Shia LaBeouf is just hitting his stride as an actor, with each recent role proving he has cinematic depths previously unseen. As the 34-year-old leaves behind the frivolous roles of his past and takes on more serious projects, there’s bound to be an Oscar in his future.
personal life is a train wreck, with a PTSD diagnosis, substance abuse issues, and accusations of abuse swirling around the actor. We don’t excuse bad or illegal behavior, but the fact that he’s troubled probably contributes to how good he is at his craft.
In honor of his latest knock-out performance, in Netflix’s
Pieces of a Woman, we’ve ranked his best roles so far – and we can’t wait to see what he does next.
Cover Photo: Amazon Studios
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Shia LaBeouf Movies
In this gritty period flick, LaBeouf plays Jack Bondurant, the youngest of three brothers running an illegal moonshine operation in Virginia. Fun fact: the film was written by real-life Jack Bondurant's grandson. Unfortunately, real life was probably more entertaining than this gratuitously violent film.
9. 'The Company You Keep'
One type of role LaBeouf doesn't get cast in often is that of a nerd. In this thriller starring Robert Redford, he gets that chance. LaBeouf plays a scrappy, eager reporter digging into a story about former domestic terrorists who are hiding out in plain sight. The movie falls short of its ambition, but not because of LaBeouf.
Photo: Voltage Pictures
8. 'Borg vs. McEnroe'
LaBeouf takes on hotheaded American tennis player John McEnroe in this biopic that finds the sports star going head to head (and racket to racket) with the cool and calculated Swedish player Bjorn Borg at the 1980 Wimbledon championship. LaBeouf's unpredictable, volatile energy keeps the film from face-planting.
Every serious actor has a war movie in his oeuvre. This is LaBeouf's, and his character is a gunner nicknamed Bible (for obviously religious reasons). To prepare for the role, the actor apparently went all in, actually joining the National Guard, getting baptized, becoming a chaplain's assistant, and spending a month on base.
LaBeouf landed the starring role in this Michael Bay blockbuster. As Sam Witwicky, he buys a yellow Camaro that is actually the Transformer known as Bumblebee. To call what ensues a "wild ride" would be an understatement.
5. 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps'
Newer fans of LaBeouf will hardly recognize his clean-cut appearance as an ambitious trader who wants to marry Gordon ("Greed is good") Gekko's daughter in this Oliver Stone drama.
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox
4. 'American Honey'
In this indie drama, LaBeouf plays a teen who leads a group of misfits from place to place selling just enough magazines to pay for their party-hardy lifestyle. LaBeouf is the most seasoned performer in the cast and he carries the film effortlessly with his trademark untethered energy.
3. 'The Peanut Butter Falcon'
In this critically acclaimed dramedy, LaBeouf plays a crab fisherman accosted by a man with Down Syndrome who's on the run from his care facility and in pursuit of a famous wrestler. It's a sentimental, odd-couple, buddy flick, but LaBeouf's nuanced performance and down-to-Earth charm keep it from becoming sappy.
2. 'Pieces of a Woman'
In this Netflix original gem, LaBeouf plays a young man whose newborn daughter dies after a home birth. As his partner (Vanessa Kirby) struggles to recover from the tragedy, he deals with his grief in self-destructive ways. His boorish behavior comes to a head when his partner's mother confronts him and makes him an offer he can't refuse. LaBeouf absolutely disappears into this role (or is it that the actor and his character are oh-so-very similar?) in this must-see film.
1. 'Honey Boy'
LaBeouf tapped into his own dark and twisted family history to write and star in this Amazon Original film. In it, he essentially plays his own father, a man financially dependent on his young son, a child actor. The abusive relationship between the two is tough to watch; LeBeouf plays an asshole dad so convincingly it'll send shivers down your spine. Given how cathartic the role must have been to play makes his performance all the more profound.