Is Harry Styles the Greatest Actor of Our Time?

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe attempts to guard its secrets closely, but Harry Styles reportedly appears in a post-credit scene of Eternals, opening on Friday from Oscar-winning Nomadland director Chloé Zhao. The “Watermelon Sugar” singer is believed to be playing Eros, whose superpower is an ability to stimulate the pleasure centers of the brains of people within 25 feet of himself. I don’t anticipate he’ll have a problem getting into character.

Styles (his actual God-given surname!) is going Hollywood, and I mean that in the best way possible. He’s also expertly cast in the film adaptation of the beautiful-yet-tortured Bethan Roberts novel My Policeman, as the titular British cop with whom people of all genders and sexualities (including The Crown’s Emma Corrin) fall wildly in love. And as most sentient humans know, Styles will also star opposite Florence Pugh in the 1950s-era psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling, directed by his girlfriend, Olivia Wilde, and slated for release in September 2022.

Anticipation is running high, and the big question is mounting: Can Harry Styles act? I undertook the arduous assignment of analyzing various clips of Styles in thespian mode (okay, something I’d do on a recreational basis anyway) for answers. Read on for a non-comprehensive investigation.

Dunkirk (2017)

I’m ashamed to say I scarcely registered Styles’s feature-film debut when I accompanied my husband to see Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic in theaters. But upon further review, Styles is in this highly stressful movie a fair bit. As Alex, a fiery soldier stranded on Dunkirk Beach, his role feels small yet significant: He has more than 30 lines in a film without much dialogue, and Alex is tasked with sussing out the intentions of possibly shady soldiers while repeatedly escaping death by drowning. Styles is adept at peering pensively at the horizon and nails his casually suspicious first line—“What’s wrong with your friend?”—with a mouth stuffed with toast and jam.

Various critics agreed, with USA Today saying Harry brought “a surprising amount of grit and pathos.” Still, whether soaking wet, soiled, or basking in the sunlight of a train home (spoiler: Alex survives!), the camera loves him. As the AP noted, Styles “might just have another viable career option.”

Saturday Night Live (2019)

There are few showbiz trials by fire like giving the opening monologue at SNL. Styles had delivered a frankly hilarious impersonation of Mick Jagger as a 2017 musical guest with One Direction; that amuse-bouche boded well for his ability to carry the legendary late-night show as both host and musical guest during the Fine Line promotional tour two years later. Accustomed to MSG and the O2, Styles made SNL feel like an intimate piano bar, cracking jokes about Simon Cowell hatching One Direction from a test tube. He was sly, dry, self-effacing, and preternaturally comfortable in his own skin. Can Harry Styles play a caricature of himself? With aplomb!

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