Jim Carrey's 10 Most Surprisingly Serious Roles, Ranked by IMDb

Jim Carrey's 10 Most Surprisingly Serious Roles, Ranked by IMDb
Image credit: Legion-Media, New Line Cinema, EuropaCorp, Warner Bros., Fox, Showtime

Viewers are used to seeing him onscreen as a comedian, but Jim has a number of acclaimed serious roles that might just make you cry.

Jim Carrey, never afraid to break his image as a brilliant comic actor, dreamed of big dramatic roles, often stumbled in this direction, but still received high praise from critics for some of his serious projects.

10. Dark Crimes, 2016

IMDb Rating: 4.6/10

Dark Crimes is based on the true story of a writer, who murdered his wife's lover and detailed the crime in a novel. Although the writer was immediately suspected, it took nine years to prove his guilt.

Jim Carrey plays Detective Tadek who is trying to prove the guilt of a writer with a lot of dark secrets. Carrey's return to the big screen after the tragic events in his life turned out to be very dark. His character in Dark Crimes is a man tired of life and completely lost.

9. The Cable Guy, 1996

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IMDb Rating: 6.1/10

Steven has broken up with his girlfriend and moved into a new apartment. Now he desperately needs a TV, so he calls the local master, Chip. But Chip decides that he is now Steven's friend, and with each new meeting, Chip's behavior becomes more frightening, and Steven learns the terrible details of his life.

The image of Chip is groundbreaking: a character raised on pop culture who behaves like a hero from a standard Hollywood movie, completely unhappy and lonely, but still dangerous. Originally billed as a comedy, The Cable Guy ended up being a dark drama with an abundance of black humor.

8. The Number 23, 2007

IMDb Rating: 6.4/10

Before the release of The Number 23, Jim Carrey had already proven his dramatic talent to everyone – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Truman Show and Man on the Moon had already been released.

And the role in Joel Schumacher's film was just another experiment for the actor: he tried his hand at a dark, twisted thriller. Carrey plays a man who, after reading the novel, becomes obsessed with the number 23 – he sees it everywhere, and soon this interest develops into full-blown paranoia.

7. I Love You Phillip Morris, 2009

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IMDb Rating: 6.6/10

In 2009, Jim Carrey starred in the acclaimed drama I Love You Phillip Morris, directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. He played Steven Russell, who went to prison for a daring fraud and fell in love with his cellmate, Phillip Morris.

Jim Carrey helped create the image of his character: to show that Steven was a bearer of great life experience, the actor shaved off part of his hair to make his forehead seem higher.

6. The Majestic, 2001

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IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

In The Majestic, Carrey played two roles – first, the cowardly Hollywood screenwriter Peter, who is suspected of being a communist sympathizer and is about to lose his job. Peter accidentally falls from a bridge, hits his head and loses his memory. When he wakes up on the shore, he finds himself in a small town where everyone thinks he is the late Luke, the son of the movie theater owner.

Perhaps any other actor could have been in Carrey's place, but it is his facial expressions that help distinguish between two completely different characters – the cunning Peter, who is willing to sacrifice his principles for the sake of personal success, and the shy but persistent Luke.

5. Doing Time on Maple Drive, 1992

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IMDb Rating: 7.0/10

The Carter family is used to hiding their problems. Everything seems to be going well for them – Phil owns a restaurant and his wife Lisa has raised three children. And only if you look closely, you can understand that one of the sons is an alcoholic, the second tried to commit suicide, and the daughter ignores all problems.

This is one of Jim Carrey's most serious roles, even before his worldwide popularity. The part of young Tim, who does not want to admit his alcoholism problem, was undoubtedly the most impressive in the movie.

4. Man on the Moon, 1999

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

In 1999, Carrey starred in the biopic dedicated to the comedian Andy Kaufman, who made everyone laugh at something that was absolutely not funny.

The competition for the role of Andy was fierce – Sean Penn, Edward Norton, Kevin Spacey applied for it. But when the director of the movie, Milos Forman, saw Jim's audition, he decided that he was the best person for the part. Carrey prepared seriously for the filming: for many months he interviewed everyone who knew Kaufman personally and studied tapes of the late comedian.

3. Kidding, 2018-2020

IMDb Rating: 8.0/10

In the Showtime series, Carrey portrayed a resilient children's TV host whose personal life is far more tragic than the image he presents on screen. Nearly half of the episodes were directed by Michel Gondry, who previously directed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with Carrey in the main role.

The show was not just a dramatic story – it reflected many of the issues (such as depression) that Jim himself struggled with in real life. For battling his own demons, the actor received a Golden Globe nomination for the seventh time in his career.

2. The Truman Show, 1998

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IMDb Rating: 8.2/10

The first in a series of Carrey’s serious roles is the part of Truman Burbank in the movie by Peter Weir. The main character's ordinary life turns out to be a completely staged TV show in which Truman, without realizing it, plays the leading role. The creators of this project have done the unimaginable: Truman was born "on the other side of the screen" and never experienced "real" life.

With his performance, Carrey wanted to prove that he could play not only clumsy losers, but also serious tragic characters, and he succeeded. Carrey himself called the script for The Truman Show one of the most interesting of his career.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004

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IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

Joel begins to date Clementine, but the relationship does not work out, and the lovers quickly separate. To survive the pain of the breakup, Joel goes to a special memory erasing clinic and removes the girl from his mind – but love turns out to be stronger than science, and the desire to forget the time spent together is replaced by regret for his own actions.

Jim Carrey's character in the movie is perhaps the saddest in the actor's entire career – he changes the image of the always cheerful comedian, and becomes a melancholy man with a broken heart, who wants to erase the memories of his beloved. By this time, the actor had many dramatic roles, but it was this film that created a new perception of Jim as a multifaceted artist.