Why Do People Hate Joel Edgerton?

Joel Edgerton is an Australian actor, writer, director and producer who has starred in high-profile films such as Zero Dark Thirty, The Great Gatsby, and Loving. While Edgerton has proven his acting chops over the years, he seems to be a rather divisive figure among audiences.

Some people greatly admire his talent and versatility as a performer, while others seem to really dislike him for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. In this article, we’ll explore some of the potential reasons why Joel Edgerton rubs certain people the wrong way.

Why Do Some Viewers Dislike His Acting?

One of the most common criticisms leveled at Joel Edgerton is that he lacks charisma and stage presence as an actor. Some viewers find his performances rather flat and uninspired:

lacks emotional range

Some feel that Edgerton delivers most of his roles in a very understated, deadpan manner without much variation. They argue he struggles to tap into a wide emotional range and express nuanced feelings through his acting.

Characters lack magnetism

Relatedly, some argue Edgerton’s on-screen persona lacks magnetism, gravitas, and star power. His characters don’t necessarily leap off the screen or grip the audience’s attention. This makes him adept at playing everyday men, but less suited for more magnetic leading man roles.

Accent can be distracting

Edgerton’s thick Australian accent is sometimes criticized as distracting or incongruous, especially when he plays American characters. For some audiences, the clashing accent prevents them from fully investing in the character.

lacks leading man looks

Edgerton’s ordinary, everyman appearance causes some to argue he lacks traditional leading man charisma and good looks. With his receding hairline and stocky build, he doesn’t fit the typical mold of a mainstream Hollywood star.

Doesn’t have much on-screen chemistry

Some argue Edgerton fails to have much sizzling on-screen chemistry with his co-stars, making his romantic roles less than convincing. The emotional connection just isn’t always there for audiences.

Why Do Some Dislike His Writing and Directing?

Beyond his acting, Joel Edgerton has also gotten some flak for his work as a screenwriter and director:

Writing is uneven

When Edgerton writes his own films, like The Gift or Boy Erased, some critics have accused his writing of being flawed or uneven. The plotting and dialogue don’t always work seamlessly.

Directing style lacks flair

As a director, Edgerton has a subdued, workmanlike style that some detractors consider devoid of any unique flair or vision. His directing fails to add much artistic style.

Work is pretentious or preachy

Some dislike the pretentious or preachy tone his films as a writer/director can take on, being overly melodramatic or pushing an agenda too hard. They are not as subtle or nuanced as intended.

Themes lack originality

Thematically, Edgerton’s original works tend to cover familiar ground like redemption, overcoming prejudice, and truth. Critics say he lacks more unique thematic obsessions as an auteur.

Relies too much on cliches

Relatedly, some argue his original films rely too heavily on cliched writing and predictable story beats rather than breaking new ground. The writing play too safe.

Why Do Some Dislike His Film Choices?

Apart from his skills as an actor, writer and director, some audience members simply dislike the types of films Edgerton chooses to appear in:

Too many dark, gritty films

A number of Edgerton’s films like Zero Dark Thirty, Felon, and Animal Kingdom have grim, violent, dark subject matter. For those who prefer lighter fare, his filmography has too much darkness.

Over-reliance on macho roles

Likewise, Edgerton has played a string of hyper-masculine roles like warriors, criminals, and tough guys. Some find him too one-note and think he overplays the gritty macho man card.

Lack of variety in genres

Most of Edgerton’s films fall squarely in the drama, thriller, or crime genre without much variety. Some audiences wish he would branch out into comedy, romance, or family films for a change of pace.

Too many supporting roles

Despite his talent, many of Edgerton’s highest profile roles have been supporting turns, not leads. Some think he lacks the status to headline major blockbusters and carries more films in support.

Projects lack commercial appeal

Lastly, the independent films Edgerton writes, directs, and stars in himself tend to be lower budget and more arthouse than mainstream. Some perceive him as being pretentious or intentionally non-commercial, even though he takes on the occasional blockbuster.

