Nomadland [Film Review]

Nomadland isn’t the usual film I would go to watch, but snapping up Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Actress in the Oscars had me wanting to find out just how good this movie really was!


Summary

Following the life of a sixty-year old Nomad called Fern as she travels across the American West, Nomadland is a story of loss, exploration, strength and community. Life isn’t so grand but the road stretches further than anyone can imagine, and Fern meets so many like-minded souls along the way. But is it a journey of living or merely a journey of survival?

My Thoughts

Nomadland is one of those films that quietly sneaks up on you. There’s no action-packed drama, no clear-cut themes, no, well, plot I guess. One could argue that nothing much really happens. However, if anything I think that’s what makes this film so powerful.

I always find books and films really fascinating when they show life from the perspective of someone living a life so different to my own. We become so entranced by our own lives sometimes that we forget that not everyone lives in the same way. I’ll admit it – I’d never really considered the lives of Nomads before seeing this film. It’s easy to look in from the outside and question why someone would want to do such a thing, but this film really touched upon the motives of Nomads and the reasons why they chose this lifestyle for themselves, from grieving losses, to leaving the world of work behind, to embracing the minimalistic lifestyle.

The film felt like a documentary pooled with so many honest stories and, in a way, it was. The director sought out real-life Nomads to feature in the film and you can feel their authenticity through the screen – the close-up shots of their faces when sharing vulnerable moments makes for a very intimate atmosphere where you can truly connect to these people. Whilst their lives are so different, isn’t what we have at our core the same?

The more I watched the more I began to realise what was perhaps so attractive about the Nomad lifestyle – its sense of community. Everywhere they’d go, they’d meet someone along the road. Sometimes even the same person twice. It makes you think: Is community all that really matters? Do we need all the stuff we own? Does it amount to anything?

Paired with the beautiful music of Ludovico Einaudi – my favourite pianist – this film felt as immersive as it needed to be to drive home the feeling of pure freedom and weightlessness on the road. To me, the overall message was that there is never a goodbye, even when leaving a place; there is only a “see you down the road.” Connections and the people you meet – those are what last a lifetime, no matter where you go.

Have you seen Nomadland?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Let me know in the comments below!


Sound of Metal. [Film Review]

Sound of Metal may start with the crash of drums, the buzzing atmosphere of a concert jumping out of the room it inhabits, but this immersive experience of a film is much more than the sound that is or isn’t present; it is a meditation on what it means to truly embrace peace.


Following the life of Ruben, a heavy-metal drummer, Sound of Metal drills into the terrifying experience of losing the ability to hear. As Ruben shoves his way through the backdoor of the concert stage, falling into an alleyway, he enters a world so different than the one he inhabited only moments before. And he has to learn what it means to live in it.

Awarded Oscars for Best Film Editing and Best Sound, it is no surprise that this film utilises sound to its advantage to place the viewer within the character of Ruben, as our own eardrums tackle the high, piercing sound of his damaged hearing and the faint, bumbling commotion of a life he can’t quite hear, can’t quite pinpoint. It is extraordinarily uncomfortable, feeling his initial panic as my own, checking my ears once, twice, three times to remind myself that this is a story on a screen. But for many it isn’t.

I can’t begin to comprehend the life of someone losing their hearing, but this film pays a quietly powerful tribute to all those suffering. I didn’t know much going into it, and it’s clear that it’s all about the “sound of metal” as a drummer within a metal band, but as the viewer weaves in and out of the hearing world and the frazzled, uncomfortable sounds of a man isolated from it, “metal” becomes more than music; it becomes Ruben’s reliance. Stuck with the hope of a metal implant, he seeks a different kind of noise – artificial yet real, different yet life-saving.

From the initial confusion, to anger and frustration, to figuring out how to move forward… Ruben spends so much time searching for this metal solution for his physical impairment, not yet realising the true solution lies in his capability to sit in the stillness, the peace, the silence. His solution lies in a sad, weird, wonderful, heart-breaking sense of acceptance, aside from any kind of device.

Ending this film felt like ending an era – if that could ever be fathomable. Accumulating all these snapshots into Ruben’s life and his impact on those around him, it built up to a moment in time that felt like, rather than an ending, a beginning. Perhaps even a middle, more than anything. And yet it was perfect.

Cue the credits and the most beautiful song filtered out the speakers and you can’t help but feel all the pain repressed into the screen leak out in the subtle cries of a song – one that speaks the honest words of so many in a similar situation to Ruben. And you can’t help but be truly grateful – to be able to hear, to be able to truly experience the world.

