Moviegeek5: Paul Giamatti


The versatile American actor Paul Giamatti was born into an affluent family in Connecticut. Educated at Yale University, Giamatti was active on the university’s theater stage together with fellow students Ron Livingston and Edward Norton. Over the last 20 years has had an illustrious career, excelling in numerous strong supporting roles (including an Oscar nominated turn in Cinderella Man (2005)), as well as a number of interesting leading roles (see below). Giamatti is easy to like and handles both drama and comedy with bravado, especially excelling in the tricky borderland between the two. Capable of playing the biggest a***hole or the most warm and kindhearted man there is, he stretches from the wonderfully eccentric to the conventional, and we cannot get enough of it!

In honour of Paul Giamatti’s 50th birthday we have selected five very different role from his long career.

Let us know in the comments below what you think and please share your favourite Giamatti movies with us!



Sideways (2004)

On of the absolute highlights of Paul Giamatti’s career is this wonderful dramedy that cemented writer/director Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, 2002) as an up-and-coming name to be reckoned with. Giamatti plays the oenophile and frustrated writer Miles who takes his best friend for a tour of California’s wine country before his friend’s marriage. Here they meet two women who complicate their trip and friendship. A warm and funny drama seeped in the love of wine and life and a tender performance from Giamatti.



The Illusionist (2006)

In the 2006 drama, Giamatti’s inspector Uhl may not be the lead character, but his presence is felt throughout. Luring in the background he observes everything, while trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together and Giamatti perfectly captures the conflict he goes through, when he becomes unsure where his loyalty is and where it should be. Watching the two talents, Norton and Giamatti, up against each other is pure joy and the cool calmness of Giamatti is a perfect match for the intense Norton.





Lady in the Water (2006)

This misunderstod urban fantasy from M. Night Shyamalan sees Giamatti as the caretaker of an apartment building who finds himself the host to the mysterious and child-like water nymph story, played by Bryce Dallas Howard. The very different residents must come together to help Story go home as they learn that her arrival carries a great purpose. An extremely likable performance from Giamatti is one of the film’s greatest assets.




Rock of Ages (2012)

In Adam Shankman’s (Hairspray, 2007) great love letter to 1980s rock music, there are many colourful character but none as despicable as Giamatti’s scheming manager to Tom Cruise’s rock star, Stacee Jaxx. With unfortunate hair and constantly chewing gum, Giamatti looks like he is having great fun and helps makes this highly entertaining musical a film you want to revisit again and again if you love the bombastic rock music of the 80s.





Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

This Oscar nominated biographical drama depicts the quote-on-quote battle of will between Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and Australian author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) as the former was wooing the latter to secure the film rights to her popular books about Mary Poppins. As we see in the film, the books carried a very personal meaning for the highly reserved writer, making her all the more wary of the outgoing American. The only one in the film who really gets under her skin (in a good way) is her driver Ralph, played by Giamatti in one of his warmest performances.



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