WARNING: There may be spoilers in reference to the movie Drive in this article. Read cautiously (also you’re an asshole for not seeing that yet)
Ryan Gosling is more than likely this generation’s go to heartthrob and rightfully so. He’s a great actor, sports some very inspirational abdominal muscles and has the kind of eyes anyone can get lost in. He’s also solely responsible for the “Gosling Effect”*. Because he starred in The Notebook, he has a very large female fan-base who are willing to watch him in basically anything he appears in. Fortunately for the men in these ladies’ lives, Mr. Gosling is quite versatile and has appeared in a variety of entertaining films. So when my wife and I decided to stay in for an evening and watch a movie, I took advantage of the Gosling Effect and chose the movie Drive. That is the night that I discovered the Reverse Gosling Effect.
She knew going into it that the film was more action oriented but with Gosling at the helm she settled into a state of comfort that is quite unusual in situations where I pick the movie (I’m know for having a pretty peculiar taste in movies). Even though she was prepared for the worst, Ryan Gosling was there to pull her in close in case things went south. She trusted Gosling and because of that trust, she’d go anywhere he took her (speaking metaphorically here, though if Ryan Gosling showed up to wisk her away I doubt she’d decline and I doubt I’d stop her…we’re pro Gosling in this household.)
That demonstrates just how powerful the Gosling Effect is. But as we learned throughout the Spiderman films, with great power comes great responsibility. The thing is, I knew little about Drive, only that all of my friends loved it and said it was a must see. Because I’m heavily influenced by peer pressure, it got bumped to the top of my Netflix queue. Using the Gosling Effect to watch a movie you know a bit about is one thing, but using it to coax your partner down a dark and mysterious road that you yourself aren’t the least bit familiar with shows how irresponsible use can lead to problems.
In the beginning of the movie, we’re made aware of the mysterious stunt driver (refereed to simply as Driver) who happens to moonlight as a get away driver for criminals. Obviously, it’s going to be a dark film but the introduction of a single mother and her child brightens up the prospects a bit as we begin to see that Driver has a soft side. I personally settled into the same state of comfort my wife did as the movie begin to focus on the struggle of this single mother and Driver’s willingness to step in and help out when needed. Without spoiling things too much, let’s just say that the aforementioned soft side is reserved primarily for people Driver likes.
Eventually, things begin to get a bit dicey, but Christina Hendricks shows up and my wife (who loves Mad Men) says, “Hey, it’s Joan Harris” which settles her down a bit. Then “Joan Harris” takes a shotgun shell to the head, resulting in an incredibly gory demise that produces an audible gasp from my wife. She looks at me with wide eyes, not sure whether to be upset with me or at the fact that the Gosling Effect steered her wrong for the first time. Thinking it was a one off moment (movies like to throw in scenes like that for shock value) she continued watching it. Then came the infamous elevator scene.
Now, this wasn’t the first time that Gosling committed heinous acts as it was insinuated that his character in “All Good Things” was a pretty demented individual. That being said, his acts did not occur on screen in that movie where as we clearly see him beating the absolute hell out of a hitman in an elevator and then stomping on his head until there was nothing left but a gooey mess with the consistency of raspberry jam. I thought it was an awesome scene as it lifts the veil of the main character and makes it very obvious that he’s capable of the kind of brutality that isn’t always seen in conventional action movie heroes. My wife, on the other hand realized that Ryan Gosling in the cast doesn’t necessarily equate to a “safe” movie. She saw a side of Ryan Gosling that not only made her cringe, but also may have made her wonder what else he was capable of?
“Oh god,” I thought, “this is the Reverse Gosling’”.
I felt bad as not only did she see something she doesn’t really like to see, she might also have an impression of Ryan Gosling that was inaccurate. I was not going to be the only man in the world whose wife didn’t trust Ryan Gosling. After that point, she’d no longer be able to dive headlong into a Gosling movie without first going through a period of anxiety. Should I ever meet The Gos (God willing), how would I explain that to him?
Once my wife reassured me that I was just being overly sensitive to Ryan Gosling’s feelings (she clearly wasn’t as affected by the situation as I thought, though she could have been lying), I decided to stop being so hard on my self. The thing is, science doesn’t always produce the best results but that doesn’t mean the discoveries pulled from experiments gone wrong can’t be beneficial. We couldn’t have been the only couple affected by the Reverse Gosling Effect; what we learned could be put out there so others wouldn’t make the same mistake. The moral of the story is that going to a Ryan Gosling movie will usually equate to a good time, but for every five scenes that he demonstrates how to be the perfect lover, there is at least one where he demonstrates how to mud-stomp a dude’s face into the carpet.
*The Gosling Effect is something that’s also recognized on Reddit, which makes it as close to science as one can get without actually being a scientist.