It’s yet another long weekend. Yas, Nigerians! I’m not about to complain about extra sleep time. If I had the power, I’d probably propose a 4-day work week so the 3-day weekend becomes an official thing. Who’s with me?
If you’re in Lagos, then you most likely already know that it’s a beehive of activities this weekend, but what I think is most exciting, is the Lights Camera Africa!!! Film Festival which began yesterday. Three days of free films, yo! Here’s a list of all the films showing + time slots, so you can decide which one(s) you want to see and make your way to Victoria Island in time to catch it.
If you’re not in Lagos though (or you’re like me and have no plans to step out of your bedroom), I gatchyu! Binge-watching movies from the comfort of my bed + wine + chocolates + cuddles (yes, the pillow counts), sounds like a great idea. So I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite (mostly Indie) romantic movies. Chances are there’ll be at least one movie on the list you haven’t seen or would love to watch again. You’re welcome.
There are two reasons why you should watch this one. First, it’s a French Film (with subtitles, of course). Second, it’s the gorgeous Audrey Tautou! Gorgeous Audrey speaking gorgeous French, what’s not to love? Okay, I admit this wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste, but ‘P made me watch it and I loved it. So I’m making you watch it too.
Blurb: Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and along the way, discovers love.
Written and Directed by Richard Curtis, the same guy who wrote, “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, “Notting Hill” and “Bridget Jones’ Diary”. I think that’s enough motivation to see it.
Blurb: Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England. “Love Actually” is a belly-flop into the sea of romantic comedy. It contains about a dozen couples who are in love; that’s an approximate figure because some of them fall out of love and others double up or change partners. There’s also one hopeful soloist who believes that if he flies to Milwaukee and walks into a bar he’ll find a friendly Wisconsin girl who thinks his British accent is so cute she’ll want to sleep with him. This turns out to be true
I remember crying so much when I first saw this movie all those many years ago. Mostly because I’m a mushy head and have tears in my eyes during almost every movie, but also because of the soundtrack and how surprised I was at the greatness of Jon Travolta’s acting in this one (coming off of a series of terrible ones prior).
Blurb: After her mother’s death, jaded teenage loner Purslane Hominy Will returns to New Orleans for the first time in years, ready to reclaim her childhood home. Expecting to find her late mother’s house abandoned, Pursy is shocked to discover that it is inhabited by two of her mother’s friends: Bobby Long, a former literature professor, and his young protege, Lawson Pines. These broken men, whose lives took a wrong turn years before, have been firmly rooted in the dilapidated house for years, encouraged only by Lawson’s faltering ambitions to write a novel about Bobby Long’s life. Having no intention of leaving, Pursy, Bobby Long and Lawson are all forced to live together. Yet as time passes, their tenuous, makeshift arrangement unearths a series of buried personal secrets that challenges their bonds and reveals just how inextricably their lives are intertwined.
I saw this for the first time ten years after it was released. It’s a screen adaptation of Steve Martin’s book and I really liked it.
Blurb: A film adaptation of Steve Martin’s novel about a complex love triangle between a bored salesgirl, a wealthy businessman and an aimless young man.
This is one of my guilty pleasures. Another French film, another Audrey Tautou film. I don’t even care that it’s in many ways cliché, I will watch it again and again and again. (Actually, I watched it again last night)
Blurb: Through a set of wacky circumstances, a young gold digger mistakenly woos a mild-mannered bartender thinking he’s a wealthy suitor.
6. Once (2007)
This is one of my favourite Indie movies of all time. That’s how much I love it. No prize for guessing how many times I’ve seen it. THE MUSIC! Even if you don’t see the film, please, please get the soundtrack.
Blurb: A modern-day musical about a busker and an immigrant and their eventful week in Dublin, as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story.
Another one ‘P made me watch and fall in love with. It’s ten short films put together in an anthology of sorts. Some I love more than others. It’s the sort of movie you should make a movie-night of; get your friends together, one large screen + bean bags + popcorn + cocktails.
Blurb: Several love stories set in one of the most loved cities of the world, New York. The rules: No more than two days’ shooting time. One week of editing. An eight-minute time limit. Ten directors, and one more to consider the 10 short films and create transitions. “New York, I Love You” is the second installment in an ambitious project that began with “Paris, Je T’aime” (2006), an anthology with 13 directors.
7. (b) Paris Je T’aime (2006)
I still prefer the New York version, but that’s not to say this one isn’t loved.
