Films I Liked in 2013
The last year has thrown a lot of films at us. And with so much choice, I had to be more selective about what I went to see. I found it incredibly difficult to pick just five films to talk about, and many films I loved missed the cut. Only at the very last minute did I cut out films like Filth, and The Place Beyond the Pines, and I was unsure whether or not to include previews I saw for 2014 releases. But hey, making it into my top five has got to be tough hasn’t it?
When I heard “French lesbian film”, I honestly expected something a bit sultrier. I have never really been one for romantic films, and I have never known one to be this sensitive and honest. Maybe if more romance films were as tender as this, and less idyllic, then I would be more of a fan. The film follows the life of a schoolgirl, as she grows up and figures out who she is with the help of an older, self-assured, lesbian art student. Time passes, and the relationship flows through its natural path, as the audience rides along through the pain and pleasure that comes along with it. It was a refreshing representation of love in cinema, and I think possibly very important to those passing through a similar stage in their lives. Blue felt like a symbol of the excitement of self-discovery, but a man on the bus pointed out to me that blue is, in fact, the colour of Viagra.
If you haven’t yet come across Greta Gerwig, it’s high time you did, and frankly, I can think of no better introduction. Gerwig is Frances. A 27 year old failed dancer, living in New York and desperately clinging onto her old college life. Written in co. with Noah Baumbach; one of the emerging members of the filmmaking frat pack, Frances Ha is a charming and cheerful film. Still living in the idyllic daze of her college days, Frances is learning that it is no longer cute to yell ‘Ahoy, Sexy!” at her friends and acquaintances. Despite her unemployment and homelessness, Frances manages to maintain her quirky disposition, which I found pretty heartening. I couldn’t help but pick up on the ‘girl power’ element of this film, and I now can’t stop dancing around my bedroom to ‘Modern Love’.
Chances are, you know this one. Gravity was one of the most highly anticipated films of the year, conquering themes of space, Depression, and the origins of life. It was one astronaut’s struggle against the odds at the edge of our atmosphere, after the rest of her team are taken out by rouge space debris. Christened with five stars from multiple critics, Gravity had an awful lot to live up to, and boy, oh boy, it did. It was an intense thrill ride that will paralyse you in your seat from title to credits. But it also dove a little deeper, into the realm of the human condition, as we learn more about this lone astronaut, clinging dearly onto her life. This was a tough contender for my favourite film of the year, and while it narrowly missed out this year, it has definitely earned its’ place among my all time favourites.
I went to see Nebraska on a whim on my day off from work. It was windy and rainy, I was home alone, and I wanted something uplifting. So I wrapped myself in coats and scarves and made myself a nest in the Gate Picturehouse (which is easily one of the nicest cinemas in London). This film felt like the warm mug of coffee I needed on this wintery day. It got off to a slow start, but it pushed itself down a dry and witty highway, full of emotion, regret, and it forged a bond between an inattentive father and his son. It had that comforting charm that you can only wish for from very few films; and comforting feels like an odd word to use, considering a lot of the plot involves elderly people fighting over money. But you come to love these stubborn, old characters, and watching them come to terms with their life choices is a bittersweet delight.
Where do I even begin? This film had completely escaped my notice until the very end of the year, and it is one of the most satisfying discoveries I have had in a long time. I love it when a film demands that you use your brain, but Upstream Colour not only demanded that I use my brain to figure out the plot, but I was to become aware of my senses, and become fully absorbed in the movements and emotions of the world the Shane Currah has created. The film was highly evocative, and it is probably possible to enjoy the film just by feeling it. These two protagonists have been drawn to each other, as their lives unravel, completely beyond their control, and all linked by a pure form of life. This is only the second film that Currah has given us, and given that Primer came out ten years ago, it’s clear to see that no time has been wasted here.