Sound of Metal tells a story that is often heard but not truly understood. It made its impact – in so many ways – and I don’t think any words could do justice to the exceptional acting, editing, sound and production that went into making this a truly immersive experience.


Have you seen Sound of Metal?

Let me know what you thought below.

Us. [Film Review + Analysis]

I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of horror films, but Us is so different to your usual jump-scare-and-predictable-plot horror films. Written and directed by Jordan Peele, who is known initially for his comedy sketches, I knew it was a film I had to see – especially since I watched his first film Get Out last year and absolutely loved it.

Jordan Peele’s film writing is clever, intricate and draws upon the mundane aspects of life to produce something of psychological horror. Us was no exception. It follows the journey of a family who are on holiday, suddenly finding four figures in red standing outside their house late at night. It is only when they get closer, they realise they are exact replicas of themselves.

Peele explains in various interviews that the film was inspired by his own anxieties surrounding doppelgangers. He chooses striking colours and objects to take this everyday phenomenon into an unsettling piece of horrific action. Red outfits. Scissors as weapons. White rabbits. There are always symbolic objects and phrases in Peele’s films which he places intricately and intentionally throughout, only to reveal the greater meaning later on. For that reason, his films are brilliant for analysis. With so many interpretations up for grabs, I always love to sit back and have a think about what I got out of it. And I thought I’d share a little of that with all of you here!

*Spoilers ahead*

The main question many of us have at the end of a film as complex as Us is: What does the ending mean? I had no idea where the film would end up, despite my many guesses, but I certainly didn’t expect it to end up where it did. And that was definitely a good thing!

The overall concept of the film reveals the dichotomy between the living world and the Tethered, who live in underground corridors – two sides of a world that act in accordance with one another, yet only one half are aware of its strength. It is only by the end that we see the underground Tethered as puppets of the people above, falling into step behind them and copying what they do but with no understanding of why they’re doing it and therefore no meaning. An experiment gone wrong, still malfunctioning as time moves on.

One of my favourite scenes was near the end – the attack between Adelaide and her doppelganger “puppet”. It cleverly flicks between the past and the present – the influential dance routine and the present rage. It is like ballet reimagined. Whilst the weapon of the scissors throughout the film clearly represents a sense of duality (two parts making a whole, but that can’t be separated), I also noticed that the ballet move, as the legs snap together, also aligns with the motion of scissors in this scene. It is as if the characters themselves have inhabited the brutality of the scissors. The dance is no longer a dance but an unsettling attack waiting to happen.

Us wasn’t made just to scare, and I think that’s what makes a good horror film. Its interesting interactions between the living and the Tethered aren’t far off many societal differences in our current world; the notion of “them” and “us” can easily be read as subtle commentary on societal inequalities and “The Other” – the idea that we “fight” those we don’t understand.

I read an interesting article online that made a very good point: if “them” and “us” can do the same (since Adelaide and her underground shadow puppet make the same moves), what makes them any different? The only difference is that one has the autonomy to live it out. But why shouldn’t they both?

Us is an unsettling, thought-provoking, original creation and I think it deserves a lot more praise than it’s received. I can’t end this without making a small comment on the plot twist at the end: I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out sooner! Very cleverly executed, and I can’t wait to go back and watch it again, with added hindsight ready to pick up on even finer details.

Have you seen the film Us?

Or Jordan Peele’s former film Get Out?

Let me know in the comments below – always up for a film discussion!


Where The Wild Things Are [Film Review/Analysis]

A beautiful adaptation of the classic children’s book, Where The Wild Things Are follows the journey of a young boy named Max who feels out of place in the world. His sister is too busy with her friends to see his igloo creation. His mother is too busy on the phone to join in on his games. He feels alone.

That is until he enters the fantasy land where the wild things are – a world inside his head where he tries to make sense of the older figures in his life. The creatures there are angry, lonely and sad with no structure to their lives, and they need a king. And so Max becomes one.

Where the Wild Things Are isn’t what you expect it to be. Whilst it’s rated PG, I wouldn’t say it’s a kids film. It’s dark, laced with complex metaphors, and touches on a lot of deeper issues within Max’s life which would be overwhelming for any young audience member. But for an adult to watch, it’s refreshing to see the kid’s perspective. Max represents the misunderstood child who is trying to make sense of the world he lives in, who is often overlooked and pushed aside when adult problems surface.

Film Analysis

There are many moments in this film that can be unravelled like tape, especially since the monsters Max meets are representative of the people and struggles in his life. I found this film so interesting and inspiring that I can’t help but type out my thoughts on moments that really resonated with me or got me thinking about the world in a different way.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Max’s Family Dynamics

I think one of the most important pairs of characters in the film are Max and KW. I believe KW represents Max’s mother, and their interactions in the fantasy land of the monsters represents Max’s struggles to see eye to eye with his mother’s decisions and actions in his life.

