Jared Leto's Best Movies, Ranked by Metacritic

Jared Leto has made a career out of being a chameleon. Here are his top 10 movies, ranked by Metascore.
by Danielle Turchiano — 

Jared Leto

Rich Fury / Getty Images

Jared Leto has come a long way since his early days on television as the brooding heartthrob Jordan Catalano on My So-Called Life. That one-season drama series is still the highest-rated project of Leto's when looking at Metascores — it has a 92 — but it was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to what the versatile (and now veteran) performer could do.

Leto has made a career out of being a chameleon — literally disappearing into larger-than-life roles that include DC Comics' villain the Joker in Suicide Squad and Zack Snyder's Justice League; businessman and designer Paolo Gucci in House of Gucci; and convicted murdered Mark David Chapman in Chapter 27. He also transforms when he steps on a live stage or in a recording booth, as the frontman for his band, Thirty Seconds to Mars. So, it should come as no surprise that he is doing the same in his two 2022 projects.

In WeCrashed, Apple TV+'s limited series about the rise of co-working space empire WeWork, Leto slips on a prosthetic nose and adopts an Israeli accent to portray real-life entrepreneur Adam Neumann. Then, in Sony's Morbius, he takes on a mix of makeup, contacts, and VFX to become Marvel's titular living vampire, Dr. Michael Morbius.

Ahead of these new projects, take a look back at some of the best ones Leto has been a part of thus far in his three-decade long career, as here, Metacritic highlights the top 10 movies Leto has acted in, ranked by Metascore.

Blade Runner 2049

Metascore: 81
Best for: Fans of science fiction and existential character dramas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 164 minutes

Denis Villeneuve's sequel to Blade Runner is set in the year 2049, when bioengineered humans, aka replicants, are supposed to exist only to serve. When it is discovered that replicants can reproduce, it is assumed replicants will soon want to wage war against the humans, so the LAPD orders K (Ryan Gosling), a replicant himself, to find and kill the replicant child. In embarking on this mission, K ends up learning a lot about his own origins and setting down a new path. However, at the same time, Niander Wallace (Leto) is trying to get to the bottom of how this reproduction works and puts an enforcer (Sylvia Hoeks) on K.

"Vibrant and gorgeous and sometimes brutal and mind-bending and occasionally incomprehensible hallucinatory epic." — Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Dallas Buyers Club

Metascore: 79
Best for: Fans of biopics, shrewd looks at the U.S. healthcare system, and stories of transformation
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Peacock, Vudu
Runtime: 117 minutes

Matthew McConaughey stars as the real-life Ron Woodroof, a man diagnosed with AIDS who helps get meds into the hands of other patients in this 1980s period piece directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. While the FDA approves AZT for clinical trial, the drug wreaks havoc, including on Ron, so he travels outside of the U.S. to try a different drug cocktail. When he feels better, he begins smuggling the pills across the border and selling them, eventually starting the titular club, which draws negative attention from the FDA. Although he faces a lot of complications with his own health and with the legality of what he is doing, he also experiences great triumphs when it comes to opening his mind, finding new allies, and becoming a better one himself. Leto plays Rayon, a trans woman and drug addict living with AIDS who goes into business and becomes friends with Ron.

The movie, like its star, is all angles and elbows, earning its emotion through sheer pragmatism." — Stepjhanie Zacharek, The Village Voice

The Thin Red Line

Metascore: 78
Best for: Fans of war films and dramatizations of American history
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 170 minutes

Terrence Malick wrote and directed this fictionalized version of events in World War II as soldiers are brought to Guadalcanal to secure and seize the island from the Japanese. Each key soldier has different approaches to, and feelings about, their mission, which prove important in humanizing the story once the battle begins. At almost three hours long, the film spends a decent amount of time on action sequences, but the perils of war are on display even when the gunfire stops. Leto plays 2nd Lt. William Whyte, one of the platoon leaders.

"Could be called the Red Badge of Courage of World War II movies." — John Hartl, Film.com

Requiem for a Dream

Metascore: 68
Best for: Fans of addiction dramas, psychologically complex characters, and cautionary tales
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Pluto TV, Vudu
Runtime: 102 minutes

Darren Aronofsky's harrowing drug drama based on Hubert Selby Jr.'s novel of the same title follows four addicts who spiral in desperation as they are unable to control their disease. Ellen Burstyn stars as Sara Goldfarb, a woman who gets addicted to prescription drugs in a bid to lose weight quickly, while Leto plays her son, Harry, a heroin addict trying to help his friends and family but unable to help himself. Jennifer Connelly is Marion Silver, a hopeful fashion designer also addicted to heroin who turns to prostitution, and Marlon Wayans plays Tyrone Love, another heroin addict who gets caught up with traffickers and, eventually, the law.