Blurb: Through the neighborhoods of Paris, love is veiled, revealed, imitated, sucked dry, reinvented and awakened.
I don’t care what anyone says, Anne Hathaway will forever have a place in my heart and I fell in love with her all over again after seeing this one. Lone Scherfig did an amazing job as Director. It’s adapted from David Nicholls’ novel of the same name (which I still have on my to-read list). All my friends with English teacher/writer dreams (I’m talking to you, A), this is for you.
Blurb: Based on the David Nicholls best-seller about a boy and girl who graduate from the University of Edinburgh on July 15, 1988, and spend the night together. The story follows them by dropping in on July 15th of their lives for year after year, which is a useful device because it eliminates the need to show us the events of the other days of their years. Success, failure, marriages, divorce, can take place off-screen if necessary. What matters is their accumulating effects.
This one is like comedy with a serious undertow.
Blurb: Few descriptions of “Safety Not Guaranteed” will do it justice. It’s a more ambitious and touching movie than seems possible, given its starting point, which is this classified ad in an alternative newspaper: WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED.
10. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
I really didn’t want to like this one (because I’m still not a J-Law fan) but I couldn’t help myself. It’s a good film. The end.
Blurb: Pat is curiously confident and upbeat for a man just released from a mental hospital and under a restraining order from his wife. That’s because he’s determined to repair the damage he’s done to his life and surprise everyone by moving ever onward and upward. His motto is, “Excelsior!” What stage of bipolar disorder would you guess he’s in?
I am not even ashamed to say how much I love this one (and the book, you guys!).
PS. When does one no longer qualify as a young-adult?
Blurb: The film is based on Stephen Chbosky’s best-selling young-adult novel, which was published in 1999 and is now on many shelves next to The Catcher in the Rye. It offers the rare pleasure of an author directing his own book, and doing it well. The film is about an alienated high-school freshman who sees himself as a chronic outsider and then is befriended by a group of older kids who embrace their nonconformist status.
I had one of those, “Wait, WTF did I just watch?” moments when I first saw this. But I’ve gone back to watch it two more times in the last month or so. I can’t tell you why I like it without giving away spoilers, but if you love the bizarre, this is right up your alley.
Blurb: A pretty original take on a well-known theme; a couple is looking for ways to revitalise their relationship and decides to go on a well-deserved holiday in a luxurious resort. All is well at first, but things start to get stranger as they encounter each other’s idealised doppelgangers. Writer, Justin Lader truly reinvents the worn-out genre by adding a weird sci-fi touch to it while confronting the viewer with hard questions about the sustainability of love and relationships.
13. Song One (2014)
Loved for two reasons; the music and Anne Hathaway.
Blurb: Estranged from her family, Franny returns home when an accident leaves her brother comatose. Retracing his life as an aspiring musician, she tracks down his favorite musician, James Forester. Against the backdrop of Brooklyn’s music scene, Franny and James develop an unexpected relationship and face the realities of their lives.
The Mark Ruffalo + Adam Levine combo is gorgeous overload! Too much for my fragile, fragile heart. Then there’s all of the music. And Keira Knightley’s Anthropologie-esque wardrobe giving me serious life. Those are not the only reasons I recommend this one, I promise. (But even if it were, it should be enough.)
Blurb: Irish director, John Carney, returns to familiar grounds after the renowned Once (2006) with yet another musical romance drama. Central in the story is a young aspiring British singer/songwriter (Knightley) trying to make ends meet in New York City after she broke up with her boyfriend. Just as her wells seems dried up, she meets a once important record producer (Ruffalo) who helps her launching a career. Begin Again works as a joyful celebration of the comforting capacity of music.
Confession: I haven’t seen this one yet. So why am I recommending it? I plan to see it this weekend and it’ll be nice to have company. Also, this review. And, well, Alicia Vikander!
Blurb: Anchored by an extraordinary performance from actress Alicia Vikander, James Kent’s “Testament of Youth” bears comparison to many other superbly mounted costume dramas backed by the BBC, but this one has a special distinction: it chronicles the horrors that World War I inflicted on a generation of young English people from a woman’s perspective.
Bonus: An Affair to Remember (1957)
Because there should be at least one Cary Grant movie on the list. Also, am I the only one with a serious crush on Deborah Kerr’s voice?
There you have it, guys. 15+ movies to choose from. We’re open to recommendations too.
Enjoy your weekend + Happy Independence Day anniversary celebration!