Rage is a feeling that everyone experiences at one point or another. An overwhelming feeling of anger and indescribable emotion leads people to have a freakout; whether silent or explosive. In film, rage is captured in many different ways, and through that, iconic scenes are born. Characters face some form of disappointment or tragedy, and they unleash what they’re harboring, usually on other characters, or in a private room.
When this happens, all the audience can do is really just sit and watch the character lose it, fold into themselves, and unleash what they’re going through before they either figure it out, or let the emotion consume them. Silent freakouts are also great, as you see the character try to keep it together, but clearly, they’re about to burst and lose it all. Rage in movies, especially female rage, is celebrated, and it’s never a bad scene to watch in intense movies, especially when it feels much needed. Let’s take a look at fifteen rage-filled freakouts in film.
15 Andrew Garfield – The Social Network (2010)
This scene is one that put Andrew Garfield on the map, and while it’s gotten the meme treatment, it portrays being so angry at someone that you just lose it. At this point in the movie, Eduardo and Mark have essentially grown apart, and when Eduardo finds out that his share has shrunken down to only 0.03%, he becomes enraged.
He storms into the building, and after Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) makes a comment about Zuckerberg being wired in, Eduardo takes his keyboard and completely smashes it. One of the best quotes that come from this rage-filled scene is when Eduardo shouts, “Sorry, my Prada’s at the cleaners along with my hoodie and my f*ck you flip-flops! You pretentious douchebag!” Garfield will continue his amazing career, but nothing compares to his portrayal of Eduardo Saverin in this scene.
14 LaKeith Stanfield – Get Out (2017)
This freakout is a mixture of silence and panic, as people are gathered at the Armitage’s home for their annual party, and from the jump, Chris is on edge. While the party is in full swing, Chris talks to multiple different people, and the vibe he gets from the older white people is very strange and off-putting. Chris is relieved when he meets Logan King (LaKeith Stanfield), the only other Black man at the party, but the relief doesn’t last long as Logan also acts very strange and formal.
It isn’t until Chris tries to take a secret picture of Logan that he snaps out of it, blinking rapidly as his nose starts to bleed, and within a second, he’s his regular self. Chris is stunned as Logan turns to him and tells him over and over again to get out, to leave this place, and never come back. This freakout is brief but does its job, as the audience and Chris are both left with feeling off-put and confused as to what just happened.
13 Florence Pugh – Midsommar (2019)
Ari Aster is a mastermind when it comes to horror movies that stick with you long after you watch it, and will give you bad goosebumps as you experience the trauma the characters are going through. After a group of friends takes a trip to Sweden, things start to spiral out of control as each person is separated and put through different trials of sorts that end up killing just about everyone.
This particular freakout comes when Dani (Florence Pugh) is brought into a room of all women after witnessing Christian participating in a mating ritual after being drugged, and she falls to the floor, wailing. The women in the room fall together with her and start to mock her cries of anguish before they all start rocking back and forth, egging Dani’s panic attack even more. It’s a hard watch and overwhelming, but this freakout was long overdue and a great addition to this list.
12 Toni Collette – Hereditary (2018)
After the death of Charlie, things are tense and haunted for the family and how they grieve over the young girl, especially since her head was severed by a telephone pole. Annie (Toni Collette) is resentful towards Peter for what happened under his watch, and as the family starts to become divided and haunted by Charlie, things come to a head between son and mother at dinner.
Peter swears at Annie, and Annie immediately loses it, all of her emotions pouring out at once as she stands and screams at her son to never swear at her again, and that she deserves respect as his mother. Toni Collette deserves an Oscar nomination as well as an award for this role, but she was sadly snubbed.
11 Dominique Swain – Lolita (1997)
Lolita is a very depressing and eye-opening film about the danger of predators being around children so often, and the world not knowing it. This rage scene comes when Lolita (Dominique Swain), the young girl who was courted and forced into a sexual relationship with the middle-aged man who married her mother, loses it during a fight. Throughout the film, it’s a hard watch as Humbert falls for the young girl and becomes obsessed with her, marrying her mother for no other reason than to be close to the 14-year-old.