There is a scene where KW has left for a while to spend time with Bob and Terry the owls (paralleling the way Max’s Mum leaves Max to spend time with friends), but has returned with them in tow.

Max asks: How do I make everyone okay?

A heart-breaking question with an equally heart-breaking response. Bob and Terry respond in squawks, since they are merely owls, and KW laughs in recognition. But Max can’t understand. The squawks of “adult language” distance Max from the true picture. He is reduced to the role of a passive child in a world where he feels very deeply the effects of adult life – that which he sees but does not quite understand and isn’t allowed to understand.

NW tells Max that Bob and Terry can come live with us too.

Max asks: What about Carol?

It is evident from the start that Carol is Max’s inner monster – the turmoil inside of him that feels isolated from the rest of the other monsters, who doesn’t understand why they do what they do, who feels angry and hurt and better when Max is around to take care of him (to acknowledge his own mental state) but not when Max fights him.

So, when Max asks about Carol he is in fact asking about himself. NW says she can like Bob and Terry whilst still liking Max, much like Max’s mother can spend time with her friends and Max too, but in reality, this doesn’t do much to comfort Max. There is no exclusivity to love and yet Max feels like an afterthought to Bob and Terry (to his Mum’s friends), as if he has been abandoned for another pursuit.

It is a particularly haunting reflection on the role of a child within complicated family dynamics and I loved how it was scripted and filmed with these soft moments of sensitivity that can quite easily be missed yet stop you enough to question its role in the wider picture.

The Monster Pile (And Dying Sun)

Another moment that particularly struck me was the monster pile that Max finds himself stuck within. Whilst it parallels Max getting stuck in the igloo at the start, this time he isn’t crying of fear but feeling comfort in those around him. Later on, when Carol’s anger is bubbling to the surface, Max becomes scared of Carol – of his own emotions – and attempts to create a secret room to shut out the parts of himself he doesn’t want to face. Some really beautiful yet painful words are spoken.

Carol says: I thought we were all going to sleep in a big pile but now you want a secret room and the sun is going to die.

This is arguably one of my favourite quotes from the film. It touches on the idea that has been laced throughout the film – that the sun will no longer be there someday, that the concept of hope and happiness and warmth in the distance will one day fizzle out. And this is finally tied into the role of the big pile – this family unit that keeps Max feeling whole, like he’s part of something, but that eventually is sectioned off into empty rooms and individual lives, much like Max feels is happening in his own life back at home. He feels himself drifting from his family and locking himself away in a secret room where he can only experience the wild emotions that dare to break down his walls. It is only when Carol speaks these words that we truly understand, as a viewer, that this is how Max has been feeling all along.

The Meaning of Max As A King

I think the role of the King is also particularly interesting and relevant to Max’s inner journey. Max takes on this role within the monsters’ lives from the very beginning in an attempt to formulate control. Whether this was intentional or not, this reminded me a lot of the globe in Max’s room at the start, where his Dad had written something about being the owner of the world. Like many kids, Max grows up with this quiet confidence that he can rule his own world, that he can achieve his dreams, but as he finds himself caught between the messiness of the adults in his life he realises being a King is, in many senses, meaningless. He doesn’t always have the control that he wants. And sometimes there is nothing he can do about it.

When Carol loses this desired control and his anger rises, there is a moment between Max and KW that I think is a beautiful parallelism to Max and his mother. Filmed and acted with a deep sense of care and sensitivity, the words that Max and his mother have been feeling but never said are finally spoken aloud.

Max: He doesn’t mean to be that way KW… he’s just scared.

KW: He just makes it hard. And it’s hard enough already.

Max: But he loves you. You’re his family.

KW: Yeah… it’s hard being a family.

And as the final scene of the film is shot, when Max’s mother embraces him, we have these words in the back of our minds as a viewer. There is nothing needed but their expressions and the words that are still hovering over their heads from the monster land. A subdued acceptance that things may not always be okay but they’re okay.


Where the Wild Things Are is truly a unique film in a myriad of different ways – so many opportunities to sit and reflect and analyse, if you enjoy diving as deep into the meaning as I do. It’s complex, and I think perhaps that can be off-putting for a lot of people, but it was truly amazing how the fantasy land of the monsters became such a real and raw representation of real life.

