James McAvoy made his acting debut when he was a teen in The Near Room (1995) and after made mostly television appearances until 2003. To many, he first came to our attention as Mr. Tumnus in the Disney production of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005), and to others he made a lasting impression in the period piece Atonement (2007) as Robbie Turner. Today he is a household name and has appeared in countless major movies.
McAvoy has also received much fame for his continuing performance as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise. It would appear that he has a soft spot for comic book-based movies as he took on the role of the main antagonist in Split (2016), which led to the follow up Glass (2019), where he continued his multifaceted role. Regardless of the genre, McAvoy has mastered each role he takes on. In preparation for his role of Bill Denbrough in IT Chapter Two (2019), we have created a list of James McAvoy’s top 5 movies!
5. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY (2013-2014)
Conor Ludlow (James McAvoy) in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2013)
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is a unique movie (or collection of three movies) that was carried out by strong performances by both McAvoy and co-star Jessica Chastain. It seeks to tell the differing perspectives of a young married couple, Eleanor Rigby (Chastain) and Conor Ludlow (McAvoy). The movie is broken into three movies, Him, Her, and Them, each achieving something different through its point of view. McAvoy and Chastain will once again be working together on screen in this years release of IT Chapter Two.
4. X-MEN Franchise (2011-Present)
Professor X (James McAvoy) in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
McAvoy picked up the role as a young Professor X starting in X-Men: First Class (2011) and carried it over into the most recent release of Dark Phoenix (2019). One of the benefits of McAvoy’s portrayal of the character is that we get to see a different side to Professor X. McAvoy manages to make the character original but still connected to Patrick Stewart’s take on the role. He does a wonderful job showing the haunting past of one of the franchises most loved characters.
3. ATONEMENT (2007)
Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) in Atonement (2007)
The sweeping English drama, Atonement, based on the book by Ian McEwan, tells as tragic a love story as there ever was. McAvoy plays Robbie Turner, who fosters a secret love for Cecilia Tallis (played by Keira Knightley), the daughter of his mother’s employer. This potentially blooming love affair is torn apart by a lie constructed by Cecilia's jealous younger sister, Briony (played by Saoirse Ronan). With World War II on the horizon, Briony’s mistakes leave lasting consequences resulting in Robbie’s imprisonment. Though Ronan deserves attention for her strong early career performance, McAvoy and Knightley truly take the reigns as the core performances in this heartbreaking movie.
2. FILTH (2013)
Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) in Filth (2013)
McAvoy stars in Filth as Bruce Robertson, a deceitful, ambitious, drug-using, cynic. This is one of his first performances where we truly see McAvoy’s unwavering dedication to a role to the point where it isn’t just believable but alarming and rather disturbing. With Roberson’s mental health unraveling at a frightening rate, McAvoy portrays the disturbed and unpredictable nature of the character flawlessly. There were moments in this movie when you felt as though you were plunging into madness alongside the character.
1. SPLIT (2016)
Kevin Wendall Crumb (James McAvoy) in Split (2016)
Spilt was most easily McAvoy’s magnum opus, delivering not just one but twenty-three separate characters all wrapped up into his performance as Kevin Wendall Crumb: a man suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Each character he portrays has a drastically different disposition, and at times we get to witness McAvoy switch between multiple characters in a single take; every time a new personality “takes the light,” you truly feel as though there is someone new on screen.
If you’re like us and can’t get enough James McAvoy, catch him at Regal on September 6th for his latest performance as Bill Denbrough in IT Chapter Two.