“Anna Karenina” (2012)
Directed by Joe Wright
Starring Keira Knightley, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Jude Law
Based on my favorite book, Joe Wright’s adaptation of the famous and tragic story by Tolstoy is magnificent. I love the way it portrays Russian society as theatre, as if people are not people but instead, just players on a stage. The dance choreography is flawless, the costumes are impeccable. Domhnall Gleeson beautifully portrays my favorite character, Levin, and the chemistry between Anna and Vronsky is spot-on. This is the perfect choice for a day of lavish cinema.
“Marie Antoinette” (2006)
Directed by Sofia Coppola
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Judy Davis
As an accompaniment to this film, I like to make a batch of pastries and pour champagne. Sofia Coppola is brilliant when it comes to portraying the different facets of femininity, particularly in Marie Antoinette. It may not be the most historically traditional way to tell the story of Marie Antoinette. But, I find that it has a way of capturing her innocence in such a way that it helps viewers grasp the fact that Marie Antoinette, a woman condemned for her frivolity and alleged political wrongdoings, was merely a fifteen year old girl when she married into the French royal family.
“Gosford Park” (2001)
Directed by Robert Altman
Starring Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith
When a book or film was written by Julian Fellowes, one can expect a certain cast of characters to cavort around some luxurious locale. In the case of Gosford Park, a murder mystery, the characters have gathered for a shooting party at the home of William McCordle. The film follows the upstairs/downstairs characters during the investigation of a murder that takes place during the shooting party. As per usual, Fellowes tells an interesting story of class in England.
“The Darjeeling Limited” (2007)
Directed by Wes Anderson
Starring Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson
Like several other Wes Anderson films, The Darjeeling Limited invokes a strong sense of wanderlust with its imagery of India. The brothers–Peter, Francis, and Jack–cavort around the Indian provinces and encounter all sorts of Andersonian adventures. It certainly makes me want to visit India even more than I already do. I have a grand infatuation with Waris Ahluwalia, so that’s an added bonus. P.S. The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Life Aquatic are perfectly acceptable substitutions for this film.
“Before Sunrise” (1995) / “Before Sunset” (2004) / “Before Midnight” (2013)
Directed by Richard Linklater
Starring Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke
For me, this trilogy will always be a go-to, regardless of my mood or the occasion. I absolutely never get tired of them. The dialogue is complete perfection and the chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy (whose character I love so deeply) is unbelievable. But, aside from being a romantic series, these movies are sure to induce an undeniable wanderlust. The first is set in Vienna, the second in Paris, the third in the Peloponnese region of Greece. Since the characters do nothing but wander around the respective cities in all three films, I feel that they are able to capture the distinct “feeling” of each place in a way that most movies cannot. I’m predicting that the fourth may be set in New York, but who knows?
Directed by Lars von Trier
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Say what you will about Lars von Trier, but I enjoyed Melancholia simply because it was so different than any other movie I’d seen at that point. Melancholia is a big movie–over 2 hours long with sweeping, dramatic shots leading to an apocalypse (spoiler or no?)–which serves as a metaphor for depression, something that may seem commonplace, but which is all-consuming for the sufferer. Although, I found the film intriguing regardless of its metaphoric ideas.
“How I Live Now” (2013)
Directed by Kevin MacDonald
Starring Saoirse Ronan, George MacKay
Okay, I have some problems with the romantic relationship in this movie which will become clear when you watch it. But overall, it’s a rather interesting film based on the book by Meg Rosoff. Daisy, a stereotypical surly teen, is sent to live with her aunt and cousins in England. Just as she begins to accept her new surroundings, the country is flung into the midst of a war. I found the perspective interesting, as it focused in on the individual characters as opposed to the actual details of the war. The movie has a way of keeping the viewer in the dark about the war for the entire length of the film in a way that allows you to relate more easily to the characters. I definitely cried during this movie. I should really start adding a little teardrop emoticon next to every movie to which I have wept.
Part 3 is in the works!