Rubber-faced comic actor Jim Carrey was known as the hero of comedy throughout the ‘90s. In movies like The Mask, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and Liar Liar, he developed a successful and iconic comedy career for a long time. But, in the late-’90s and mid-’00s, Carrey started to turn more toward serious roles and explore his range as a performer, which led to more dramatic performances.
Many of these movies met with critical acclaim and earned Carrey esteemed awards. However, we feel like much of Carrey’s drama work was often underrated, and he never really got the recognition he should have. After a while of doing dramatic roles, Carrey moved back into comedy, but his serious work ranks among his best. These are some of the best dramatic roles that Jim Carrey has done in his career so far.
The Truman Show (1998)
Probably the first foray into more dramatic acting for Carrey was The Truman Show. This flick is a comedy-drama film following the life of Truman Burbank who, unwittingly, is the subject of a global reality TV show about his life called The Truman Show. The film is a satire on the media and reality television, and one of the finest feel-good films ever made. This set the standard for Carrey’s future dramatic turns and is one of American cinemas greatest modern classics.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
This non-romantic romantic film is beautiful, tragic, heartbreaking, and utterly brilliant. Following Joel, played by Carrey, and Kate Winslet as Clementine, the movie looks back over their failed relationship, as each decides to get the other erased from their memory. It’s a depressing film in places, but it’s also one of the most powerful and moving films about love. The movie received widespread critical acclaim and ranks as arguably Jim Carrey’s best movie.
The Number 23 (2007)
The Number 23 is actually a pretty underrated movie and was critically panned upon release. But, watching it in recent years, the film has a stylistic charm about it. This dramatic role sees Carrey playing a middle-aged man who develops an obsession with the number 23, and the role it seems to play in his life. Yes, the film is silly in places, and the acting sometimes questionable, but it’s moody and atmospheric, and definitely worth revisiting again.
Man on the Moon (1999)
Jim won a thoroughly deserved Golden Globe award for this Andy Kaufman biopic. It is one of the best comedy-drama films he made and showed his great versatility as an actor. Playing legendary comedian Andy Kaufman comes so naturally to Carrey that he could almost have been Kaufman! The flick has an excellent soundtrack, an amazing supporting cast, and is heartwarmingly charming in many places.
Jim Carrey has been a staple of comedy acting since the early 1990s and is iconic as a comedy great. But, he is also a fantastically diverse actor and has done some excellent dramatic roles as well. We missed out some other great movies that could have made this list, like The Majestic, but we feel these showcase Carrey at his dramatic best – so make sure you check them out.