I love actors who never seem as if they are going out of their way to act. Not out of laziness, but just out of the fact that their own characters are as compelling as anything a screenwriter can cook up for them to pretend to be.

I also love when one of these compelling characters also happens to be adorable and accented. Thus, the film catalog of Gael García Bernal is highly appealing to me. He manages to play the same cute, bashful guy in every single movie I've seen him in (except for The King—he kills people in The King) and every time he releases a new one, I just find a reason to love him more.

Gael, with a dreamy light complexion and green eyes, has played a diverse array of characters without ever ceasing to play himself. He's been himself as a cute, pot-smoking college student with a latent attraction to a cute, pot-smoking best friend (Y Tu Mamá También). He's been himself as a drug-addicted crossdresser (La Mala Educación). He's been himself as an immoral priest (El Crimen del Padre Amaro). He's been himself as the tragic third party in a weird psychosexual love triangle (Dot the I). He's been himself as an adorable, fuzzy-ear-wearing dreamer who charms stuffed horses (The Science of Sleep). He's been himself as a drunk-driving dumbass (Babel). Gael García Bernal has even managed to play himself while playing Che Guevara (Diarios de Motocicleta.)

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And, wouldn't you know, he never loses himself in the three languages he's spoken throughout his short but illustrious film career. So basically, he's just one of those guys. Not lazy, just utterly likeable, and capable of eliciting a response similar to that of little girls at a Backstreet Boys concert. And this is all without being much taller than five feet six.

Between bear ears and priest's robes, Julia Roberts face and sombreros—Gael makes me even prouder to be Mexican. recommended