Feel good movies
We are big movie fans and although we have our favourite directors, the truth is we like to investigate. As well as revisiting classic movies and digging deeper into contemporary indie films or a long session watching Oscar or Golden Globe nominees… whatever the case may be, going to the cinema or enjoying a movie at home brings us pleasure and it’s something we do practically every day. That’s why, on this occasion, we are going to recommend some of those films that lift our spirits:
PLAY by Anthony Marciano
We recently watched this film and we loved it. It was released last year and it’s the French director Anthony Marciano’s idea, with a vibe very much like “Boyhood”, but lighter, refreshing and fun.
The main character of this lovely story is Max, who for 25 years records the most significant moments in his life. From the first time he fell in love, the first time he got drunk, his relationship with his parents and many highlights, like his Erasmus year in Barcelona, with his lifelong friends. If we put it like that, it may seem like a simple premise, possibly even a presumptuous one but nothing could be further than the truth. Anthony Marciano is able to make a cast of great young actors play the main characters throughout the different stages of their lives as if they were members of a real documentary. Because the set up – maybe until the very last scene – not only threads together the different storylines that take place over this long period of time but manages to do so in a tone that is both tongue in cheek – we laughed a lot – and moving, and one that we are sure you will relate to. Because even if you haven’t experienced the same things as Max has… Marciano manages to connect us with our childhood, our adolescence and those wonder years in an extraordinary way… full of firsts, where technology had barely made an appearance and subsequently hadn’t perverted us, and our innocence was the cherry on the cake. That’s why “PLAY” is both an epiphany and an ode to the nostalgia that many of us have left behind.
By the way, the soundtrack is also very much worth it, thanks to numbers such as Hey There Delilah by Plain White T’s, Ironic by Alanis Morisette, The Gambler by M83 or Where is my mind by The Pixies.
Lady Bird by Greta Gerwig
After filming “Frances Ha”, which we loved, it’s now the turn of her new film: “Lady Bird” which had both the critics and the audience equally fall in love with it. And it is also the first film in which the actress receives the sole credit as the screenwriter and the director, as in previous films she worked hand in hand with Joe Swanberg and Noah Baumbach. What is clear is that Greta’s gaze is unique, as is her way of narrating and interpreting storylines that are unique but that you can also make your own… In this case, the main character is Christine McPherson, a final year student at a Catholic school, who prefers to be called Lady Bird, a name with which she feels identified. And the story narrates the different teenage situations which many of us have faced, although they may not be literally the same. From her unusual relationship with her mother, those first kisses…, the parties and graduation ceremonies, the access to university exams, the exaltation of friendships, concerns about our body image and how to show our true personality, etc.. They are all normal subjects, and you may think you’ve seen this all before but you haven’t, because Gerwig manages to treat these subjects in an unconventional way, partly thanks to an excellent script full of great dialogues produced by this lady from California.
“Whoever spoke of hedonism in California has never spent Christmas in Sacramento.”
Little Miss Sunshine by Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton
We loved this film when we watched it and whenever we have watched it again, we’ve felt the same. It improves with age and it always leaves you with a great feeling. This dynamic comedy breaks away from the norm and has great hilarious moments thanks to the flawless interpretations of each of the members of the surrealist Hoover family, made up of the grandfather who decides to take drugs now that he is in the final stage of his life, the father who has created a course on how to be successful and not be a loser that only brings him frustration and disrepute both in and out of his own home the mother who juggles her life while her boredom becomes more apparent with every step, the uncle (her brother) who goes to live with them after trying to commit suicide when he was dumped by his boyfriend, the teenage son who reads Nietzsche and doesn’t speak, but who communicates through a notepad and the queen of this story: Olive, the youngest daughter who isn’t an evident beauty but has a great dream which is to win one of those insulting beauty pageants that reward the prettiest girls. Having said this, the plot revolves around the madness involved in going to one of those events known as “Little Miss Sunshine” that the little girl has been selected to participate in… with a rundown yellow van in which the six family members will live the most bizarre events. The best bit is, besides the laughs, the lessons that the film gives us through the different microstories. Gentle, brave, epic and a lot of fun.
“The real loser isn’t the person who doesn’t win. The real loser is he who is so scared of not winning that he doesn’t even try.”
Jojo Rabbit by Taika Waititi
“Jojo Rabbit” is one of those complete films, that not only moves and captivates you, but also juggles drama and humour, black and white, ingeniously in a matter of seconds. This delicious ending is based loosely on the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens (Ed. Espasa) that narrates the story of a young solitary German ten year old boy who belongs to the Hitler Youth, who considers himself a real Nazi and that sees his life turned upside down when, one day, he discovers someone who he should supposedly flee from and hate (and we’ll stop there, we don’t want spoilers!). The most surreal part of this plot is that his imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler, who trains the young Jojo in that blind Nazism, in which the latter firmly believes in spite of his parents…
“Let me give you some good advice. BE the rabbit. The humble rabbit can outsmart all his enemies. He is brave, crafty and strong. Be the rabbit.”
Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson
The director of “The Tenenbaums”, Life Aquatic” or “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” directs this film set on an island on the coast of New England which revolves around the story of a boy (a boy scout) and a twelve year old girl that fall in love in the summer of 1965 and who decide to run away to the wild unknown just to be together. Their escape leads to a great search party, in which the chief of police, the girls family and all the scout troops get involved. An affectionate, exciting and enjoyable story between two misfits, that suffer the rejection of their colleagues and the lack of understanding from their families (a recurring profile in most of the American director’s filmography) and that involves a moral that leaves a great taste and a knowing smile.
“History proves it: all of humankind makes mistakes.”
(*) Cover photo by Pexels.