Top Five James McAvoy Performances

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9 September 2021

By Michaela Makusha

James McAvoy is a brilliant Scottish actor who has appeared in numerous movies, TV shows, and theatre productions. He does great accents and has shown impressive range as an actor. He is also very nice to look at.

This combination means that I have paid extensive attention to his work and have listed five of my favourite performances by him.

5. Atonement – Robbie Turner


One of the only films to make me cry, James McAvoy’s performance of Robbie and his relationship with Keira Knightly’s Cecilia will break your heart. Plus, that library scene. Also, if you haven’t read the book, read it.

Recommended Reading: Book Review – ‘Atonement’

4. X-Men series – Professor Charles Xavier


I know the X-Men series isn’t the most popular comic book adaptation, but I love the films.

James McAvoy’s young, optimistic Charles Xavier is a perfect and consistent match to Patrick Stewart’s older and wiser professor, which can be rare in media when depicting older/younger characters.

3. His Dark Materials – Lord Asriel


Again, another book series that I loved when I was younger adapted into a TV series. I really like how he keeps Asriel intimidating and cold, yet still manages to show the parallel side to his personality when he interacts with Lyra. It is an overall great adaptation, with an amazing cast.

2. The Last King of Scotland – Dr Nicholas Garrigan


Forrest Whitaker’s Idi Amin may steal the show in this chilling semi-fictionalisation of Amin’s time as dictator of Uganda, but McAvoy’s character is equally important in demonstrating ignorance in a dictatorship and how it is easy to fall for propaganda.

1. Split – Kevin


Terrifying. The only way to describe this multi-faceted character. The seamless transition from each of Kevin’s personalities is fantastic as McAvoy avoids the overacting that can occur when depicting serial killers.

This is why it is one of my favourite performances, yet also one of the scariest movies I’ve watched.

Recommended Reading: ‘Split’ film and its impact on mental health

mr tumnus

 Honourable Mention: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – Mr Tumnus.

My childhood bestie and perhaps one of the purest characters in both the film and book, if you didn’t like Mr Tumnus as a child, you’re wrong.

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