Positive Qualities Audiences Appreciate

However, it’s not all negative when it comes to perceptions of Joel Edgerton. There are plenty of qualities that his fans and defenders appreciate about him:

Versatile acting skills

When given the right role, Edgerton has repeatedly proven he has serious acting chops, transforming himself physically and emotionally for his roles.

Intelligent filmmaker

As a writer and director, Edgerton is seen as an intelligent filmmaker willing to tackle complex themes of humanity, even if he’s still developing his craft.

Unconventional leading man

In an industry of cookie-cutter leading men, some find Edgerton’s unconventional looks and gritty demeanor to be a refreshing change of pace.

Skilled at accents

While accents can be a liability, most acknowledge Edgerton is skilled at adapting his accent and vocal patterns to different roles quite convincingly.

Reliable character actor

He may lack traditional leading man magnetism, but Edgerton is a talented and reliable character actor able to disappear into roles.

Indie spirit

Edgerton shows an indie spirit in his original films, willing to tackle topics or themes that mainstream Hollywood shies away from.

So in the end, perceptions on Joel Edgerton seem to be quite split. While he has proven his ability in roles that fit his strengths, he still rubs some audience members the wrong way for a variety of reasons. But over time, Edgerton may continue honing his craft and finding projects that best tap into his talents as both an actor and filmmaker.


In summary, Joel Edgerton seems to elicit a polarizing response from audiences for a variety of reasons. Some perceive him as a bland actor lacking magnetism and emotional depth in his performances. His writing and directing draw criticism for being flawed, uneven and pretentious.

His film choices tend to run dark and gritty, playing too many tough guy supporting roles rather than leading men. However, Edgerton has also shown he can deliver excellent transformative performances in the right roles. His fans appreciate his unconventional qualities and willingness to take risks.

While not everyone appreciates his low-key intensity and independent spirit, Edgerton continues carving out an eclectic career tackling thought-provoking themes and stories. His acting talent is undeniable even if his overall screen presence and choices rub some viewers the wrong way.

Frequently Asked Questions About Joel Edgerton Backlash

Here are some FAQs

Why do some people think Joel Edgerton can’t act?

Some perceive Edgerton as a wooden, uncharismatic actor lacking emotional range. His low-key style and mumbling delivery turns off viewers looking for bigger, more dynamic performances.

What accents does Joel Edgerton use in his films?

Edgerton uses a variety of accents depending on the role – his native Australian accent in some films, American accents in movies like Zero Dark Thirty, British accents in films like Exodus. This leads to criticism when the accent sounds off.

Why don’t some critics like Joel Edgerton’s directing?

As a director, some critics claim Edgerton lacks a compelling visual style or deeper thematic vision. His writing can be uneven and directing unremarkable in films he helms himself.

What is Joel Edgerton’s biggest box office movie?

Edgerton’s biggest box office hit to date is likely 2018’s Red Sparrow, which grossed over $100 million internationally. But many of his films are smaller indies like The Gift or Boy Erased.

Does Joel Edgerton sing country music?

No – that is Joel’s brother Nash Edgerton who has released country music albums. Joel focuses solely on acting, writing, and directing films.

What is Joel Edgerton’s background?

Edgerton was born in Blacktown, New South Wales in Australia in 1974. He grew up in Dural with his family and originally pursued swimming before discovering acting in his 20s. He studied at Nepean Drama School.

Is Joel Edgerton related to director Nash Edgerton?

Yes, Nash Edgerton is Joel’s older brother. They often collaborate, with Nash editing or providing stunt coordination on many of Joel’s films as a director.

What was Joel Edgerton’s breakout role?

Most agree Edgerton’s breakout role was as Owen Lars in the Star Wars prequels, which raised his international profile starting in 2002. His acclaimed turn in Animal Kingdom also earned him wider notice.

Why does Joel Edgerton take so many darker roles?

Edgerton seems drawn to grittier, more complex roles in darker films that allow him to transform and fully inhabit a character. Lighter fare doesn’t tend to attract him as much.

Is Joel Edgerton married?

Yes, Edgerton married fashion designer Christine Centenera in 2013. They prefer to keep their personal life very private out of the public eye.

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