Lolita’s rage is explosive, and rightfully so, as she unleashes on Humbert, not only on their relationship but for also how he killed her mother. Lolita is certainly not a movie for everyone, but it gives voice to victims that go through this same thing, gaining mixed criticism for the content shown.
10 Gordy – Nope (2022)
The scene in which Gordy the monkey loses control and attacks the crew of the fictional show that Jupe starred in as a kid, is heart-stopping and grotesque. You watch in silent horror as Gordy attacks the set, the people, and downright creates a bloodbath out of the crew. The scene fades in and out, so you’re not sure what you’re going to see next, Gordy jumping from person to person to beat and attack, and it’s startling as this scene comes out of nowhere.
Nope is the latest of Jordan Peele’s masterful mind, and the background we get of Jupe and Gordy is important but also traumatizing, as Gordy releases all of his rage on a character on the show. If you have a fear of monkeys, this scene certainly didn’t help you get over it, and if anything, made it worse.
9 Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons – Whiplash (2014)
In this psychological film that focuses on the abuse and emotional damage that a professor at a fictional music conservatory dishes out to his students, you’ll be wishing you never have the chance to anger J. K. Simmons. Andrew (Miles Teller) is a first-year student and hopes to become one of the best jazz drummers to follow in the footsteps of his idol, and to do that, he must learn under Terence Fletcher.
Fletcher is manipulative and abusive, and while there are several freakout moments in this movie, the one that stands out is when Fletcher throws a chair at Andrew because he can’t match the tempo. Fletcher then goes on to slap Andrew multiple times before Andrew can get it right, and it’s a hard watch, but Teller and Simmons’ performances are incredible.
8 Logan Lerman – Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
The silent freakout that Charlie (Logan Lerman) goes through towards the end of the movie is a long time coming, and a hard watch as you see him finally let all of his emotions out. Charlie is a very damaged character who took his childhood trauma of being sexually abused by his aunt and stuffed it way down, and didn’t tell anyone it happened, especially after she died. Toward the end of the movie, when Patrick and Sam move away for college, and he’s by himself, Charlie lets his emotions out and has a breakdown.
He tries to calm himself down, but it doesn’t help, and this scene is very tense as you can feel what Charlie is going through at that moment. It’s a relief when he calls his sister, but you’ll be on the edge of your seat as you wait to see if the police get there in time. Charlie’s freakout isn’t loud and dramatic, but that’s what makes it more impactful and why it’s included on this list.
7 Rei Hance – The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Blair Witch Project has been hailed as one of the best found-footage horror movies, and the marketing alone in 1999 takes the cake. When the film was released and people lined up at midnight to watch this grossly low-budget film, they were told that the people featured in this film were either dead or missing, thus creating the idea that this was actual found footage.
This quiet freakout moment comes towards the end of the film when Heather (Rei Hance) focuses the camera on her face, tears in her eyes, and she apologizes for getting them into this situation. It’s assumed that she knows that she’s not going to make it out of the woods, neither Josh nor Mike, and the shake in Heather’s voice is incredibly real and haunting. There’s an open ending to this movie, but it’s not hard to picture what happens to the trio as Mike is standing ominously in the corner and Heather is jumped by an unseen force, thus cutting out the feed from the camera and cutting the black.
6 Chadwick Boseman – 42 (2013)
Chadwick Boseman was gaining more recognition by the time 42 was released, and his portrayal of Jackie Robinson solidified that he was a star, and he was here to stay. 42 delves into what famed baseball player Jackie Robinson went through in the ’40s and ’50s, and the racism and prejudice shown in this film are important but hard to watch. Robinson prevailed, but throughout the film, it delves deep into the strife and pain he experienced, struggling to overcome it to be one of the best players, ever.
