When you observe Matthew McConaughey’s movies in chronological order, it is clear to see how this actor rose in ranks and how there has been a steady incline in the type of roles he has taken on. This progression has been described by critics as the McConaissance. McConaughey is one of the finest actors in the film industry today with the manner he approaches each character he plays and the little bit of himself he gives to each of his films.
He was born in Texas to Mary McCabe and James Donald McConaughey on the 4th of November in 1969. He was initially inclined to becoming a lawyer but decided that he did not really want that. The actor has had a career in professional acting since 1991 and his earliest performances were in commercials – one of which led to him landing a role in a film. This is the list of the fifteen finest films from this actor you must see in no chronological order.
Finest Matthew McConaughey Movies You Should Watch
1. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
This film is a 2013 biographical drama based on the life of Ron Woodroof. Woodroof was diagnosed with AIDS in 1985. As at when he was diagnosed with the disease, little research had been done on a cure and the rate of stigmatization was still very high as it was believed at the time that it was a disease that could only be acquired by gay people. Woodroof was able to find a cocktail of drugs that helped his condition immensely and together with a transsexual woman, Rayon, played by Jared Leto, the Dallas Buyers Club was founded where he (Woodroof) sold the drugs he was using to other patients of the disease.
For his performance, McConaughey won a Golden Globe, an Oscar, and the Screen Actors Guild award.
2. Interstellar (2014)
In this Matthew McConaughey movie, he plays the character of a pilot and engineer who is recruited by NASA to pilot the spacecraft, Endurance in a bid to find worlds were humans can live as the earth was becoming more uninhabitable by the day. Christopher Nolan directed the film and it features an ensemble cast made up of Anne Hathaway, Matt Damon, Jessica Chastin, and Michael Caine. The film is highly revered for many things and McConaughey’s acting is one of those things, he was nominated for a number of awards for his performance in the movie (even though he didn’t win any).
3. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
Matthew McConaughey is a versatile actor who has acted in a broad range of films that cuts across genres. In the early 2000s, he was cast in many romcoms, this led to audiences viewing the actor in a different light as he became a sex symbol of some sort.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days features the talents of McConaughey, where he plays Benjamin Barry, the perfect boyfriend to Andie Anderson, played by Kate Hudson. Anderson is a magazine writer who has set out to show her readers how to lose a guy in ten days and the guy she chooses to test her theory on Barry. The film was released to mixed reviews from critics, made a profit at the Box Office and is a great chance to see what happens when a man who looks like McConaughey falls in love.
4. Mud (2012)
This 2012 Matthew McConaughey movie tells the story of how three men grow into better people. One of the men is McConaughey’s character, Mud who is evading the police and a family who tries to kill him for killing one of their sons. He killed the man for abusing the woman he is in love with. Mud meets two teenagers at the beginning of the film and enlists their help in getting his boat working but the relationship he has with them is mostly selfish as Mud only wanted just their help.
As the film ends, Mud grows into a selfless person risking his safety and life for the boys while the boys mature in the process of helping him.
5. Dazed and Confused (1993)
1992 was when McConaughey made his acting debut, but the film that made him a name to reckon with is the1993 film, Dazed and Confused, which takes its name from the Led Zepplin song “Dazed and Confused”.
The events in this film take place in 1976 and it follows the events teenagers engage in on their last day of school. McConaughey plays the role of David Wooderson who is the neighborhood creepy older guy who still hangs out with teenagers. Majority of the cast members including Matthew McConaughey were unknown actors who eventually grew to be bigger stars.
6. A Time to Kill (1996)
In the 1990s, there was an explosion of movies which were adapted from novels by the legal fiction writer, John Grisham. A Time to Kill was released in 1996 and it was one of two films which adapted from Grisham’s writing to be released that year.
McConaughey was chosen for this role as the author wanted an actual Texan to play the role of Jake Brigance and this was his first lead role since the beginning of his career. Brigance is a white lawyer who has been enlisted by Carl Lee Hailey, a man facing the death penalty after killing the two men who raped and killed his daughter. McConaughey’s acting is remarkable because of how young he is when he acted in the film and how little experience he had as an actor. Although the film had favorable reviews in America, it did not fare so well in France.
7. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
McConaughey is a supporting actor in this Martin Scorsese film but he still shines in his role of Mark Hanna. Hanna is the man that exposes the protagonist, Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo Dicaprio) to the partying and drug-using lifestyle of a stockbroker. McConaughey barely gets a lot of screen time in this film but he put on a good enough performance to make this a must-watch film and just like other characters in the film, he is based on a real-life person.
8. Magic Mike
In the world of sex trade, it is a rare occurrence to find men who are willing to offer their sexual services. But in Magic Mike, male stripping is the subject matter and Matthew McConaughey, a former stripper and owner of a strip club facilitates this service to some clients. This film was another validation of McConaughey’s status as a sex symbol during that period.
9. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
The actor has lent his talents to animated films as well and in 2016 he was cast in the stop-motion fantasy film, Kubo and the Two Strings. He is the hero, Hanzo who has been turned into a Beetle by his sisters-in-law. McConaughey gave the film most of its comedic element and it won the BAFTA and Academy Award for the best-animated film.
10. Amistad (1997)
In this Matthew McConaughey movie, the actor is the lawyer Roger Sherman Baldwin who fights for the release of some African slaves who have taken control of the ship La Amistad which was used in transporting them from Cuba to the United States. The film is based on real-life events which took place in the mid-1800s and was monumental in the fight for the abolition of slavery.
11. Contact (1997)
In a film about intergalactic message and space travel, McConaughey plays the role of Palmer Ross, who is a philosopher of Christianity. He is also the love interest of Jodie Foster’s character, Dr. Eleanor Arroway. McConaughey had already been picked to star in The Jackal and he had to choose between this film and The Jackal.
12. Lone Star (1996)
McConaughey is the former sheriff of Rio County in Frontera and actions from his past have come to haunt him with his son, Sam Deeds discovering that he was part of a murder cover-up. But all is not as it seems when in fact the man that was murdered was a terror to the county. It is a neo-western and Matthew McConaughey is able to pull off the swagger of an old man who has lived a good life aided by political corruption.
13. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
In his second legal drama, McConaughey is Mickey Haller, a lawyer who works out of his Lincoln Town car. This is one of the first roles he took in a serious film after appearing in a number of romcoms. In this film, he is a suave lawyer who is doing his best to rectify the mistakes of a previous case while making sure a criminal gets his due punishment for his crimes.
14. Killer Joe (2011)
This Matthew McConaughey film is a black comedy that is brilliantly written and has at its head, a mesmerizing performance by the actor. He is the center of a murderous family where individual members decide to kill the family’s matriarch for her insurance money. The film ends with the least expected person pulling the trigger on everyone else. Matthew McConaughey won a Saturn Award for his performance.
15. Frailty (2001)
As mentioned earlier, Matthew McConaughey has appeared in films of different genres and this includes the psychological thriller, Frailty. In this film, the actor plays two characters Fenton and Adam Meiks, one of who is a psychotic killer who believes he has been given a gift to kill criminals. For audiences, it was refreshing to see McConaughey in a different role from anything he had done in the past.