Back in the day, moviegoers called chick flicks “women’s pictures.” Make sure you have a box of tissues handy as you watch these melodramatic tearjerkers. For an excellent discussion of the genre, visit AMC’s filmsite.org.
Some of my favorites include:
Based on a true story, Queen of Katwe follows the journey of Phiona (Madina Nalwanga), a young girl living in Katwe, an impoverished area of the Ugandan capital. At age 10, Phiona and her brother Brian discover the Pioneers, a missionary program where Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) teaches underprivileged children the game of chess. Very quickly, Phiona proves herself a chess mastermind, and it is her talent, along with that of some of her classmates, which prompts Katende to push that the children be allowed to compete in African and international chess championships, even though the children have never attended school and many cannot read or write.
The inspiring aspect of this story lies less in Phiona’s rise to become a Woman Candidate Master, and more in the struggles of her family and the sacrifices they must make for the game. Phiona’s mother Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o) especially makes hard choices for the sake of her family and there are no shortage of obstacles for this young, single mother, but she, like her daughter, is a champion, bringing heart and a happy ending to this biographical film.
Whether you need a pick-me-up or are just in the mood for a solid escapist comedy, Legally Blonde is the movie for you. Sorority girl Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is graduating college and anticipating a proposal from Warner; instead, he dumps her for not being “serious enough.” Elle hatches a plan to win back Warner—she heads to Harvard Law School and learns life lessons both in and out of the classroom. A feel-good movie about girl power, Legally Blonde has more substance than you might think.
Costarring Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Jennifer Coolidge, and Victor Garber.
Scenes in this Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline romantic comedy had me laughing out loud. Terrified of flying, Kate musters her courage and flies to Paris after her fiancé falls for a French woman. On the plane, she meets charming petty thief Luc, who sees in her a way he can smuggle a necklace in to the country. He soon becomes involved in her love life. The leads have great comedy timing and chemistry. French Kiss is delightful, clever, and fun.
A gripping true story about a man who stood for his convictions while defending his country, Hacksaw Ridge details the life and service of Desmond Doss. A conscientious objector, Doss refused to bear arms. Nevertheless, like many others, he volunteered to join the army after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a combat medic, Doss’s heroics saved 75 lives during a WWII battle. Just a warning: the combat scenes (which start about halfway through) are quite graphic.
Hacksaw Ridge won Oscars for film editing and sound mixing. Andrew Garfield (actor) and Mel Gibson (director) received Oscar nominations.
Learn more about the true story of the first conscientious objector to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor in an NPR article and Army history.
A gripping movie that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end, Sully is based on a true story: on January 15, 2009, after a bird strike killed both engines, Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III landed his US Airways plane on the Husdon River in New York City. All 155 people on board survived.
Knowing about “the miracle on the Hudson” will not dull your interest in Sully. Starring Tom Hanks (Sully) and Aaron Eckhart (Jeff Skiles, his copilot) and directed by Clint Eastwood, the film focuses on the humble hero during the water landing and the subsequent chaos. This heartwarming drama is so worth an uninterrupted screening (or two).
Based on the autobiographical memoir Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters.
Following the life of Chiron from childhood to adulthood, Moonlight tackles his mother’s drug addiction, his father figure’s shady business, bullies, and growing up gay in a world that hates you for being different. Every scene is beautifully shot and phenomenally acted, with memorable performances from Mahershala Ali, Naomi Harris, and all three actors who play Chiron: Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhoades. This film won three Oscars at the 2017 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali).
Join us on Friday, June 2nd at 7pm for a showing of this movie at Out@theLibrary, our new LGBTQIA program series. We will show the movie and serve popcorn, and afterwards, discuss of the film and LGBTQIA issues.
Amy Adams portrays Margaret Keane, creator of the Big Eyed Waifs, whose talent was unrecognized for years, while her husband Walter (played by Christoph Waltz) took all the credit. Big Eyes follows their romance and the eventual deterioration of their marriage as Walter’s drinking, mental health, and the lie they lived became more than Margaret could bear. After reading The Muse by Jessie Burton about a fictitious couple who hide behind the same type of artistic ruse, one wonders how often this has occurred throughout art history. How many great women artists have had to hide their talent with a man’s signature?
This is Al Pacino at his best. As a New York City cop, he sees corruption all around him. When he refuses to extort money from criminals, his fellow officers turn against him. When he tries to do his job, he experiences vengeance in the worst form. A grand jury inquiry only makes things worse.
Based on a true story, Serpico helped to bring corruption into the headlines. The gritty realism of the film shows the versatile actor in a character that will stay with you long after the film ends.
Directed by Sidney Lumet. Based on the Peter Maas book of the same name.
Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) finds growing up in today’s modern world challenging, especially in the shadow of her next-to-perfect older brother Darian (Blake Jenner). This coming of age tale in the vein of The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles is candid and honest with humorous moments of what it’s like to be a teenager who just wants to have a real conversation with another human being in person and not through social media and their phone.
Her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) is busy with her own problems and oblivious to her daughter’s obvious struggles with school, friends, and social life. To make matters worse, her brother and her best friend find a romantic connection—which sends Nadine over the edge. Her one and only confidant, her history teacher (Woody Harrelson), seems to be the only constant in her life who actually pays her any real attention until one day the unexpected friendship of a thoughtful boy gives her a glimmer of hope.
If you enjoyed Juno, watch The Edge of Seventeen.