Overall, this film is entirely what you make of it. The deeper you dive into the parallels between the monsters and the people in Max’s life, the more you understand how his psyche is explained through the many interactions he has in the strange and wonderful world where the wild things are. It’s reflective, all-consuming and if you let it, makes you think. And the monsters are universal. Max finds his way back home, like we all do, when those wild things let loose inside. And he is free.

Photo Credit: Empire Online

Have you watched Where The Wild Things Are?

Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.


Little Women: Book vs Film [Spoiler Free Review]

Little Women is a book I’ve had on my shelf for a while, but let’s be honest, that’s hardly a surprise. With my ever increasing desire to buy more books, despite knowing I have way too many, I joined Goodreads last month and set myself a goal to read more books for pleasure this year. I’m already 3 books in which I’m very happy about! You can read my review of Small Great Things from last month here.

Is Little Women better as a book or as a film? 

This is a question we often ask ourselves when it comes to film adaptations, and I find that most of the time I’m either one extreme or the other – I either love it or hate it. Since we create an image of a book in our heads, it can be hard to accept what’s on the screen when it is not what we expected, but it’s definitely interesting regardless to see what other people experienced from the same words.

Here are my thoughts on both the book and the film…

 

Book Review

I found the beginning of Little Women hard to get into – this is likely because I’ve been reading more contemporary literature lately. The characters were described well but it seemed a little forced at the start, and it took a while for their personalities to really shine through in their actions. However, I found that the more I read, the more I enjoyed it. I ended up being surprised that I was excited to read more, even though I wasn’t entirely sure if I liked it yet.

I think there’s something about the book that is so homely and safe. There isn’t a fast-paced plot – it is simply the everyday life of a group of young girls and the activities and troubles they get up to. The opinions expressed in the book are really quite refreshing, especially Jo’s desire to be a man so she can fight as a soldier like her father, and her disinterest in getting married, despite it being the lady-like thing to do. I really resonated with the theme of love being more important than wealth, and that it is far better to care for others than be wrapped in your own selfishness – a lesson the girl’s mother taught them throughout the book. I think these messages are very applicable to modern life today, especially with how materialistic society has become.

I hope that, if anything, this book teaches us all to work on our vices, in the same way that the sisters self-developed throughout the book.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5

 

Film Review

At first, it felt very odd seeing the characters of Little Women across a screen. Their house in the film was a lot larger than the one I’d imagined inside my head, and after the first couple scenes I was thrown off, since it seemed like it was going to be set at the time of the sequel Good Wives throughout the entire film (which I hadn’t read!). However, the rest of the film moved effortlessly between the past and the present, both tales interwoven to create a beautiful dichotomy between childhood and the start of adult life. And I couldn’t help but love it.

I thought the choice of casting was excellent – each actor/actress portrayed their character perceptively. In the book, my favourites were Jo and Beth, and I felt the same after seeing the film too, which means they transferred the personalities over to the screen very accurately! I also thought the dresses were beautiful. It’s the kind of film that doesn’t quite meet historical expectations without a carefully designed set and costumes, but I thought it was very well executed.

Since I hadn’t read Good Wives, there were certain scenes that really took me by surprise (if you’ve seen it, I’m sure you’ll know which scene had me in tears), but I kind of liked that I knew the characters but I wasn’t sure of everything that would occur.

Little Women

 

Overall, I really enjoyed seeing Little Women on the screen and it’s up there as one of my favourite film adaptations alongside The Great Gatsby.

What did you think of Little Women – the book or the film?

Drop a comment below!

And let me know which character is your favourite!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Jojo Rabbit [Film Review]

*spoiler free*

A few days ago, I went to the cinema to see Jojo Rabbit. It’s one of those films where you don’t quite know what to expect, since it is a satire on World War 2. It’s strange yet funny, serious yet interesting all at once. I knew it was going to be a good film – I’d seen the reviews and I’d heard great things – but I actually enjoyed it even more than I expected.

Summary

The film follows a young boy named Jojo – a German and Nazi fanatic who is working towards becoming a soldier in World War 2. He unexpectedly comes across a Jewish girl in his attic, who his mother has been hiding, and is forced to confront all his beliefs. But not without a little help from his imaginary friend Hitler.

My Thoughts

Jojo Rabbit is one of those films that, without exceptional acting, falls very short of success, but every cast member was great. I thought the cast pulled off the right amount of plausibility and humour in their accents and expressions for the characters, and, despite the comedy, I also cared a lot about them. This made for a funny and light-hearted but also meaningful and emotional story. I was laughing one minute and I was crying the next, and I think the directors and producers did a wonderful job of making this work.

