5. The Book Thief
For the longest time, The Book Thief was my favorite book, and with it, it became one of my favorite movies. I had always loved the story, the characters, the beauty and flow of the words.
Likewise, the movie captured very well the characters and emotional arc of the story. My favorite characters remain Hans Hubermann, Max, and Rosa Hubermann.
Besides the basic elements of story, the soundtrack of the movie is also spectacular. The simplicity of the song The Book Thief still carries a heavy emotional burden, while lighter songs like The Snow Fight captures the pure friendship between Liesel and Rudy.
This movie is a must watch for people interested in historical fiction, especially World War II.
Like The Book Thief, Hugo is also based on a book, namely The Inventions of Hugo Cabret. Aside from an amazing soundtrack and superb acting (especially Asa Butterfield), the plot of the movie follows first the mystery of the automaton, and then that of the toy store owner’s. Though having elements of mystery where the urgency of the story primarily comes from, the plot is fueled by emotional bounds (Hugo and his father’s, Isabelle and her godfather’s).
The cinematography is also stunning. If you watched this film in say, Russian, and you didn’t understand Russian, you’d still be able to appreciate the sheer beauty of the colors and the scenery.
3. La La Land
Yet another movie that makes me bawl my eyes out, especially the audition scene, which was Emma Stone’s character, Mia’s big breakthrough. Before which, we see Mia and Sebastian arguing in front of Mia’s home, when Mia confesses her fear “What if I’m not good enough”.
This movie, apart from the spectacular soundtrack and amazing cinematography, deals with themes of love, dreams, idealists, reality, which all combines to form the complicated and nuanced character of Mia. We follow her as she flows through her life, crowded by different people, but still remaining an idealist at heart. Things don’t change for her until she steps into that restaurant and hears Sebastian play. We see from her expression that she expects something magical to happen, expects him to be her Someone in the Crowd, but when Sebastian pushes past her without saying anything, we see Mia’s dream shatter once more.
Emma Stone’s acting is spectacular, and the ending will break your heart.
2. Lady Bird
Lady Bird, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is one of the coming-of-age/teenage stories that I absolutely adore. The writing, the characterization, the raw honest depiction of the trials and tribulations of those hormonal, turbulent years. I’ve already written a full review here.
1. The Theory of Everything
I’ve watched this movie so many times I’ve lost count. Once on an airplane, once at French Convention, once in bed, once with my mom, and I’ve cried every time.
Everything about this movie, from the soundtrack to the characters, from the bigger-than-life love story to the heartbreaking yet beautiful ending, is done extremely well.
There’s something about Stephen and Jane Hawking’s story that transcends so many other love stories portrayed in film. It’s honest, it’s not always perfect, and in the end, even though they have grown apart, they still loved each other. It’s too good. Give it a watch. You’ll most likely cry.