A film post is a surprising addition to She Wore Ribbon, but I’ve recently caught myself talking about the subject more and more frequently and have realised that a film post debut is well overdue. I think the concept of favourite films can be a very interesting insight into a person and with that in mind, I thought I’d post a list of films that I believe are real ‘must-sees’. Maybe you’ll be surprised, but then again, perhaps not!
Roman Holiday (1953)
If you’ve ever read this blog before you’ll know how much I love and admire Ms. Hepburn – so this film, her first starring role, is an unsurprising start to the list. You can’t watch this without falling in love with Audrey, who takes us on a whirlwind tour through the beautiful city of Rome, as a Princess escaping from her royal responsibilities and tasting a life of freedom. The film mostly takes place over the course of the Princess’s one day in Rome and, for me, the true beauty of the film lies with the “Carpe Diem” feeling you walk away with. Princess Ann manages to do everything she’s ever wished to do in the space of 24 hours, which makes me feel like I want to jump up, get a haircut, ride a scooter, dine al fresco and venture through the cities of Rome too.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
There should be some form of law that prohibits poseurs from owning that iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster until they’ve watched the movie. This drives me absolutely mad – please do not buy film posters unless you have actually seen the film; that is really the pinnacle of pretentiousness. It’s a fantastic film that deserves to be treasured beyond a still of Audrey with her coffee, pastry and Givenchy dress. Although the movie is classifiably a comedy, there are many poignant moments and messages about the main characters’ quest for happiness and finding themselves; initially lost in loneliness and confusion, they eventually realise that they can find happiness in each other. This is a movie you have to watch more than once to get to the heart of (in your first watch, you are far too seduced by Hepburn’s charm and beauty to realise how very sad her character is, you see). Oh, and there’s a cat in it. You can’t beat a movie with a cat.
The Graduate (1967)
This is the movie that made me realise how amazing Dustin Hoffman is. Even in this day and age we can still relate to his character of Benjamin Braddock; a confused graduate, stuck somewhere on the bridge to adulthood, unable to make the transition and move forward. Like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, this movie juggles comedy and tragedy: witty lines and deadpan humour mixed with affairs, ennui and helplessness. I think one of the most classic scenes in the history of cinema is that final scene when Ben and Elaine board the bus and their joyful expressions slowly fade to blank, worried stares as Simon and Garfunkel’s brilliant soundtrack kicks in. Whether you’re a graduate or not, give this movie a watch.
The premise of this movie, a 12 year old wishing he could be a grown-up and -hey presto- wakes up next day as a man, is not hugely original. However, this film, particularly due to Tom Hanks’ stellar performance, pulls off the body swap storyline far more brilliantly than any other. The message of not growing up too fast and appreciating your childhood rings clear (hear that kids?), even twenty five years after its release. It’s such a sweet, clever and funny film – you won’t regret a watch!
The fact that this doesn’t have an amazing IMDB rating (only 6.5!?) is one of the great injustices of life. This film is a beautiful “what if” sequel to my favourite book (I am of course talking of Peter Pan) and perfectly captures the essence of childhood adventures and teaches us to never lose that youthful “Peter Pan” element in ourselves. The sets are grand on every scale – so if you decide to watch this movie, please take a moment to admire the production – I couldn’t imagine a better Neverland. Hook has been my favourite film since I saw it as a very little person and trust me – I haven’t grown up.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Christmas is my favourite time of year and for me, it’s not Christmas without Miracle on 34th Street (and controversially it’s the 1994 remake that I love). I fell in love with the cast; Sir Richard Attenborough, for me, will always be Father Christmas (alas it means I will refuse to watch anything else he is in, for fear of ruining the illusion); Mara Wilson is fantastic in everything, especially as cynical six year old Susan; Elizabeth Perkins plays her workaholic mother, who takes the fun and magic out of Christmas with her honest approach to childrearing; and you immediately fall in love with Dylan McDermott, the endearing neighbour/ kick-ass lawyer. There’s a strong message about maintaining children’s innocence and faith (especially when it comes to Santa) and this is certainly a message I’ve taken onboard – at the age of 22, I still like to believe in Father Christmas. Really. As a side note: I really love the costumes, which hold a very 1940s vibe (despite the fact the movie seems to be set in 1994).
Amélie is an innocent, lonely and strange girl (thanks to a solitary childhood) who lives in Paris and works as a waitress. Without wanting to reveal too much of the plot, a series of events take place that lead her to decide to take justice into her own hands and help those around her. Along the way she falls in love with an equally eccentric and lonely man and creates elaborate plans to meet and learn more about him. The movie is in French, but the story is so quirky and absorbing that you quickly forget you are reading subtitles. It’s a quirky and heart warming story that always inspires me to help others and deal justice – in the most complex and anonymous way possible, a là Amélie, of course.
Legally Blonde (2001)
You can be anyone you want to be; do anything you want to do. That’s the inspirational message I get from this movie. Reese Witherspoon does an amazing job transitioning from a blonde Sorority Queen to a top of the class Law student who uses her “Cosmo Girl” knowledge to her advantage. Behind it’s pink fluffy shell, this is a tale of empowerment, determination and strength. It’s such an enjoyable film that has me laughing from start to finish, as well as making me feel like I could conquer the world. Really, what more could you ask?
Love Actually (2003)
Technically this is another Christmas movie, but let’s not dwell on that. This may be one of Richard Curtis’ best films – high praise, as I love everything he makes. The ensemble cast is a real high point for me: Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy, Liam Neeson… suffice it to say – the cast is most excellent. The film revolves around various ‘stories’ of individuals/couples/families in the lead-up to Christmas and whilst being cheeky, witty and hilarious, it is also heart-warming, charming and honest. It’s something I can watch again and again and again, which to me, suggests a very good film.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
For so long did we all hold the image of Sherlock Holmes as a dignified pipe-smoking, deerstalker hat wearing gent (the result of Basil Rathbone’s iconic portrayal ebbing into the public consciousness I should think). Would we have ever imagined Robert Downey Jr’s zany depiction to be a more accurate Holmes? A Holmes who is a bare-knuckle boxer and a master of disguise with a bit of a drug habit? This is actually a much more faithful portrayal of Conan-Doyle’s Holmes and frankly, it’s a lot more interesting. The role is played spectacularly by Robert Downey Jr , and Jude Law makes a Superb Dr Watson. Their bromance style partnership a key element of the movie and absolutely hilarious. If you’re looking for some awesome action scenes, a clever plot and magnetic leading men, this is the film for you. Note: the sequel is just as good, if not better!
This post will drag on far too long if I keep writing explanations, so I’d like to just list a few other noteworthy films: Funny Face (1957), Doctor Zhivago (1965), One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Tootsie (1982), Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Forrest Gump (1994), The Parent Trap (1997), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), (500) Days of Summer (2009), Submarine (2010) and Anna Karenina (2012).
The inspiration for this post stems from a conversation with Queenie from Peanutbutter and Mussels – so Queenie, this is for you!