"A powerful fable about love and addiction that manages to be darkly humorous." — Jonathan Foreman, New York Post

Fight Club

Metascore: 66
Best for: Fans of psychological dramas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 139 minutes

Chuck Palahniuk's novel gets the feature film adaptation treatment from director David Fincher and stars Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Helena Bonham Carter. Norton's character, an unassuming, unfulfilled insomniac, narrates the story, which really begins when he meets Tyler Durden (Pitt), who introduces him to catharsis through physical violence. The two begin living together and start the titular fight club, but things begin to go off the rails when Tyler gets involved with Marla (Bonham Carter), as well as when Tyler's attitude toward consumerism and corporations becomes more extreme, forcing the Narrator to face some harsh truths about himself and how far he's willing to go for excitement. Leto plays Angel Face, a man recruited to be a part of the fight club and Tyler's anarchist organization, Project Mayhem.

"It's visually surrealistic, acted with integrity, so brutal in spots that I averted my eyes." — Lawrence Toppman, The Charlotte Observer

Panic Room

Metascore: 65
Best for: Fans of crime thrillers, female-driven dramas, and metaphors
Where to watch:

, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Paramount+, Vudu
Runtime: 112 minutes

Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart star as a mother-daughter duo who move into a new home in a wealthy New York City neighborhood, only to become victims of a home invasion on their first night there. They are able to rush into the home's panic room, but it is not a place of complete safety, as the intruders have deep and personal knowledge of the environment, as well as the contents of a safe left by the previous owners. The movie explores vulnerability on multiple levels, including the very physical threats of fire, guns, and a health scare, but it is also a testament to how far a mother will go to keep her child safe. Leto plays Junior, one of the burglars who has intricate knowledge of the home and the wealth inside.

"[A] high-style testament to the cool things movies can do to make us jump out of our seats in the dark." — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

American Psycho

Metascore: 64
Best for: Fans of serial killer dramas and twisted humor
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 102 minutes

Mary Harron's dark comedy is based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel of the same title and follows Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a wealthy New Yorker who is secretly a sadist. Patrick has cultivated a very particular public-facing life with a high-profile job as an investment banker, sharp suits, and a fancy apartment, but he has a deep-seated rage that he expresses by beating prostitutes, and killing homeless people, colleagues, and strangers when even the smallest things set him off. Leto plays Paul Allen, one of Patrick's colleagues.

"A lean and mean horror comedy classic." — Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Mr. Nobody

Metascore: 63
Best for: Fans of futuristic family dramas and science fiction
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 141 minutes

The titular Mr. Nobody, aka Nemo (Leto), is more than 100 years old and the last mortal living at the end of the 21st century in this sci-fi fantasy. While the rest of the world has achieve immortality, Nemo is getting closer to dying, but before he does, he tells his life story through three key ages: as an adolescent, when his parents divorced; as a teenager, when he first fell in love; and at age 34, as an adult. As his narrative unfolds, though, questions arise about which version of his life is the real one and what will happen to the universe when he gets to the end.

"A saga that, even at two-plus hours, is endlessly, enormously watchable." — Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post

Lord of War

Metascore: 62
Best for: Fans of crime dramas, complicated male protagonists, and cautionary tales
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Peacock, Vudu
Runtime: 122 minutes

Nicolas Cage stars as Yuri Orlov, an international arms dealer, in this movie that is inspired by real-life events. Set in the early 1980s, Yuri partners with his younger brother, Vitaly (Leto), to sell weapons to troops on both sides of the Lebanon War, and they begin a lucrative, but dangerous business that sees them getting caught up with drug lords, militia forces, and an ATF agent (Ethan Hawke) who tries to use their loved ones against them. 

"Brimming with cinematic confidence, cynicism, chutzpah plus dramatic bungles." — Robert Koehler, Variety

Lonely Hearts

Metascore: 60
Best for: Fans of noir thrillers, psychologically complicated relationships, and true crime
Where to watch:

, Google Play, Vudu
Runtime: 108 minutes

The real-life "Lonely Hearts Killers," aka Martha Beck (Salma Hayek) and Raymond Fernandez (Leto), are at the center of Todd Robinson's noir thriller. Their relationship is put under a magnifying glass, examining how they would pose as siblings, but jealousy would rear its head, leading to violence. While the story follows the duo's crime spree as they defraud women across the country, it simultaneously tracks two detectives' (John Travolta and James Gandolfini) efforts to stop these con artists and bring them to justice. 

"A captivating look at the dynamics that turn Fernandez and Beck into serial killers." — Alex Chun, Los Angeles Times