This film is hauntingly gorgeous. The relationship between Alma and Elizabeth is so nuanced and slow-building and is explored in a truly fascinating way, not just with the dialogue, setting and acting, but also with the experimental use of the camera and nontraditional use of time. The film delves into questions of identity, subjectivity, and the fragility of the "persona" in a fascinating and engaging way.
A fascinating look at the subjectivity of the human experience, as the film explores the differing flashbacks of people who experienced the exact same event. The film questions what is "true" and the objectivity of the camera through these flashbacks, and while it is not one of my favorite films narrative-wise, I think it does something really interesting and innovative around these themes of perspective and justice.
1979 Soviet Union
A really engaging and thought-provoking look at human desires, obsessions, family, and hope. It explores the spirituality of the Other and the spiritual within in a really poetic and poignant way. The most interesting part of this film, for me, was the story of the Stalker's daughter, named Monkey. Her story, and what is said and unsaid, was what I found to be truly powerful about the film.
A compelling look at the machinery and inhumanity of the cinema industry. One of my personal favorites, I think it does a really great job of critiquing the Cinecitta type of cinema around which the narrative revolves. The cinematography along with the acting (Anna Magnani!), really pull together a poignant story of a girl trying to make it in the entertainment industry and being subjected to the exploitative nature of the business.
2020 United Kingdom
While it pains me to say this about any film graced with Bill Nighy, I personally felt this movie was a bit too much of a caricature to really connect with. A lot of the colors and sets were aesthetically appealing, but for me (and perhaps I am too much of an Austen fan), it did not feel genuine to the novel. I think that taking artistic liberties in adaptations can be really wonderful and interesting, but in this case, it felt just a little too much of a cartoon without a payoff.
This film is just wonderful. It was really impactful, but it also treated the characters with a certain gentleness and compassion that was so great to see. The two leads are great, and the story they weave is truly touching. A nuanced and important look at immigration, family, substance abuse, and love.
1962 Soviet Union
This is Tarkovsky's first feature film, and it may be my personal favorite of his. Ivan's story is incredibly impactful, told through great acting and beautiful camerawork. A really important look at the role/experience of child soldiers and the inescapability of war.
2018 United Kingdom
While the story is fast-paced and engaging, it is also very thoughtful. The show is filled not only with action but also with reflection, which I find refreshing for a series of the genre. A very interesting study on a veteran's return from war.
In the Mood for Love
2000 Hong Kong, China
An absolutely gorgeous film. The longing between the two characters combined with the beautiful camerawork make this into a truly impactful piece. It really sticks with you. Just a wonderful viewing experience.
This film is very well-paced with genuine performances from all the main actors. The characters are really treated with care, making this a thoughtful and compassionate piece. The story feels natural, but not cliche, in this lovely film.
A really fun film, and maybe my favorite Studio Ghibli. The visuals are really beautiful making for a lovely experience. It is lighthearted but also thoughtful and meaningful. A delight to watch.
Blow Up My Town
Despite being only 13 minutes, this film has a truly lasting impact. It's a really engaging, thought-provoking, and succinct look at the restricting role women are expected to perform.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
A really lovely look at the relationship between two women, the liberation they found through each other, and the restrictions they had to face apart. The beautiful cinematography along with the engaging acting make this a really wonderful and touching viewing experience.
2018 United Kingdom
A delightful series about a group of friends in 1990s Ireland. The acting between the main characters along with the funny and engaging script make this show a must-watch. It is able to be lighthearted, but it also delves into politics and relationships in a very thoughtful, real, and important way.
2001 France, USA
A fascinating look at the image of the nostalgic Hollywood versus the harsh realities that actors can face as they follow their dreams. It's a very thought-provoking piece with spectacular acting and a really great script. A must-watch.
They Call Me Jeeg
This film approaches the "superhero" genre in a different way than is normally seen in mainstream cinema, making this a really refreshing watch. Often fun, but even melancholy, this film is both engaging with action but also thoughtful and sincere. With great acting, it's a must-watch.
A really beautiful and thoughtful film. The cinematography is rolling, relaxing, and quite lovely, and the relationships portrayed on-screen feel wistful and sentimental. The movie sort of put me in a trance and it was a really wonderful viewing experience.
Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
1975 Belgium, France
A wonderful film that has really stuck with me since I first watched it. The stationary camerawork along with the subtle yet incredibly important detailing make this film so smart and unforgettable. A classic from Akerman.
1997 France, USA
An imaginative film that plays with the subconscious, dreams, the psyche, and hallucinations in a really interesting and thrilling way. The story meanders in directions you don't expect it to, truly diving into the feeling of dreams/nightmares.
1966 Soviet Union
Although Tarkovsky often does slow, long shots in an engaging and often moving way, I personally felt this film dragged too long and was too disjointed to be very captivating. Some of the painting parts were really lovely, but overall, I didn't really connect with this film of his.
Pride & Prejudice
2005 France, United Kingdom, USA
Keira Knightley is wonderful as Lizzie Bennet, and she really carries this movie with a lot of spirit. The cinematography has some truly lovely moments, and the script stays witty and Austenian.
Four Weddings and a Funeral
1994 United Kingdom
The core cast of friends make this film a delightful and engaging watch. The film is both funny and emotional, and the use of time is unique without feeling forced. The chemistry between the group of friends (more-so than the sometimes tedious main love story) is what really makes this a fun and wonderful film.
2003 United Kingdom, USA, France
A Christmas classic and one of my favorite rom-coms. The cast is great and the way the story weaves between characters is really enjoyable. All this along with a witty and sentimental script make this a delightful watch.
2010 United Kingdom, USA
This modern take on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson is a must-watch for any fan of the novels (or fan of mysteries... or fan of TV..). The script, camera, and acting combine into this smart show. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Sherlock and excels in his portrayal of the ever-complex detective. I personally find Martin Freeman's performance to be the most engaging as he is able to portray so many different emotions at once as the war veteran and doctor John Watson. These two performances, along with Andrew Scott as Moriarty, make this series so gripping.
Call Me by Your Name
2017 Italy, France, Brazil
Timothee Chalamet is incredibly engaging and impactful onscreen, and he gives my favorite performance of 2017. Chalamet's acting, along with some wonderful cinematography, definitely make this film worth a watch. With that being said, the age difference between the two leads feels too insurmountable (not to mention, inappropriate), and I was never really convinced of the great love/relationship between the two.
2007 United Kingdom, Ireland
Although it may not be factually accurate, as the film is based off just a couple of snippets from Austen's letters to her sister, this film is definitely an enjoyable watch. There is some lovely cinematography and acting, and accepting that much of the story is not super realistic, I would recommend checking out this film.
Bend It Like Beckham
2002 United Kingdom, Germany, USA
Definitely a classic film for soccer lovers. The film is really well-acted, and the believable chemistry between Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley make this film really enjoyable. The film has an energetic and witty script, I'd recommend checking it out.