Short Term 12: A Heart-rending Indie Drama

Just as I promised on Instagram (as soon NaNoWriMo was over, I’d be back) … here I am! Turns out it can be a bit tricky to juggle both writing a novel and blogging regularly, but December’s here and we’re back in business. I have a rule of sorts that come December 1st ’tis the season to watch Christmas movies; however, this time I want to recommend you a non-Christmas movie (there’s plenty of time for holiday films)—Short Term 12 (2013).

Why Short Term 12?

Short Term 12 (2013) is one of those movies you might’ve heard about but didn’t have enough info on to give it a chance.

First of all, it stars Brie Larson, one of the most talented younger actresses of today who literally outshines every single movie she’s in. (For reference see also: Free Fire. An entirely mediocre film that should’ve been great, but thank God for Brie Larson!) Still, Brie’s definitely not alone in this; all the other performances are just as convincing and raw.

Secondly, Short Term 12‘s one of those dramas I’d actually play in schools as part of mandatory education. Both children and adults would have a lot to learn from it, especially on the topic of dealing with trauma and its complexity and the no-bullshit, sincere ways of approaching kids with difficult life experiences (that’s a euphemism, by the way; these kids really don’t have it easy in the slightest).

Brie Larson in Short Term 12 (2013)

Thirdly, it’s a gorgeous indie movie from start to finish. It brims with warmth and hope, even at its bleakest. Not everyone will react to it the same way, surely, but it managed to shake me to my core in a cathartic, beautiful way and if it does the same to you, then mission accomplished. Plus, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it for hours (or days) to come. That’s a promise.

When to Watch Short Term 12

So, when should you watch Short Term 12?

  • When in the mood for a (heavier) drama.
  • When in the mood for crying and a bit of heartbreak.
  • When you’re tired of huge Hollywood movies and would much rather watch a quiet indie flick with semi-unknown actors (who are well on their way to becoming the next Big Stars, if their talent is any indicator).
  • When in the mood for slower, but stellar storytelling.
  • When you just want to stay in bed, hugging nothing but a box of Kleenex or whichever brand of tissues works best for you.

Oh, It’s Crying Time Again… If You’re Like Me, That Is

I understand this movie may not be everyone’s cup of tea (but is any movie?). Still, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and, more importantly, hope to see you aboard the Brie Larson Is Amazing train, if you aren’t already on it. That’s it from me for now and I’ll see you soon, lazy Sundayers!

Gif disclaimer: Curse you, Google, for linking to Giphy instead of the original source! So, simply tell me the gif is yours and I’ll gladly credit you.

 

Begin Again: If Movies Were Warm Hugs

All right, I’ll admit it: people who know me probably saw this one coming from a mile off and, at the risk of being 100% predictable, here I am, ready to share one of my go-to feel-good movies with you—Begin Again (2013).

What Makes Begin Again Worth Your Time

Boy, oh boy! The truth is there aren’t that many movies like this one and it’s a damn shame. You know that feeling when the world seems just about as black as the longest, darkest tunnel you’ve no idea how to get out of? Well, Begin Again has known to turn the light back on for me and get me the hell out of that wretched tunnel.

I love that this movie celebrates music and art and emotions. I love that it feels like a warm hug after a particularly bad day. I love that it’s got Mark Ruffalo (Mark Fluffalo) and Keira Knightley and New York City as its main stars.

Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley in Begin Again (2013)

For me, Begin Again is not just one of the many lazy Sunday movies; it’s the Sunday afternoon movie. Warm, without being sappy; romantic, without being predictable; cozy and lovely and so very, very kind. Can movies be kind? I think so. I feel like this movie treats me well. And isn’t that just, well, kind?

When to Watch Begin Again

Wow, that previous paragraph sounded like the end of the post, but we haven’t even got to the whens. So, when should you watch Begin Again? (I love this part!)

  • Always. I really do believe I could watch it anytime and enjoy it just as much as I did on the first watch.
  • When you lose faith in humanity because Begin Again—mark my words—will restore it!
  • When you’re alone and need a film to keep you company.
  • When you’ve already seen the movie and want to share it with your best friend.
  • When you’re in the laziest Sunday pajamas mode ever.
  • When you’re happy and sad and everything in between.
  • When you feel like falling in love.

