Connell from Normal People endeared many fans to Paul Mescal. However, his performance in Aftersun transformed him from a rising star to someone with a powerful screen presence. Aftersun and Normal People are only two of the captivating Paul Mescal movies and TV shows. Fans can rely on the Irish actor to give layered performances. He excels at showcasing the technicolored nature of life and humanity.
In a few short years, basically, I have become a Paul Mescal movies and TV shows expert. I have seen his entire filmography, because Aftersun left such an impression. Because I have seen every one of his TV shows and movies, I can confidently say that these are his best performances.
Aftersun follows a father-daughter vacation between Sophie (Frankie Corio) and Calum (Paul Mescal). The entire story takes place in the past, as adult Sophie (Celia Rowlson-Hall) reflects on this time. I originally saw it at a film festival, and was completely overwhelmed by it. I then had to wait months for it to be available in wider release to rewatch. The film inspires multiple viewings to truly process it all.
It’s a haunting movie and the Aftersun ending shatters you. Besides generally being one of the best films of 2022 and a beautifully mesmerizing movie, Mescal gives his best performance (thus far) in it. He absolutely deserved his Oscar nomination, because the character needed an actor like Mescal to give the role the care, attention, and compassion it needs. This is a movie I have seen many times now and remain impressed by Mescal’s performance in it. You notice new layers and nuances with each viewing.
All Of Us Strangers
All of Us Strangers depicts an enchanting love story between two men who meet when one comes knocking at the other’s door. Additionally, Adam (Andrew Scott) explores his grief over his parent’s death in a very fascinating and compelling manner. Scott, Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell, and Claire Foy all give breathtaking performances in this complex story about ghosts. All of Us Strangers is a film that impacted me, especially for its explorations of loneliness.
Mescal haunts you once again here. He’s a master at embodying deep emotions and making you feel them with him. His portrayal of Harry, this deeply loving and sad man, proves that Mescal has the acting ability of someone far beyond his age and experience.
Mescal and Scott’s natural and infectious chemistry ranks their romance right up there with some of the greatest romantic movie pairings of all time. Mescal manages to shine in a cast full of top-notch performances and leaves another lasting impression. As of January 2024, All of Us Strangers is only available to watch in select theaters. However, if playing at a theater near you, it’s a movie worth making a trip to the cinema to watch.
Normal People is a BBC Three and Hulu miniseries based on the Sally Rooney book of the same name. As teens, Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) secretly start a romantic and sexual relationship. It develops into this love story that spans years and manifests into various forms and purposes.
As individuals, Marianne and Connell function in different worlds (socially and economically) but constantly make room for each other in their separate spaces. This devotion keeps them running towards each other. They have a seemingly unbreakable love story, even when they do things that break them. Normal People isn’t just a love story but a look at mental health, especially how it forms in early adulthood.
The series’ conversations on depression and anxiety are some of the best I’ve seen on television. It feels true to those suffering from anxiety and depression. Mescal once again creates this complicated character whose pain haunts him but doesn’t define him. Though a Season 2 could eventually happen, it’s a show that works best as a single-season experience.
God’s Creatures asks the question: what would you do if your son was accused of a heinous crime? Aileen (Emily Watson) plays a mother in this very situation. Mescal plays Brian, her accused son. The film explores the events before and after the alleged crime. The story focuses mainly on how it affects Aileen and how the small town reacts to the allegations and victim.
Mescal often plays morally good characters, God’s Creatures heavily leans into villain territory. However, unlike some actors who play their devious characters over the top, Mescal plays Brian with subtleties. He makes sure that you don’t quite know what to make of him. It’s more of an ambiguous character which works perfectly for the themes and tone of the movie. It mainly takes place from Aileen’s perspective, so your doubts are her doubts, your choices are her choices, and your crimes are her crimes.
It isn’t a film obsessed with answers and neat resolutions. It wants you to have doubts but also feel somewhat uneasy with the entire situation and the ending. The performances by Mescal and Watson are what make this movie work so well. Both add empathy and weight to these very flawed people.
The Lost Daughter
Leda’s (Olivia Colman) vacation makes her reflect on her journey through motherhood. She also meets Nina (Dakota Johnson) who reminds her of her younger self and the women form a bond mainly fueled by their parenting woes. The Lost Daughter deals with the perils of motherhood, loneliness, and the weight you hold for your choices. It also features Ed Harris, Dagmara Dominczyk, Paul Mescal, Jessie Buckley, Peter Sarsgaard, Jack Farthing, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
The Lost Daughter is full of stellar performances, especially from Buckley, Colman, and Johnson. Additionally, it explores complex topics such as the struggles of being a mother and making choices deemed selfish by society. It’s more of a meditative film than one full of action. However, it builds suspense and offers a few thrills.
Mescal only has a small role in The Lost Daughter. Therefore, it is not the best film to showcase his talent, but an overall great movie. He makes his few scenes in The Lost Daughter count.
These Paul Mescal movies and TV shows showcase his ability to deliver a mesmerizing performance. His career has just begun, so these are the first of many fantastic performances to come. Catch Mescal next in Gladiator 2 and The History of Sound.