1) The Blind Side
Written and directed by John Lee Hancock, this 2009 film tells the stirring story of a young African American boy who is adopted by a rich white woman and her family who help him to achieve his full potential. This movie beautifully portrays the struggle of the bildungsroman character of Michael Oher, as he goes from being an abandoned juvenile without a stable home to a famous football player who is adopted by a loving family. Sandra Bullock plays a lead role as Leigh Anne Tuohy, the matriarch of the family. She received a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for her portrayal of a kind and tenacious woman whose actions change the lives of those around her. Based on a real life story of the football player Michael Oher, this story is a perfect reminder about the importance of being warm and largehearted.
2) Before Sunrise
Directed by Richard Linklater, this 1995 film is the first of the ‘Before’ trilogy. The prequel to ‘Before Sunset’ and ‘Before Midnight’, these films beautifully portray love from a unique point of view. Starring Ethan Hawke (of ‘Boyhood’ fame) and Julie Delpy, this film tells the story of two strangers who meet in a train and start conversing and shows us how this subsequently changes both their lives forever. The flavor of this film lies in the witty, realistic yet whimsical dialogues, which not only reflect reality but also provide meaningful insight to it. While both the lead characters are in deep conversation while visiting landmarks in Vienna, the audience is mesmerized by the profundity and intrinsic honesty which renders their conversation a fascinating beauty. As far as love stories go, this is one of the most special films made in recent history.
Written and directed by Mike Mills, this 2010 rom com drama tells the poignant story of Oliver Fields played by Ewan McGregor, as he reels from the recent loss of his father after his death due to old age. Oliver reminisces about his father and the audience, through flashbacks, is shown how after his mother’s death, Oliver learns that his father is gay and is an active part of the homosexual community. This film beautifully captures the collapse of identity and sense of grief experienced by a young man after the death of a parent. Oliver struggles to find himself by forging a new romantic relationship with Anna, a french actress. The unconventional portrayal of their time together is also a shift from mainstream Hollywood romance. The bond between the dog and Oliver’s father is also very charming and equally heartbreaking as after his death the dog is as wounded as Oliver himself. The take on old age, sexual identity,relationships and childhood is what makes this film stand out.
4) Brokeback Mountain
Directed by Ang Lee, this 2005 film is hailed as a landmark in the history of American Cinema. Based on the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx, this heart warming tragedy tells the story of Ennis and Jack, played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, two men who fall in love with each other in 1993 America. This films deconstructs the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding homosexuality in a very orthodox and bigoted society. This film captures the agony experienced by millions, of being unable to be with the person you truly love due to the constraints of society. Also starring Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams, the longtime companions of both men, one is made to experience the trauma of all characters as they struggle to maintain dignity and composure in a world which is constantly oppressing them.
5) The King’s Speech
A 2010 historical directed by Tom Hooper, this movie is based on the real life story of King George VI and the trials ad tribulations experienced by him as he struggles to overcome a stammer. This fascinating film, though fairly simplistic in its premise, is special because of the direction, cinematography and outstanding acting by Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush. This story can warm the cockles of the heart of anyone who has ever had to conquer a personal flaw in the face of great pressure from the outside world. The realistic portrayal of a well meaning King who greatly lacks confidence is very relatable and Colin Firth has the audience rooting for him and hoping for his success. The non contrite and honest treatment of the war with one’s inadequacies is what makes this film truly memorable.