1. The Hurt Locker. I know this won best picture, but I feel like a lot of people haven't seen this yet. It follows a team of soldiers in Iraq who get called in to deal with explosives. It's just a really well done film, not too suspenseful, very compelling.
2. Mansfield Park. This film is only loosely based on Jane Austen's novel of the same name. I saw the movie first and then read the book and personally, I prefer the movie (sorry, Jane). Fanny Price is poor and sent to live with her rich cousins. She falls for cousin Edmund but can he ever love her back? There's unrequited love and longing glances and Jonny Lee Miller. Love it!
3. Passengers. I'd never heard of this movie until we recently found it on Starz. It's a clever mystery (again, not too suspenseful) about a plane crash that kept us guessing until a satisfying conclusion.
4. Swept from the Sea. I love this movie! It's a beautiful story about love and kindness between a lonely woman and a shipwrecked man. Great cast--Rachel Weisz, Ian McKellen, Kathy Bates.
5. Once. How can I describe this little gem? Street musician guy meets foreign rose-selling girl and they discover a mutual love of music and become friends. It's sweet, it's complicated, it's got great music--check it out!6.Persuasion. Another Jane Austen adaptation, this one very true to the novel. Anne Elliott loved Wentworth back when they were young and he was poor but she was persuaded to give him up. Fast forward 15 years and they meet up again and it's all awkwardness and bitterness and longing. (I feel like everyone has seen Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility; Persuasion is less well-known, a little harder to follow on first viewing, but oh so worth it!)
7. A Walk to Remember. Bad boy (Shane West) meets good girl (Mandy Moore), opposites attract. Well, it's a little more complicated than that. Sweet, moral, good singing. If you like chick flicks, this is a good one.
These last 3 are all M. Night Shyamalan movies. Everybody's seen The Sixth Sense but you may have missed these three that I think are even better.**
8. Signs. A widower (Mel Gibson) and his family discover crop circles in their cornfield. This is one of my favorite movies--it's about a lot more than aliens. It has a few scary moments, but Shyamalan has a way of warning you that something's about to happen, so even a wimp like me can handle it.
9. The Village. Again, this was billed as a monster movie, but it's much more than that. As Netflix describes, it's about "an isolated village whose residents face the constant threat of evil creatures." But really it's about friendship, love, family--and great storytelling.
10. Lady in the Water. Who markets this stuff?! This is a wonderful movie that nobody saw. It's a fable: an apartment manager (Paul Giamatti) meets a sea nymph and tries to help her return home. A great little story, compelling from start to finish.
**Yes, we are big Shyamalan fans, but do not, I repeat, DO NOT rent The Happening. It's AWFUL.
So what do you think--have I convinced you to go rent some of these? Do you agree with my assessment of those you have seen? What are some of your faves that I should check out?
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