I realised recently that my blog is filled with references to big title films that most people have heard and to be honest, if I constantly praise them I feel quite cliched. And also praising the big films that a lot of people have heard of, doesn’t really show the attitude I have towards smaller films, that are less well known, but have still had a big impact on me. I feel that being interested in films is about looking at a broad spectrum of films, not just the main ones that are played at every cinema countrywide. So I’ve decided to write this post about the films that creep up on you. The ones you find in a small corner of HMV for under five pounds, decide to take a risk and buy it, then discover what an absolute gem of a film it is. I’ve narrowed down the list, because trust me when I say this, there were many that I could have used for this post. It was very difficult to narrow the list down but I feel the ones that I have to talk about, are the ones that have had made me think the most.
Firstly among the list is the 2011 comedy ’50/50′ starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen. The story is based on a true story of a 27 year old who is diagnosed with cancer, and the efforts of his best friend in helping him on the road to recovery. First off I have to say that in terms of acting I was very impressed by the performances in this film. Gordon-Levitt is fantastic as the main character, displaying true acting ability through his sharp delivery of lines and his powerful emotional state. Seth Rogen is also very good, which is surprising because in the past I have taken a dislike to him but in the case of ’50/50′ he have a good performance.
The writing for the film was done by Will Reiser which was fantastic, he had the perfect balance between comedy and drama which gave the film and edge that made it feel very real to life. I am told that the film sticks very closely to the events that happened to the actual person, but either way I’m not too fussed, I really enjoyed it. For such a small film that I hadn’t heard a lot about, it must be a good sign if it managed to make me cry on a couple of occasions. A truly moving story that was told extremely well, leaving me feel both uplifted and happy. I’ve watched it at least four times now, and every time it ends with me having the same smile on my face.
The next film to make it on to my list is the 2009 drama ‘Is Anybody There?’ starring Michael Caine and young actor Bill Milner. The story is set in eighties England, in an old people’s home owned by a young boy’s parents. His mother is struggling to pay the bills and his father is going through a mid life crisis. Edward himself is fascinated with the idea of the after life and begins investigating around the home. The latest resident of the home, Clarence, moves in and soon becomes friends with Edward, setting up the rest of the film as a journey through life for the old man and young become as they come to terms with the past and future.Written very well by Peter Harness who manages to make the story a very moving and emotional journey, but with a touch of comedy in places, making it an overall enjoyable experience.
The acting is superb, young star Bill Milner is terrific as Edward, with the curiosity and mischief you would expect from a young lad. David Morrissey is very funny as the father who is struggling with the issue of his age, and Anne-Marie Duff plays the mother very convincingly. However the star of the show is Michael Caine, in one of his best acting roles as the cynical old man who doesn’t want to hurt other people as much as he hurts himself. There was a beautiful balance between the characters of Clarence and Edward, showing a young boy with a lot to learn about life, and a man who has had enough life experiences to give him a proper understanding. The film is what I would describe as charming and it did make me feel both happy and sad throughout, with a couple of tears along the way, but overall it is a very impressive piece of film that I would recommend to anybody.
Finally we have the 2009 black comedy from the Coen Brothers entitled ‘A Serious Man’. The simple story of a jewish man in the 1960s who is watching his life slowly fall apart around him through a series of sudden incidents. This leads him to seek both help and answers for what is happening. A very simple concept that is very impressive and makes an amazing film. It is one of my favourite films from the Coens, it is written superbly so it is funny throughout, and as usual it is directed in their artistic way so that the whole film is executed smoothly but sharply at the same time.
It was interesting to see a film that was darkly funny, but presented us with strong character who you feel a genuine connection to. It’s the sort of film that is very much like Alien, in the sense that there is a lot of character development so you feel sympathy for the characters and feel as though you have a connection to them. The main character, Larry, is so close to life, the issues that surround him make the audience think about their lives and link it back to their own experiences. The film presents many interesting themes including the questioning of beliefs, and it opens questions like “is there always an explanation for what happens to us?”. It was a film that crept up on me because before I became interested in the Coen brothers I hadn’t heard of the film, so upon watching it with very little knowledge I was pleasantly surprised and knocked back by what a genuinely incredible film it was.
I appreciate that some of the films I’ve mentioned were possibly more well known that I described them as, but they were were the films that crept up on me. They were films that I hadn’t particularly heard of before I bought them, possibly because of less advertising, but they are ones that had a big impact on me.
They are the films that made me think, on a number of levels and the ones that triggered quite hard emotional responses from me. It sets a clear different between this kind of film and a large Hollywood Blockbuster because the latter is the sort of film you leave thinking “wow, that had incredible special effects, the action sequences were amazing!”. And then the smaller films are the ones you leave, not knowing what to think. The films confuse you, you don’t know whether to feel uplifted or upset, or both at the same time, but either way you know you enjoyed them.
I would recommend all of the films I have talked about on this post, they are all special in their own away and very impressive. They’re not the best films ever made, but I like them and I feel that other people would like them equally as much. As always feel free to leave any comments you have on the topic or about the films mentioned, it’s interesting to get feedback on the topic.
So it is with this that I leave you with a quote from a character in ’50/50′. It’s a good piece of advice for troubled situation and it’s the sort of thought the film leaves you with:
“You can’t change your situation. The only thing that you can change is how you choose to deal with it”