San Francisco, a serial killer leaves taunting and cryptic messages. Every lead turns out to be a dead-end, and the casualties stack up. In this scene, political cartoonist Robert Graysmith is laying out his theory for who the Zodiac killer is. Director David Fincher reportedly filmed multiple takes of each scene, sometimes up to 90, giving Jake the ability to really show different sides to his performance. His connection and dialogue with Dave Toschi, played by Mark Ruffalo, really jumps off the screen and subtly portrays a man becoming obsessed with his work, and the crimes of the serial killer. We love to see the commitment Jake brings and this is a great example.

#3: Dancing in the Street
“Demolition” (2015)

Although we loved Jake Gyllenhaal way before this scene, it is hard to resist these incredible dance moves. This chaotic energy works perfectly in a film that follows a man trying to rebuild and find meaning in his life after his wife’s death. The dance moves, combined with the song “Mr. Big” by Free see Jake really let loose and have some fun on set. Compared to some of his more serious moments, it’s a welcome relief to see him really excel in a comic moment. With this kind of physicality, Jake might not be out of place on a show like “Dancing with the Stars.” Hopefully, we will see some more of his smooth side soon!

#2: Donnie Meets Frank
“Donnie Darko” (2001)

This film is a cult classic. However, if you didn’t understand it the first time we don’t blame you; we didn’t either! The story follows young Donnie Darko who sleepwalks at night and keeps seeing a large, terrifying looking figure in a bunny suit. Called Frank, it informs him that the world is going to end in 28 days. Whether the sci-fi thriller is about an alternate universe or time travel, the scenes between Frank and Donnie are electric. The creepy smile on Donnie’s face, and Frank’s demonic voice work to create a sense of real unease. Gyllenhaal was only in his early twenties when this film was shot and it shows what a talent he has been from the very start.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Doppelgänger Meeting, “Enemy” (2013)
This Moment Contains Two Jake Gyllenhaals for the Price of One

Running, “Bubble Boy” (2001)
Ever Wanted to See Jake Head Down the Street in a Massive Inflatable Bubble?

Final Fight,“Southpaw” (2015)
Jake Fights for His Life in This Climactic Boxing Match

Waking Up on the Train, “Source Code” (2011)
This Film Sees Jake Entering the Source Code in Order to Save a Train Full of People

Military Initiation,“Jarhead” (2005)
An Early Indication of Jake’s Love for Off-the-Wall Film Roles

#1: A Love Story They Couldn’t Quit
“Brokeback Mountain” (2005)

In a film that subverted the traditional macho nature of the western genre, this scene shows Jack Twist talking with Ennis Del Mar, while also showing his reluctant dependence on the cowboy. This moment represents all the repression that men felt for not being allowed to be openly gay, especially in the 1960s when it’s set. Jake has mentioned his love and respect for the late Heath Ledger, and both actors were nominated for Oscars. This is one of the most memorable pieces of acting that Jake has ever done, pulling at the heartstrings of the audience. While this scene is iconic and unforgettable, we also can’t help but love the deep respect that both Ledger and Gyllenhaal have expressed for the LGBTQ+ community as well.