Whether you’re into romantic comedies, dramas, or you’re just looking for something to watch while you’re cooped up inside this winter, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite movies from then and now for your recommendation. You will laugh, you will cry, and maybe you’ll be inspired to check out some more by these filmmakers who certainly should be on your radar if they aren’t already!
Spike Jonze’s Her is probably the most modern love story to date. Set in a distant yet all familiar future, the film is a beautifully heartbreaking tale of love in the modern age. You will be mesmerized by the glowing orange hues, asking yourself the deepest of existential questions, all while falling for the quirky charm of Joaquin Phoenix’s character, Theodore.
In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love takes place in 1960’s conservative Hong Kong where eyebrows are raised when two neighbors begin a will they or won’t they relationship. The film is stunning, from the shot composition to the wardrobe. Each second of the film is saturated with eye candy and you’ll be left wanting to watch more of Wong Kar-wai’s lush masterpieces.
Rust and Bone
If you’re in the mood for a more somber film, Rust and Bone is a magnificent story between tragic lovers. Struggling single father (Matthias Schoenaerts) meets recent amputee (Marion Cotillard). The film depicts a certain unconditional beauty that can be found in tragedy and recovery. You may want to keep some tissues nearby.
First Wives Club
Ariana Grande should win a medal of honor for bringing this film back into the zeitgeist in 2018, being that this 1996 film should have never left it. A must watch, this film is jam packed with leading ladies. Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, need I go on? This is the perfect film to watch post-breakup, or even just to remind yourself of the power of sisterhood.
If you’re in the mood for female comradery and some general badassery, you should definitely check out Whip It. The film is Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut and one of Ellen Page’s coolest characters (though, hard to choose). Strap on your roller skates because you will want to join a roller-derby team after watching.
A Separation, by Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, is a masterwork depicting the trials and tribulations that come with everyday family and relationship dynamics. If you haven’t seen much Iranian cinema, Farhadi’s work is a wonderful jumping off point, as his films will provide proof that Iranian film is some of the very best (of which there is a longstanding history).
Moonlight is a gorgeous film in which Barry Jenkins tells a story of being black and gay in America. Visually, the film is striking. Its deep hues with glimmers of light mirror its title. The film is earnest in depicting the struggle of becoming okay with one’s identity while delightfully portraying a kind of love story we see far too infrequently on the big screen.
Mermaids (1990) is the perfect movie for a girl’s night in. It’s quirky and fun yet doesn’t fail to sprinkle in some sincere life lessons. Cher and a young Winona Ryder star in this film based on a novel by the same name. In an honest look at womanhood at its various stages, Cher, a single mother is figuring out motherhood one day at a time, all while her two daughters are also attempting to sort out this thing called life.
Do The Right Thing
One of Spike Lee’s classics, Do The Right Thing, is still as relevant today as it was in 1989, but a necessary reality check. Taking place over one long hot day, the film is a slice of life look at racial tension in Brooklyn’s neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, a glimpse into a greater part of a whole. The film is smart, funny, and visually bright. Without tying loose ends up in a pretty bow, the ending leaves us with the reality that there is still is major work to be done.
Slow and sweet, American Honey is an insiders look at the lives of vagabond teenagers in middle America. While seemingly mundane, the film is anything but. The movie’s themes carry some dark undertones, yet the cinematography is kept light and dreamy creating a dichotomy that leaves you hypnotized. And, we have this film to thank for the discovery of the beautiful Sasha Lane.
Eighth Grade is the movie a lot of us have been waiting for. Adolescence is uncomfortable. We’re just getting to know ourselves all while figuring out how we fit in to the world around us. Add the internet into the mix and you’ve got yourself a recipe for anxiety, hope, fear, and ambition. Bo Burnham’s first feature presents this in the most beautiful way, through Kayla (Elsie Fisher) who uses YouTube to help quell the adversities she faces IRL.
Crazy Rich Asians
Move over every other Hollywood rom-com, because Crazy Rich Asians has arrived. The movie has it all; glamour, love, fashion, private islands, and everything else in between including the most extravagant wedding scene ever to grace the silver screen. The movie serves as evidence that diverse representation in Hollywood is hugely successful as well as being deeply needed. Here’s to many more leading roles for Constance Wu, we are so ready.