Your Turn to Be Hugged

I hope Begin Again leaves a mark on you the way it did on me the first time I saw it. I just sat there, shook and grateful and a bit enamoured. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just wish you a wonderful time and may it become one of your favourite lazy Sunday afternoon movies, too!

Disclaimer: Your gif? Tell me and I’ll credit you right away.

Carol (2015): A Most Personal Photograph of Two People in Love

And now for something completely different, but just as ideal for a slow weekend at home—Todd Haynes’ Carol (2015).

Why You Should Watch Carol

Carol is, quite simply, a gorgeous film. Between the stellar, yet subtly touching performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara and the movie’s wistful soundtrack, Carol is a magnificent journey from start to finish. I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it and I truly can’t wait for you to experience them, too.

Rooney Mara in Carol (2015)

Furthermore, Carol belongs in a very special movie category in my mind that only a handful of films befit, movies like A Single Man (2009), The Hours (2002), Moonlight (2016), In the Mood for Love (2000). Each gorgeous in its own way, each deeply intimate. They will make you feel like you’re falling straight into someone’s very personal photograph and being immersed in their lives so intensely, so wholly.

When to Watch Carol (2015)

We’ve covered the whys. Let’s move on to the whens.

  • Watch Carol when in the mood for a tender, intimate, sincere love story.
  • When life gets slow, so comfortably slow.
  • On a rainy, melancholy afternoon.
  • When you’re feeling alone and lonely, but don’t really want to change that state of mind.
  • When you need to feel serene.
  • At Christmastime.

All right, your turn—is Carol your choice of a lazy Sunday afternoon movie? And, in case this is your first encounter with the film, don’t forget to let me know how it made you feel. Bonus points if there’s a tear or two!

Disclaimer, yet again: Your gif? Let me know, I’ll be delighted to credit you. Piece of cake.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: An Underrated Comfort Flick

Phew! First of all, let me say how absolutely giddy I am after reading your super kind words on my first movie rec post. Not to be overdramatic, but I love every single one of you. What’s more, I took the first piece of constructive feedback I’d received seriously and decided that, yes, I am going to (strive to) post film suggestions more often than just once per week. So, here I am a mere three days after my first film recommendation, armed with yet another feel-good flick: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013).

Why You Should Watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

You know what Walter Mitty is? An extremely underappreciated movie no one ever talks about (or at least they never do around me). I don’t know if it’s because the film failed to show up on most people’s radars or if you simply don’t trust Ben Stiller the Director, but I for one believe it’s a lovely “comfort-food” movie. Which brings us to the most important bit or when and why I think you should give Walter Mitty a shot:

  • Colours, colours, colours! If you like your cinematography practically edible, this is the movie for you!
  • For when you’re in the mood for something funny, but not a “proper” ha-ha comedy.
  • Perfect for blanket weather; you snuggle up in your bed and let Walter go on the adventure of his life, while you clutch a cup of cocoa in your hands and stuff on popcorn or, say, waffles. Whatever does the trick.
  • Iceland. That’s it. Trust me.
  • Gorgeous indy soundtrack.
  • Because it’s unexpectedly warm, inspiring in its own way and uplifting.
  • Tired of cynicism? Go for it, my dude!

What About the 1947 Walter Mitty?

Here’s a disclaimer (boy, it sure feels like I love those, doesn’t it?): I haven’t seen the original and therefore cannot compare the 2013 version to the 1947 film starring legendary Danny Kaye. It might be that the original is better—as they often are—and that my appreciation of Stiller’s take on the source material stems directly from lack of comparison, but… perhaps it’s for the best.

Enjoyable and Silly? Okay!

To sum up, is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) an A+ film? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Not in the mood for a heavy Oscar-bait drama? Need something slightly silly and unburdening for a lazy Sunday afternoon? The Secret Life of Walter Mitty might be the answer. Just make sure you tell me all about it later, too!

Disclaimer pt.2: Again, if you’re the creator of the gif used, tell me and I’ll happily credit you (it does link to tumblr, but not a specific post, so).