Dear Ryan Gosling,
I have a confession to make. As a major fan, it's embarrassing for me to tell you, but I feel like being honest with you. After all, what's a little awkward admission between imaginary friends like us?
Here's the truth: I don't like "The Notebook." More than that, I don't think you're very good in it.
I know. As a fervent Gosling fanatic I should have been fanning myself over your heartthrob performance as Noah Calhoun. But I thought you were just OK. You had chemistry with your co-star and onetime girlfriend Rachel McAdams, yes, but it was definitely less than your best.
But that's all in the past! You're back now with incredible performances in movies such as "Drive" and "The Ides of March," and you were smoldering and stellar in equal measure in "Crazy, Stupid, Love." You've captured the hearts of the nation and the attention of critics who hold you up as the actor of your generation.
It's so funny to think of you as the boy who was in the "Mickey Mouse Club" revival as a mouseketeer. You've risen above the exploits of your co-stars Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, both of whom haven't quite had the careers we expected. You've become a massive star in your own right, an A-lister who set Twitter aflame with the mere notice that you wouldn't be attending the Golden Globes.
Personally, my love for you started with your performance in "Half Nelson." Your only Oscar-nominated performance stands as one of your best - as drug addict and junior high teacher Dan Dunne, you were deeply affecting, with real gravitas and humanity. You only kept that roll going with "Lars and the Real Girl" as Lars Lindstrom, a man in love with a sex doll. In a role that could have been downright creepy in the wrong hands, you were charming and wonderful.
Unfortunately, a dark period soon fell upon us, and you waited for almost three years before gracing us with your on-screen presence once again. We were forced to rely upon a lesser Ryan (Reynolds, that is) to fuel our nation's collective need for a heartthrob.
The drought ended when you gifted us with "Blue Valentine." Your performance as Dean Periera felt lived-in and was truly arresting. Your chemistry with Michelle Williams was magnetic, both attracting and repelling. Your total willingness to commit to the role was impressive. I was smitten with your talent.
Then came the triple play of 2011. You turned America on as the suave ladykiller who is broken by Emma Stone in "Crazy, Stupid, Love." You fit the role just as well as your suits fit you - perfectly. You followed it up with one of your most morally ambiguous roles - Stephen Meyers in "The Ides of March." It's not easy to make politics sexy, but you succeeded.
For me, the role that I'll hold dear to my heart is your performance as Driver in "Drive." An absolute knockout, you were especially impressive with sparse language and a towering presence. You sold the romance with Carey Mulligan and the violence against the gangsters with equal talent. Every movement was a well-choreographed dance of power. It sealed the deal - you clearly had the talent to fit the devastating movie star looks.
You're so much more than your performances, too! You're an Internet sensation with plenty of blogs dedicated to your image. You set the media world on fire when you broke up a street brawl and it was captured on video. You're wanted by many, adored by most - what more could a man want?
You're standing at the edge of your career - on one side, several devastatingly good performances; on the other, a future of success and fame. You're destined to be not only a heartthrob, but a legendary actor, and I have no doubt that you can live up to your promise.
Let's just agree to disagree on that performance in "The Notebook."
This is the opinion of Kevin O'Keeffe, a sophomore screenwriting major from Austin, Texas. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.