I really liked the idea of young Jojo having an imaginary figure of Hitler following him around as he made choices and decisions in his life. I think this fitted well with the typical childlike “imaginary friend”, especially since his version of Hitler was very clumsy and stupid and liked to make funny remarks. He’d pop up at unusual timings and out of all the characters he definitely made me laugh the most.

The cinematography actually surprised me at parts. It was all filmed well, but there were a couple scenes that I thought were really beautiful. One was a starry night with glowing coloured tents in a field – the kind I’d love to make a screensaver on my laptop. There was also a focus on shoes, something which I think tells you a lot about a person.

I ended up walking out of the cinema wishing I could watch the film again! It really was funny and, above all, so unique and original. I don’t think I’ve watched anything quite like it.

Have you seen Jojo Rabbit?

What did you think?

Check out my film review of 1917 here.

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

1917. [Film Review]

*spoiler free*

A few days ago, I went to see 1917 at the cinema! (known for being filmed as if it was taken in one continuous shot) I’d heard so many great things about it and hoped it would live up to its high rating and promising reviews. So here are my thoughts…

In summary, the film is set in World War One and follows two friends within the trenches. They are sent on a mission to pass on a message – to cease an attack on the enemy the following morning. It’s one of those films that if I were to explain everything that happened, there really isn’t much that physically happened, and yet it wasn’t boring at all. I couldn’t help but admire the camerawork and the lengthy scenes and wonder how long it must have taken to get it all so perfect. Despite it seemingly being one continuous shot, it is actually filmed in parts, but even these parts are a lot longer than your average film. It was really amazing how the whole crew managed to pull this off.

The way it was filmed also changed how I viewed it too. It felt like being within the trenches myself, as part of the scenes, following the men as if I was one of the soldiers myself. I think this made the film particularly emotional, because the build up to certain scenes felt so real and within reach. There were a few scenes that particularly got to me and it was very difficult to watch at times because of this, but I guess that’s something you can only expect from a war film, and if it touches you then it’s done its job.

Despite not knowing the main actors, I thought they were great. George MacKay wonderfully interpreted a man overcome with emotion and yet emotionally distant simultaneously. I really felt his strong desire to push those feelings back in order to complete his mission and I think the music – the bustling of sounds versus the silence of voice – worked to this advantage.

As I finished watching the film, I kind of just sat there taking it all in. I walked out in a daze and it stayed with me for a while, my mind still feeling as if it was torn away from war itself. And maybe that’s just the empath within me, but I thought that was what made it an amazing film – the ability to transform the audience right into a world of chaos and destruction and unpredictability, the emotional disturbances existing long after it is over.

Have you seen 1917?

What were your thoughts?

Check out my film review of Jojo Rabbit here.

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

All the Movies I Watched Last Year! (2019)

Key

5 – one of my favourite films!

4 – great film – would watch again!

3 – good film – would maybe watch again for fun/lightheartedness

2 – pretty bad

1 – awful

0 – should not even be a film

 


 

Before I started this, I predicted I’d watch 75 films in 2019, but I actually watched 70 – very close!

(I updated this post throughout the entire year, so it took a lot of dedication! I think it was worth it to look back and reflect, but not sure I’ll do it again!)

 


 

1. Source Code (5/5 stars) – I loved the concept of this. It’s so much more than just one-of-those-films-where-they-repeat-the-same-day.

2. Cam (2/5 stars) – I watched this with a friend and we both thought it was weird and disturbing, although it didn’t fail to give suspense.

3. What We Do In The Shadows (4/5 stars) – This one is a comedy about vampires and it’s so funny!

4. Gattaca (5/5 stars) – This was such an amazing and thought-provoking dystopian. I can’t even put into words how much I recommend it. I instantly want to rewatch it and it’s up there with my favourite movies of all time.

5. Sixteen Candles (3/5 stars) – I really did want to give this 4 stars because it’s a classic, however I think it remains as a good, light-hearted film.

6. True Story (5/5 stars) – This film is so underrated and the way it’s filmed is visually incredible. I couldn’t take my attention off of it. It’s such an interesting and intriguing story that I’ll be thinking about for days.

7. Silence of the Lambs (4/5 stars) – I can’t believe it took me this long to watch this. I love the symbolism of the title and how it fits into the story.

8. Every Day (3/5 stars) – I read the book for this quite a few years ago so I was hyped about there being a film. Okay it may not be the best film ever created, but it was light-hearted and enjoyable and my expectations for it were never that high anyway.

