After being given a miraculous one-week term break with no reason behind it whatsoever (and the rest of the school reporting regularly while my batch’s sanctity was saved), it was cue to spend the days making up for the sleep-deprivation and coffee-fueled chaotic days, with of course — self-productivity and amazing films. Here’s a short post on five films that I had really enjoyed and would like to share — I highly recommend each of these, adored different parts of them and saw more than just an average drama in them.
These five all fit in a similar ‘vibe’ as you can tell; they commonly deal with self-discovery and coming-of-age themes, since I absolutely adore those themes and get infinitely engrossed in them. My taste isn’t very varied nor obscure, but nevertheless hopefully you could pick up a movie from here that you haven’t watched yet. May these films mean something to you as much as they do to me!
This is the latest movie that I’ve watched and honestly, I fell in love with it.
Girl, Interrupted is a powerful drama film about mental illness wherein a highly intelligent girl gets wrongly institutionalized to a premiere psychiatric hospital and befriends the people within, losing her grip between the world outside of the institution’s doors and finding truth in her state of mind. It’s an intense two-hour drama that challenges any other film that lazily depict young girls as troubled souls, portraying all sorts of different characters with a sense of reality. Their stories, their relationships, and the challenges and thoughts that they face within the coveted facility get constantly expounded on, moreso their interactions with one another and the bonds formed between them.
God, just from the angsty emo teenage poetry that is riddled on this very blog you can tell that I’d consume the ever-loving soul out of things like this. Girl, Interrupted is a series of powerful, emotional girls that you can see yourself in. Connect yourself to their flaws and fears to the things that make them who they are — that define them and set them apart from the rest, while actualizing yourself and realizing how important viewpoints and perspectives can be in the course of the world. Although I dislike how cliched and somewhat anticlimactically rushed the film could be at times, its little pieces and fragments are still the truest reflections of ‘troubled teenage girls in the world’s modern society,’ not just boyfriend problems and self-esteem issues, but actual antagonizing pieces of fraught that are all the more unintentionally nurtured by refusal to let go.
A wonderful testament to mental health and how important films like this could be — no matter what you are or how easily you feel that you could relate to this film, you will surely enjoy it. There are so many falls and rises, ripples and waves in connections with other people and how we manifest and mold them so heavily with our own perspectives, and how we can as well be influenced by others. Our own questions in regards to the workings of our mind, why we act this way, and how misunderstood and trapped we may all feel. Although out of touch in some aspects, the rest of the film is a forgiving series of stories and words that make Girl, Interrupted amazing.
A beautiful artistic coming-of-age film about two young lovers who run away together as their whole town comes searching for them — it’s described as an “eccentric, pubescent love story” that is filled with heartwarming vibrancy. Chronicling the passion, whimsy and gorgeous strangeness of kids in love. Alongside the casual oddities of such a daring delve into young love is the plights and issues to be faced, love against the world.
Personally my favorite Wes Anderson film, all I can describe Moonrise Kingdom as is… warm. It feels vivid and like you’re stepping into the feelings and perceptions of the two main characters, Sam and Suzy. It’s an extravagant tale about young love that dramatically displays the poignant, indescribably passionate carefree infatuation that occurs at a young age. Simply put, the film will make you smile, see things in a new youthful light, while you are entranced with beautiful visuals and cinematography (as expected of from Wes Anderson!) with vibrant colors and an even more emotional soundtrack that further plunges you into the story of love and of course, the struggles that are bound to come alongside it.
This is such a pleasant and gorgeous watch, moreso if you have ever been in love at youth and been questioned against it. When all you know is to do away with all things and escape with such passionate love, and of course — there is still the same urgency to do so now, years later. Of all so-called ‘romance’ movies, let this be my absolute favorite, because it is all the things that love is. Clumsy, but wistful. Solemn yet just as ardent.
There are moments of fear, moments of thrill, rushes to the heart and blood that one would expect in every young and blossoming relationship. Think of it as lovers against the world, with everything seemingly against them as they pace off against all odds, armored with ambition and light. I can’t think of reasons to dislike this movie, and that’s an extremely rare thing. From the awkwardness of pubescence and how relatable yet adorable the moments in film can be, to mesmerizing colors and incredulous moments of suspense and fear, to how realistic the characters can be. Not just an average love story. Something more pure, something more innocent, something more awkward, something all the more a reflection of who we are and have been. Something beautiful. Watch this film!
Much less well-known in comparison to the rest of the films in the list but astoundingly striking nonetheless.
Beginning in the future – an estranged old man finds his way to a restaurant, stumbling and in disarray until employee’s bring him back home, to which a mess of music sheets and scores litters every corner. Shine is the true yet dramatized story of a pianist named David Helfgott illustrating his prodigious journey and the struggling relationship he holds between his high-handed father, as well as the mental breakdowns and life in institution that followed a great pianist’s height in fame. It is the telltale story of relationships with one’s family, as the connection between Helfgott and his father is one of the realest, relatable and striking performances that I have ever watched.
