Film Recommendations

Following are recent films that may be of interest to members by virtue of their psychological substance:

  • 12 Years a Slave (2013) – Director Steve McQueen.  A view of slavery from the viewpoint of an educated free man in the north with a family who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1800′s.
  • 56 UP (2012) – Michael Apted documentary about a group of Britons that have been followed every seven years since they were seven years old.
  • August:  Osage County (2013).  Director John Wells.  Vivid picture of a dysfunctional family after a crisis.
  • Before Midnight (2013) – Director Richard Linklater.  The third in a series about a couple who meet on a train, years later fall in love and marry, and now deal with their relationships in mid-life.
  • Blue Jasmine (2013) – Director Woody Allen.  A wealthy woman gradually decompensates after the loss of a fortune, and she is forced to live with her middle class sister.  A clash of cultures representative of our time.
  • Boyhood (2014) – Director Richard Linklater.  From age four to eighteen, Linklater wrote a fictional story about his growing-up years, through parents’ marriages, divorces, and other problems.  Topical for this time.
  • Calvary (2014) – UK writer/director John Michael McDonagh. Ordinary human beings in the process of confronting and dealing with their anger and with death. A film for those willing to ponder and discuss some of the weightier issues of human existence.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) – Director Matt Reeves. Commentary on the interactions between humans and apes, and astute observations about their similarities.
  • Disconnect (2012) – Director Henry Alex Rubin.  Drama illustrating the hazards of internet usage by people of mixed ages who are not completely aware of its potential.
  • Don Jon (2013) – Writer-director-actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  A look at porn addiction in a macho man.  Both funny and substantive.
  • Enough Said (2013).  Director Nicole Holofcener.  Divorcees with daughters heading to college try to develop a relationship.
  • Hellion (2014) – Director Kat Candler.  A story of grief in a family in which the mother has died, and the grief is acted out in various ways by different family members.
  • Her (2013).  Director Spike Jonze.  A lonely writer’s life is jazzed up by a computer program with a woman’s voice giving him just what he needs:  an ideal companion.
  • I Declare War (2013).  Canadian Directors Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson.  Twelve year-olds playing war games explore leadership, friendship, rules, planning, and strategy.
  • If I Stay (2014) – Director R. J. Cutler. The best film based on a young adult novel so far. Provides a good model of parenting, understanding and appreciating differences, problem-solving, and family life.
  • In the House (Dans la maison) (2012) – A budding teenage writer gets extra lessons from his English teacher and tutors a classmate whose life he admires.  About dual relationships and the issue of confidentiality.
  • Life Itself (2014) – Director Steve James based on Film Critic Roger Ebert’s memoir. The documentary goes beyond the memoir, showing Ebert’s life toward the end. Ebert presents a fine model for coping with a disastrous illness.
  • Locke (2014) – Director Steven Knight.  A man driving on an all-important mission has to deal with other major dramas in his life in multiple tense conversations on the phone.
  • Mud (2012) – Writer-director Jeff Nichols – A mysterious man with a bad reputation on a small island requests the help of two 14 year-old boys.  Explores different forms of love.
  • The Other Son (Le fils de l’autre) (2012) – Directed by Lorraine Levy.  A wrenching story about two young men—one Palestinian and one Israeli—whose families discover they were switched at birth.
  • The Patience Stone (2013).  Afghanistan director Atiq Rahimi.  In the process of confessing everything to her comatose husband, a young woman comes to grips with her life experiences and changes into a much more confident and realistic person.
  • The Railway Man (2014) – Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky.  A British soldier has PTSD following torture by the Japanese at the end of WWII.  Years later, he has the opportunity to confront one of the perpetrators.
  • Snowpiercer (2013) – South Korean writer/director Joon-ho Bong. A view of a dystopian world after a weather experiment goes wrong and the earth is covered with ice and snow. One man with foresight constructed a long train that now accommodates all survivors, albeit in strict social classes. Those at the end of the train are servants, some of whom make plans to get to the front.
  • Stories We Tell (2012) – Writer-director Sarah Polley, Canadian.  Dramatization of her family’s life, based on family members’ and her memories.  A major discovery is made.
  • Third Person (2013) – UK writer/director Paul Haggis. “There is always a third person in any relationship”, he says, and demonstrates this among three different sets of characters. He chronicles difficulties with belief and trust in the couples, the disconnects that often occur, and most of all, how children are often forgotten in the mix.
  • Words and Pictures (2014) – Director Fred Schepisi.  Two prep school teachers have a running argument about the importance of words vs. pictures.  Side issues include the students’ reactions, alcoholism, and physical debilitation.