9. Glass (4/5 stars) – This is a sequel to the films Unbreakable and Split. I’ve only seen the latter of these films (which I love) but I still really enjoyed Glass. The cinematography and the acting was amazing (especially by James McAvoy). I may have been slightly confused/alarmed by the ending, but only more reason to watch it again.

10. Paddington (4/5 stars) – Despite the fact that I couldn’t take this film seriously at first (it just made me laugh so much), this was such a great film!

11. Paddington 2 (4/5 stars) – I watched the 2nd one straight after watching the 1st and it was also so good, with such a cute ending!

12. Nocturnal Animals (4/5 stars) – I love the idea of a plot within a plot and the ways they intertwine. Although slow at times, this film hits deep.

13. Untouchable / The Intouchables (5/5 stars) – I rewatched this film because I love everything about it. Despite being about a handicapped man, the dialogue is surprisingly funny but also heart-warming. And the music by the pianist Einaudi is beautiful.

14. The Grand Budapest Hotel (4/5 stars) – I loved the aesthetic of this film – it was so pretty and had such a unique feel about it. It was also really funny.

15. The Breaker Upperers (3/5 stars) – This film was so random but pretty funny. Good if you want something light-hearted to watch!

16. When Harry Met Sally (4/5 stars) – This is another classic I somehow hadn’t seen yet! The ending was very predictable, but it was a great film. I found the whole debate of can a boy and girl be friends really interesting as a plot line.

17. Velvet Buzzsaw (3/5 stars) – This was a very strange but intriguing film. It felt like something was missing and that’s why I can’t give it 4 stars, but it has some unique shots and Jake Gyllenhaal’s acting is worth watching.

18. Legally Blonde (4/5 stars) – This is one of those films that is so bad and cringey that it’s actually good. I have to give it 4 because it surprisingly made me laugh (a lot).

19. Get Out (5/5 stars) – This film was absolutely insane. The characters were creepy as hell and it had such a dark but compelling vibe. Honestly one of the best films I’ve ever seen.

20. The Bucket List (4/5 stars) – I can’t believe I hadn’t seen this film before. It really got me thinking about how important life is and that we should take the chances to do the things we want to do, before it’s too late.

21. Adventureland (3/5 stars) – This film had a lot of familiar faces (Ryan Reynolds, Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg) and I liked it but I probably wouldn’t watch it again as it was kind of slow at parts.

22. Flipped (4/5 stars) – This was such a cute and heart-warming film following the connection between two kids who are neighbours. It had such a lovely nostalgic feel to it, the acting was surprisingly brilliant, and it also had a beautiful storyline.

23. I Am Not an Easy Man (5/5 stars) – This movie was insanely good. It’s about a man who walks into a lamppost and enters an alternate universe where, instead of the patriarchy, women are in charge. It was brilliantly executed and I’ll honestly be thinking about it for days.

24. Bee Movie (3/5 stars) – I knew this film was going to be odd and it was definitely very odd and I have a lot of questions. But it made me laugh though, so it deserves a 3.

25. Social Animals (4/5 stars) – This was a documentary film following the stories of 3 kids who became “famous” through Instagram and the struggles they faced. It was super interesting but also insane how social media can have such a huge effect on you as a person.

26. The Perfect Date (3/5 stars) – This was a fun light-hearted film to watch with friends but not really anything more than that.

27. Stranger than Fiction (4/5 stars) – I absolutely loved the plot of this – a writer pondering how to kill the character in her novel. Viewing the character as a real life person was a unique perspective and I was totally invested from the beginning.

28. Miseducation of Cameron Post (3/5 stars) – This film was about a girl who is sent to a Christian conversion camp because she doesn’t love who she’s “supposed” to. It’s so messed up and sad that people are treated this way. The film was really interesting though, despite the slowness at times.

29. Kung Fu Panda 2 (4/5 stars) – I didn’t think this film could be as good as the first one, but wow did it surpass my expectations! It was so sad and yet so happy and had such a beautiful storyline. I also loved the moral message to take away from it (which I won’t ruin).

30. Drive (4/5 stars) – This film was slow but immersive. There was a certain calmness to it and yet it was very intense. The tranquil music reminded me of the soundtrack in the film Equals.

31. Friends with Benefits (3/5 stars) – for what comes across as a really trashy film, this was actually so much better than I expected. It was surprisingly funny and had some deep moments.

32. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (3/5 stars) – From the same director as The Breakfast Club, this film had a lot of high expectations. Whilst it wasn’t as good, it was super funny and a laugh to watch.

33. Ex Machina (5/5 stars) – This film was actually insane!! Just when you think you know what’s going on, you realise you don’t. If you’re intrigued by a.i. you’ll be amazed by this film!

