Dear readers, if you’re sick in bed right now—I’m so sorry! I hope you feel better soon. If you’re perfectly well and healthy, keep reading anyway, because everybody loves a good movie round-up!
When you’ve befriended your bedroom for well over twelve hours, you’re tired, and you’re bundled up in a thick sweater, you’re not feeling exactly cute. Being sick isn’t great. But having some time to binge-watch a bunch of good movies is a 10/10 experience. Watching movies is something one can do that doesn’t require a lot of energy, is cost-effective, and is productive-but-not-productive at the same time! These are some feel-good, funny yet poignant films you can watch.
☆ Leon: The Professional (Crime/Thriller)
This is hands down one of my favorites! In Leon, Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is a 12-year-old living in a neglected household with an abusive father and a careless mother. Her father stored drugs for corrupted police officers, so when a transaction plan went wrong, her whole family was murdered. In desperation, she joins forces with a reluctant man who lives down the hall from her family’s apartment. Mathilda hopes to avenge her family members’ deaths by learning from this man, Leon (Jean Reno), who works as a hired hitman for the mobsters.
Although the film received controversial responses from critics due to its portrayal of an “inappropriate” relationship between a young child and a man, the film shows more than just that. Unlike Lolita (also a highly controversial film), Leon: The Professional portrays a friendship in which Leon’s role as a “father figure” is romanticized by Mathilda. Due to her lack of a father, Mathilda mistakes her love for Leon as romantic love because he provides her care and protection. There isn’t any moment of inappropriate intimacy shared between the two. It is perhaps her inexperience and naïve perspective on love that misled her into thinking she’s in love with him.
The film explores the innocence of a young girl, the complexity of her environment, the friendship between two opposite people, and the thrills and adventure they share amidst all this fear and chaos. Rarely in cinema do we witness a relationship as strange and complex as the one shown in Leon. The main roles in the film offer enough complexity and personality to mesmerize the audience throughout the entirety of their performances. In an Independent review, Leon is described as “just a perfectly-balanced movie” that “feels like an eccentric French drama masquerading as a violent action movie or vice versa.”
☆ Fantastic Mr. Fox (Stop-Motion Animation)
To be frank, I’m not an avid animation watcher. However, because Wes Anderson is one of my favorite directors ever, I have to watch every single project he’s worked on! If you’ve seen and enjoyed his latest Isle of Dogs, you’ll like this film even more. If you love stop-motion animation, one of the oldest animation styles, this is a must-watch. And (bear with me) if you’re somewhat into dark humor, the personification of animals, a strange storyline, and mind-boggling cinematography, you’ve got to watch it.
The plot is as strange as the entire film—Mr. Fox breaks a promise he’d kept for twelve years by raiding the farms of his human neighbors. By giving into his animalistic hunting instinct, Mr. Fox endangers the livelihood of his loved ones. His family and friends are then forced to hide from the farmers by digging deep further into the ground. Following their escape route, we see the animals utilize crafty and crazy, weird methods to combat their powerful human opposition. The film can be a good laugh; however, in true Wes Anderson style, the director weaved in enough dark comedy and complexity in his animated characters to make Mr. Fox more than just an ordinary animation. It’s just as fantastical a world as that of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, with wonderful cinematography and visual design.
☆ 10 Things I Hate About You (Romantic Comedy)
First of all, if you’re a Heath Ledger fanatic, you really need to watch this one. I saw this movie before I even knew that he was an amazing actor. In contrast to his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight, Ledger plays a charming yet rebellious, high school boy in 10 Things I Hate About You. The movie also stars Julia Stiles as Kat Stratford, a beautiful and smart girl with little romantic success. However, her more popular little sister isn’t allowed to date until Kat has a relationship. So, her sister pulls some strings to get Kat a date to prom, causing Kat and Patrick (Heath Ledger) to cross paths. I get it, the synopsis sounds shallow and like any typical coming-of-age slash romantic-comedy movie. However, it’s surprisingly special. It isn’t too high-school-cliché or too girl-next-door-falling-for-the-“bad-guy.” The development of their romance feels rather real and mature. Similar to Leon, we can appreciate the complexities of Kat and Patrick’s characters. Truthfully, we all have to agree that young, heterosexual romance in a high school setting is an overused, exhausted idea. But if you’re ever in the mood for a romantic comedy just for its high-spirited jolliness, 10 Things I Hate About You is definitely a good choice! The music is classic, the scenes are funny, and both Heath and Julie are a joy to watch.