In this freakout scene, Robinson rushes off the field and down to the tunnels that concealed him from the audience and other players as he lets it all fly and destroys his baseball bat. You can feel his anger through the screen, and imagining going through something of that level is enough to make you understand why this happened.
5 Hugh Jackman – Prisoners (2013)
A parent’s worst nightmare happens in this intense thriller, where two young girls are abducted on Thanksgiving and the police have trouble finding them. A father, Keller (Hugh Jackman), decides to take the investigation in his own hands and abducts the number one suspect that the police released since he had an intellectual disability. There’s plenty of rage in this movie, and rightfully so, as Jackman portrays a father who would do anything to get his daughter back, no matter the cost.
Keller brings Alex (Paul Dano) to an abandoned building that he owns and keeps him there to torture information out of him, with the other father, Franklin (Terrance Howard). Jackman is terrifying as he screams at Alex to tell him something of use, and it’s a very real and intensity-filled scene as you wait to see who took the kids.
4 Adam Driver – Marriage Story (2019)
Even though this scene has been made into a meme ever since Marriage Story was released in 2019, Adam Driver still deserves credit for the rage he presented in this scene. Nicole and Charlie are going through one of the hardest things a couple can go through, divorce. As they try to do the best thing for each other and their young son, Henry, things quickly become tense as lawyers are brought in and money is flushed down the drain.
During a tense argument, Nicole and Charlie get into it as they start to scream at each other and dig up things from the past to throw in each other’s faces. It’s not until Charlie gets in Nicole’s face and shouts, “Every day I wake up and wish you were dead!” that the argument comes to a head, and he breaks down crying. Nicole is forced to console him as he gets on his knees and hugs her, and the screaming match seems very real and off-putting, Johannson and Driver are downright electric together.
3 Viola Davis – Fences (2016)
Viola Davis is one of the best actresses of our generation, and her roster of acting credits and her versatility are outstanding. Before there was a film adaptation of Fences, it was a play and Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and most of the cast were in the original stage production of it. When the movie came to be, you can be grateful that Davis returned to reprise her role as Rose Lee Maxon, because truly, no other actor could have conveyed the emotions she displayed in this film.
This scene comes after Troy tells Rose that he’s had an affair with another woman, and that he got her pregnant. He tries to make it about himself and say that it’s hard to admit that he’s not going anywhere in life, but Rose shuts him down and delivers a beautiful and raw monologue about what she has felt for the past 18 years.
2 Paul Dano – Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Little Miss Sunshine is a tale of family issues and living your life to the fullest extent, even when the odds are stacked against you. This freakout comes in the middle of the road trip that the family is taking in order to make it to the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, and Dwayne (Paul Dano) figures out that he’s colorblind. Before this scene, Dwayne was silent the entire time, opting not to speak until he achieved his goal of becoming a pilot, and the family didn’t expect much from him throughout this long trip.
However, as Olive is flipping through a book that has a colorblind assessment, the big reveal is that Dwayne cannot become a pilot. Richard pulls the van over, and Dwayne goes running down the side of a steep hill, where he then lets it all out as he screams, his voice raw. It’s an emotional scene, but he’s comforted by Olive as she hugs him, and the road trip is back on.
1 Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler (2014)
In this high-intensity psychological thriller that exploits the work of “stringers”, freelance photographers that captureshorrific crashes and other disasters and sells the footage to news stations, Jake Gyllenhaal portrays Lou Bloom, who’s coming apart at the seams. Throughout the movie, it’s very obvious that Lou is barely holding himself together as he hunts for work and videos terrible things in order to make money.
This freakout comes, and it’s not entirely surprising, as he looks at himself in the mirror and absolutely loses it. He grips the glass and screams at himself before slamming his fist into the reflective surface and shattering it. It’s startling as he calmly closes the mirror and then walks away, giving more insight into what’s going on in his head and how unglued he’s becoming.
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