Every message and lesson learned appeals greatly, from all the miniscule elements of a great musician’s life and descent into whimsical madness — you live through David’s life as he struggles and rises through each feat. I love this film and I personally call and find it as perfect. It of course, features incredible piano pieces and dramatic performances that string the tension all into the music – towards the piano as a key that symbolizes David’s redemption. The film is moving and surreal with figures and personalities that are albeit exaggerated — all too real. It’s a testament to how skill and excellence will always be hindered by barriers, that of your own mind and sanity or even ones bounded by the people around you.
The movie is heartbreaking but satisfying, a rollercoaster that moves in waves traversing the happiness and sorrow in life, an ultimatum of David’s undeniable connection to the piano amidst the people around him, and how they view him as a prodigy of a pianist. Ringing in complexities, the movie is less of a musical journey but more of an identity exploration that uses the piano as a tool for David’s intertwining connections to the people and the world around him, serving as a catalyst to the changes in his life that also barricade him from moving onwards. A bit old and out of touch but miraculously bright, this well-revered film is real and raw in ways that no other film can strike you. No matter how you find pieces of your own world in Shine’s story, whether in David’s footsteps, the treading anxiety and perseverance to pursue his craft, the faces of strangers who push you or the fists of familial hindrances, I’m sure that this drama will seize you in the way of music and in the reality of life — in harshness, beauty, and in triumph.
This isn’t a film that everyone would like but it is certainly one worth watching and appreciating — there is so much truth and message packed into the hour and a half performance, the ups and downs of a life but never its finale – not quite yet. In every life there is a fall, and there is a rise up, an end worth living.
Stand By Me
Classic and renowned, Stand By Me is perhaps one of the best coming-of-age movies of all time centered on the spark of young friendship, the bonds of which are unlike any other.
A writer, now aged recounts his early life as he details a group of friends who go on a search party to find the body of a boy who had gone missing. In the journey, they bond with one another and form memories, realize things about each other and their lives — and grow infinitely in just the span of a few days. It’s a prevailing film about the importance and significance of young friendship, the bonds of which are unlike any other. Accounting for kids who actually act like kids, not sugarcoated with innocence but instead domineered to be the curious, troubled, and forever self-puzzling humans that we all truly are. A true pinnacle to the words coming of age, we follow the story of growth in young boys who never forget the friends and moments that had made them what they are.
Stand By Me gripped me and left me crying and laughing. Not going overboard with what could be seen as over-mature depictions of children but instead succinctly portraying their inquisitive desires to discover their own nature, unfair past and backgrounds — questioning why life is as it is, and has set it out to be this way. They are not perfect, nor do they think straightly. As kids should be. But all the more, it highlights how just because one is young doesn’t mean their pains and fears are any less than one who has experienced more. The film taught me that it is alright for me to feel sad about things even when the world tells me that I should not cry for those things. That I should not complain, that it’s the usual, that I am not allowed to question the upbringings and virtues that I vehemently disavow under the covers of futility.
There are countless other kids as am I, not one superior to the other, facing the same dismay. The same sorrows.
If you haven’t watched this classic yet, you definitely should. There isn’t much to say about it rather than ‘boys going on a search party for a kid’s missing body and they realize shit,” but that’s essentially what it is. They go through moments of laughter and of pain, of bitterness and of true platonic love, the film emphasizes how the relationships we form when we are truly at our youth — carefree, non-judgmental, adventurous — a special kind of love that is irreplaceable, a timed thing to be treasured for friendships as in Stand By Me, are keystones to who we are for the rest of our lives, though we may not be the same neighborhood boys that we had all begun with.
Tree of Life
An idiosyncratic work of art described as a ‘masterpiece’, Tree of Life is less of a movie and more of a profound, abstract, artistic visual and mental experience. It delves right into the very roots of creation, space, and time, while revolving around a man’s memories of his childhood and growth in a picturesquely perfect upper-middle class household that holds darker roots.
This is basically a Western version of Neon Genesis Evangelion, except instead of cutting half-way through the action mecha show and bombarding you with philosophical queries about life, the universe and everything — the Tree of Life does so from the very beginning.
This is certainly not a movie that everyone would enjoy. I’d say that half of the audience would find it puzzling or even a complete waste of time, while the other half would be left thinking about it, analyzing it and remembering it — since it is certainly a memorable movie. Trust me, just give it a try and see it through, for if you fall into the latter you certainly won’t be disappointed. It’s a cinematic breakthrough in a world of overused tropes and formulaic plot, an experience that relies on artistry, music, and breathtaking visuals to leave you a story rather than a linearly progressive, ‘standard’ plot structure. Certainly not for everyone yet infallibly wonderful, no matter what you think of it you will surely find at least one aspect of the film outstanding in a way.