When you mention Hugh Jackman to any discerning cinephile, or drop his name in a game of Dream Casting, people will sneer. "That man cannot act." At best, they'll say "Well, he's really good as Wolverine!" before complimenting his physique.
While he certainy is good as Wolverine, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with his rippling definition, he can act. It seems he can't pick a script to save his life, but he can act.
Let's go back, back, way back to 2006 when he had a year where he steered clear of romantic comedies, empty action flicks, and X-Men spin-offs. I don't know how the stars aligned for him, or how the good scripts made their way to the top, but he had two stellar films: The Prestige and The Fountain. He was very good in the former, though in the end The Prestige just demanded a lot of grimness and obsession (though he does a sly switch-up job with his accent). It was The Fountain that he really shined in. I remember thinking "Finally, he's going to get some good scripts now!" but then he went and made Deception. I have confidence he'll pull another hat trick (yes, I'll count 2006's Flushed Away-- he was really very cute in it) but for now, his best role is The Fountain.
His work in The Fountain is intense and understated, and a few scenes of screams and growls, he's hardly Wolverine. What's remarkable upon multiple viewings of this movie is that Jackman is not playing a particularly nice guy. Beneath all the love, longing, and obsession is a man unfailingly rational and paternalistic. He seems to almost humor her book and her whims, making cracks about her poor knowledge of science, and chiding her for doing silly things like sitting in the snow barefoot.