34. The Inbetweeners movie (3/5 stars) – how it’s taken me this long to watch this, I have no idea, but finally I have!

35. The Inbetweeners 2 (3/5 stars) – was just as good as the first! very funny

36. Eddie the Eagle (4/5 stars) – This film was so inspiring and proves that if you put your mind to anything, the impossible is possible.

37. Departures / Then Came You (3/5 stars) – This almost deserved 4 stars because it was actually a lot better than I thought. Predictable at times, but beautiful at heart.

38. Murder Mystery (3/5 stars) – It was weird seeing Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston in a somewhat thriller of a film, whilst also embracing the comedy they’re known for, but it was a decent and fun movie.

39. The Departed (4/5 stars) – With a strong cast and such a powerful opening line, this film couldn’t go far wrong. You probably couldn’t predict all the intricacies of the ending if you tried. Only fault: kind of slow at times.

40. Get Out (5/5 stars) – I rewatched this with a friend and it only made me love it more! and I noticed more details the second time around.

41. The Package (3/5 stars) – I rewatched this film with a friend and it’s just so crazy and weird but funny.

42. Baby Driver (4/5 stars) – This was such an interesting and also unique action film about how bad things happen to good guys. Definitely worth a watch!

43. Someone Great (2/5 stars) – This wasn’t that great, despite the title. It was a nice friendship film but didn’t have much depth.

44. Swiped (3/5 stars) – It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be as some parts were surprisingly funny, but this was definitely one of those easy-to-watch-fun-to-watch-with-friends film

45. Toy Story 4 (4/5 stars) – I don’t even know if I’ve seen Toy Story 3 but regardless, this was such a cute and funny and heart-warming film. I loved that there were more adults than children in the cinema!

46. A Simple Favour (4/5 stars) – This was such a unique thriller that had comedy but also a really dark undertone. I’m a sucker for twists and this film had a LOT. The ending was slightly confusing but overall I thought it was great!

47. Beautiful Boy (5/5 stars) – I thought it would be weird watching Steve Carell in a serious role after seeing The Office but he was amazing in this, and so was the other lead. It was based on a true story about drug addiction and it was such a powerful and heart-breaking film.

48. In Bruges (4/5 stars) – This film was ridiculous and funny but also had a really brilliant storyline with great acting.

49. Safety not Guaranteed (3/5 stars) – This has a really unique and original storyline that had me hooked. There isn’t much point in watching it again but it’s good for a one time watch.

50. Happy Death Day (3/5 stars) – This horror flick had some surprising twists & turns! inspired by Groundhog Day, the main character relived a day in her life over and over.

51. Nanny McPhee (4/5 stars) – I was obsessed with this film as a child, so my housemates and I decided to rewatch it and relive our childhood – and it was just as good as we remembered!

52. The Theory of Everything (5/5 stars) – Such a beautifully crafted but equally heartbreaking film. unbelievable acting and I loved the music. it was an interesting insight into the life of Stephen Hawking – he really is such an admirable and influential human being.

53. Joker (5/5 stars) – I saw this one at the cinema and I can’t even put into words how amazing it was. Acting, cinematography, music, overall message – it was flawless.

54. Psycho (4/5 stars) – I watched this on Halloween thinking oh no this might be too scary but it actually wasn’t at all! was a great film though, with some interesting quotes.

55. Despicable Me 3 (4/5 stars) – Despicable Me never disappoints. Agnes is the cutest kid and the minions always make me laugh!

56. Dirty Dancing (3/5 stars) – First time I’ve actually seen it! It had a lovely feel-good vibe to it & it was great to finally have context to the dance lift.

57. The Upside (2/5 stars) – This is actually an American remake of the film Untouchable/The Intouchables. It wasn’t too bad but I absolutely love the original & this one just couldn’t live up to it!

58. I Origins (5/5 stars) – This was such an interesting film that set up a debate around the scientific vs spiritual view of life through a man’s fascination with eyes. I think this film will stay with me for a long time.

59. Taxi Driver (4/5 stars) – This was a slow but intense film about the alienation of a taxi driver in New York City. I feel like it’s one of those films that you either get or you don’t.

60. Midnight in Paris (4/5) – about a man who accidentally travels back in time to Paris in the 20’s and meets famous authors. It had such a lovely and inspiring vibe to it.

61. Megamind (4/5 stars) – This is actually such a good animated film with a surprisingly deep storyline, commenting on the mutual reliance of heroes and villains.

62. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (3/5 stars) – I almost wanted to give this 4 stars just because of nostalgia but damn this film is kind of dark for a kids film! Still good though.

