Many years ago a man burst into the world of cinema, accompanied only by his charming looks and trustworthy face. Since then, he’s made a career out of playing the man that every heroine is so quick to trust.
But there is a darker side to the man known as Peter Sarsgaard. And that side is utilized in almost every major motion picture in which he so charmingly and trustworthily appears.
The phenomena is called “being Sarsgaarded”.
“Sarsgaarded” – Verb. To be lulled into a false sense of trust, only to be betrayed with 15 minutes left in the film.
Below is a trusty guide for you, dear readers, so that you may be more prepared than I among viewings of Peter Sarsgaard films, and so that we may never allow ourselves to be tricked by he, or is droopy-dog looking wife Maggie Gyllenhall (of the Gyllenhalls) again.
Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Peter plays John Lotter, the boyfriend of Chole Sevigney’s character. After discovering that Hilary Swank has been dressing as a man and is in fact Teena Brandon, a woman, the harmless boyfriend quickly beats and rapes Teena Brandon before eventually shooting her dead. Boom. Sarsgaarded.
The Skeleton Key (2005)
This time around our man plays “Luke Marshall”, a kind and friendly lawyer that Kate Hudson confides in after she suspects some serious foul-play at the home of the Louisiana couple she has been taking care of. She believes that the wife has put a curse on her husband and is now trying to kill her. After sleeping with Sarsgaard, Kate quickly comes to learn that he is not who he says he was, and he is in cahoots with the old woman to steal her mortality. He betrays her and eventually succeeds in allowing the old woman to take over her body. Boom. Sarsgaarded.
In the Jodie Foster “i can’t find my child” flick Flightplan, Sarsgaard provides us with a one/two punch. Coming out right after The Skeleton Key, Sarsgaard plays US Air Marshall Carson, whom, as Kate Hudson did, becomes the confidante of Jodie Foster after she believes her daughter is missing and no one will believe her. After some extensive investigating, she finally finds out the truth: that she, and us the audience, have once again been Sarsgaarded by his slight Southern Drawl. It turns out that Sarsgaard is the one who kidnapped her daughter in order to bring down Foster and blow up the plane because of her work in Aviation. We also learned that he killed her husband as well, which prompted the trip in the first place. Boom. Sarsgaarded.
Year of the Dog (2007)
Surely a harmless Molly Shannon Indie Comedy will not lead to the betrayal and heartbreak that we have felt film-after-film with our charming friend Pete. Wrong. Pete plays “Newt”, the friendly man from the Animal Shelter who Molly Shannon has a crush on after her dog is put down. They share a kiss and her crush grows. When she finally confesses her love to him…whoops…bam…he’s gay. Boom. Sarsgaarded Molly Shannon. You and all of us.
An Education (2009)
We are once again led down the path to Sarsgaard in the breakout hit, “An Education”. After falling in love with charming older man “David Goldman”, Carrie Mulligan’s 16-year-old “Jenny Mellor” gives up her studies and drops out of school. Sarsgaard, as “David Goldman” is extremely charming at first, but Mulligan soon finds out that he’s a con man and makes his money through schemes and the like. She’s still fine with this lifestyle and is actually enchanted by it. We as an audience feel we’ve dodged a bullet. It’s no secret he’s a conman. And it’s okay. It’s like Bonnie and Clyde! They love each other. But as we know, never trust a Sarsgaard. We were double conned and it turns out the conman is also married with a family and ends up breaking our girl Carrie Mulligan’s heart. Boom. Sarsgaard.
Green Lantern (2011)
I have to admit, I did not watch this heaping pile of cinematic garbage. But from the first 20 minutes that I could make it through I learned that Blake Lively is pretending to be a pilot and not a blow-up doll? Also we learned that Sarsgaard is nerdy and reclusive. But then he is recruited by the government and I assume that by the end he turns evil and enacts some kind of huge betrayal.
Now in this advanced day and age, we’ve moved past merely being tricked by Sarsgaard himself. There is a new phenomena called “Sarsgaard Adjacent”.
Sarsgaard Adjacent – Adjective. Being in a film with or sharing similar name structure to Peter Sarsgaard therefore rendering you a sneak who will only bring about betrayal.
Vera appeared in the horror film “Orphan” with Peter Sarsgaard and was betrayed by him when he wouldn’t believe her that the child that they had adopted was trying to kill her. He was eventually murdered by the Orphan girl, with Vera barely escaping with her life so she could in turn Sarsgaard George Clooney in the film “Up in the Air” when she doesn’t tell him that she is married with a family after they fall in love.
Alexander Skarsgard shares a name so close to Peter, he must be a betrayer. I don’t watch True Blood, but I assume he’s done a lot of weird, deceptive vampire shit, turned some hookers into vamps and generally fucked people over. But his real betrayal comes in the film remake, “Straw Dogs”, in which he plays Kate Bosworth’s charming old high-school boyfriend. Until he rapes her and tries to murder her and her husband with his bigoted band of locals. Boom. Another Kate been Sarsgaarded by Skarsgard. Double zing!