Do you feel like you need to take a moment, let it all go and bawl your eyes out? Well, you’ve come to the right place! These four films are guaranteed to delve deep into your human side and touch your emotions like they’ve never been touched before. And with that melancholic introduction out of the way, let’s get on with the list. In no particular order…
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)
Dear Zachary takes the cake as one of the most powerful yet underappreciated films. Written and directed by Kurt Kuenne, this is the saddest film I have ever seen. I don’t want to mention anything else and risk giving it all away, but running at only 90 minutes, this movie will truly take you on an emotional rollercoaster. The fact that it only took $20,000 at the box office is an injustice to the film community. Thankfully, it’s on Netflix now so you have no reason not to see this film – that is unless you don’t want to die a little bit on the inside. A tremendous film and one of those rare 10/10’s. Go see it.
There’s a reason why Her won the academy award for best original screenplay; it’s a film that is well ahead of its time. Centred around the life of a lonely, introverted man (Joaquín Phoenix), Her explores his new love with the world’s first artificial intelligence operating system. Anyone who refers to this film as the one about the guy who falls in love with his computer, is simply downgrading it to a level that is unworthy of the greatness of writer/director Spike Jonze. It deals with relationships from every aspect, and you’ll feel like you’ve experienced the full highs and lows of one by the end of it. I love everything about this movie from its futuristic landscapes to its way of making you feel the present. Another 10/10 film.
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Grave of the Fireflies by writer and director Isao Takahata comes from one of the best production companies in the world, Studio Ghibli. Although almost 30 years old, Grave of the Fireflies still holds up as a serious tear jerker. The premise is based on the lives of two children in the final months of the Second World War in Japan. Yet again, set at only 90 minutes long, this film doesn’t stray away from its dark subject matter for a moment, and whilst seemingly appearing as a children’s film, it is far from it. That’s all I’m going to say about it to avoid spoiling it further.
Written and directed by promising Canadian filmmaker, Xavier Dolan, Mommy tells the story of a mother struggling to control her delinquent teenage son. Shot with a handheld camera, in a 1:1 aspect ratio, the film represents a completely unique experience; one that doesn’t serve as a pretentious work of art striving to stand out. The reason behind Dolan’s choice to shoot in such a ratio becomes depressingly clear throughout the film. It’s a very smart choice, in fact, everything in this film feels smart and fully realised to the point where you almost wish it wasn’t because the outcome is brutal to watch. Even if you think you can see something coming, the next second you’ll be proven wrong. A beautiful film with powerful performances from its three central actors.
Images courtesy of Sony Pictures, Sharmill Films, Madman Entertainment & Oscilloscope