63. Last Christmas (4/5 stars) – This was actually better than expected! It was funny and had such an unexpected and heart-warming plot twist that genuinely left me in shock.

64. The Knight before Christmas (1/5 stars) – This film was honestly soo bad. I wasn’t invested at all and didn’t care for the characters. The only reason I didn’t give it 0 was because it was mildly entertaining to laugh at it’s awful-ness with a friend.

65. Let It Snow (2/5 stars) – This film was so cringe and predictable. It was nice to watch as a one-off movie when I didn’t feel like thinking too much, but I wouldn’t watch it again.

66. I Lost My Body (5/5 stars) – This animated film about a hand, detached from its body, wandering the streets of Paris, was absolutely mesmerising. There was just something so deep and calm and thoughtful about it, whilst also plucking at the nervousness and grief and struggles of life simultaneously.

67. Love Actually (4/5 stars) – One of the best Christmas films! It’s both happy and sad and a lot of emotions at once, but it’s also real and is a genuine portrayal of a lot of different relationships and families.

68. Marriage Story (4/5 stars) – Real, raw, genuine, and amazing acting. It felt like watching in on someone’s life.

69. Jumanji 2 (3/5 stars) – It was very similar to the first film, but not sure I liked it as much. Was a lot of fun though!

70. Elf (4/5 stars) – Christmas classic. I normally watch this every year and it’s still just as funny!

 


 

What was the best film you watched in 2019?

 

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Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

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‘I Lost My Body’ [Film Review]

This animated film about a hand, detached from its body, wandering the streets of Paris, is absolutely mesmerising. It has such a seemingly weird and questionable concept – why is a hand the main character? how would that be an interesting story to follow? – but it is filled with intriguing symbolism. I found myself bizarrely attached to the story of this hand, as it did it’s very best to survive, whilst the flashbacks of the past revealed the life of the boy who once held that hand as his own.

There was just something so deep, calm and thoughtful about this film, whilst also plucking at the nervousness and grief and struggles of life simultaneously. The music was beautiful and the animation was simple yet touching. It seemed to express the world from all sorts of angles – birds eye, through mirrors, beneath the ground. It was one of those films you feel completely immersed in, and when you come out the other side you don’t really know how to live in the world anymore.

There was a particularly interesting use of symbolism in the role of a fly, who the boy as a child tried and attempted to catch on multiple occasions. But he never could get a grasp on it. He realised it was “impossible” – this far fetched ideal that couldn’t be obtained, and so he started to live his life passive to whatever life threw at him. He let the fly pass him with not so much as a flicker.

[spoilers ahead]

It isn’t until the end that we see that it isn’t impossible. The hand does it’s best to survive because it believes it’s owner needs it back, but he doesn’t. He does not need what he once had, what the past once gave him, to be complete. And jumping off that ledge, laughing into the night sky, he realises that anything is possible. We define our own fate. 

Have you watched a film recently that affected you deeply?

Let me know in the comments below!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Joker [Film Review]

A few days ago, I went to the cinema for the first time in ages to see the film Joker. I’d heard so much about it so I was very excited to see if it lived up to the hype.

I feel like I came out of the cinema in a complete daze not even knowing what to say. It was dark yet realistic, overwhelming yet amazing, and I can’t really put any of it into comprehensible words that will give it justice, but I’ll try my best.

Joaquin Phoenix’s acting of the Joker was insane! He managed to inhabit the character so well that I inhabited the character too by effect. He managed to produce this evil yet heart-breaking laugh and, together with the cinematography and music, really did live up to the eerie yet intriguing atmosphere. You want to wince away but you also want to inch closer, asking why.

The film as a whole was extremely dark – I’m surprised it’s not an 18 because it deals with some heavy stuff – but it also represents a part of society that is easily overlooked. It reminds people that different backgrounds create different stories and what is easy for one person is not as easy for someone else. It also represents how the systems of society often let people down – people that are mentally ill aren’t treated well enough and perhaps this is one of the reasons why crime surfaces. We can’t judge from the outside; dive into the film Joker and you’ll sure as hell be understanding from the inside.

I think what I took from the ending is that life just goes on. We walk round and round and back and forth just like the Joker did on that final scene in the corridor. Life moves on and it doesn’t stop for one person. The Joker left bloodied footprints along the hall, which I think was a cool way to compose the final scene, but no one will know who left them. We all leave footprints that no one will ever fully know or understand. What happened to the Joker happens all the time and we don’t even know about it because we’re too busy strolling our own separate corridors. And occasionally, just maybe, we might bump into the truth. And watching Joker is that truth.

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Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud