Gordon-Levitt has said that he made a conscious decision to "be in good movies" after returning to acting. His films include 2001's drama Manic, which was set in a mental institution, Mysterious Skin (2004), in which he played a gay prostitute and child sexual abuse victim, and Brick (2005), a modern-day film noir set at a high school, in which he had the lead role of Brendan Frye, a teen who becomes involved in an underground drug ring while investigating a murder. Brick received positive reviews, with The Minnesota Daily's critic commenting that Gordon-Levitt played the character "beautifully", "true to film's style", "unfeeling but not disenchanted", and "sexy in the most ambiguous way. " Another reviewer described the performance as "astounding". He also starred opposite Steve Sandvoss as a young judgmental missionary in Latter Days (2003), a film that centers on a sexually repressed Mormon missionary (Sandvoss) who falls for his gay neighbor. He had roles in Havoc and Shadowboxer.
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