Movies you may have missed


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September 2017: Stronger (Rated R)

Stronger is by the far the most underrated movie of the 21st century. The film is based on the true-story of Jeff Bauman, a survivor of the Boston Bombings, and his struggles as a double-leg amputee after the horrific event. Going in, I expected this movie to be similar to the other true-life dramas made in Hollywood that are overdone; however, this movie is nothing short of a true gem. David Green, the director portrays Jeff Bauman, the main character and his pain and trauma. Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays Bauman, exhibits the human flaws and struggles that he must cope with after the bombings. This movie focuses on such small details, making you feel within the scene. Instead of the usual “survivor” movie where the families are strong and confident that their loved one will recover, Stronger displays a struggling family, who cry constantly, drink too much, and are hopeful, yet terrified for Bauman. Although it is rated “R” for profanity and heavy drinking, it truly adds to the feeling of the “Bostonian” language. This movie is brutally honest with the portrayal of psychological damage and the long road to recovery. You can see Bauman’s challenges, and all the pain he must endure from the burns, and adapting to life as an amputee. Bauman finds himself seen as a figure of hope for Boston. Despite the heartbreaking subject matter, Stronger holds a more impactful message of overcoming even the worst of odds, making  it a must see film.

October 2017: The Mountain Between Us (Rated PG-13)

I had heard some negative comments about this movie, so I was hesitant to watch it; however, the movie The Mountain Between Us pleasantly surprised me. The movie portrays a male doctor, Dr. Ben Bass and a female photographer, Alex Martin, who are complete strangers. Their flight has been cancelled, so together, they decide to catch a small puddle-hopper plane to their destination; however, their pilot has a heart-attack in the air, and the two crash into the mountains with no signal. This movie has its ups and downs, but I enjoyed the overall storyline. The mix of adventure, thrill, and romance blended nicely. The chemistry between the two main characters, played by Will Smith and Kate Winslet, became a bit awkward as the movie progressed, noticeably when the two main characters began forming a romantic relationship; however, that did not keep me from finishing the film. The beautiful scenery, acting, and overall plot of the movie makes it an enjoyable watch.

November 2017: Lady Bird (Rated R)

A true coming of age film, Lady Bird tells the story of a teenage girl living in Sacramento, CA, about to graduate from high school. Played by Saoirse Ronan, Christine “Lady Bird”, changes her first name to Lady Bird, explaining to her teachers that she likes the name because “It was given by myself to myself.” She lives with her brother, sister-in law, mother, and father. Her mother, Marion McPherson (played by Laurie Metcalf), has a complicated relationship with Lady Bird. At times, you can see her mother degrade her; however there are moments in which the two bond and chat like girlfriends, showing the true complexity of their relationship. Lady Bird struggles to see her mother’s true loving intentions. Despite the movie being rated R for profanity and some sexual content, this film exhibits an unembellished truth of the struggles of high school. Most coming of age films display a struggling teen, who, at the end of the movie, has an epiphany. What made this movie stand out is that Lady Bird feels more realistic. Sure, the movie tells the story of a teenage girl, who struggles with her family, school, and friends, but what makes the movie stand out, is its ability to display real emotions, emotions that almost every teenager can relate to.  

December 2017: The Post (Rated PG-13)

Steven Spielberg’s The Post presents its audience with the chaos of the inside of a newsroom. It tells the story of the Washington Post’s race against releasing top-secret documents from the Vietnam War while the New York Times is being silenced by President Nixon’s administration. This bold movie shows Meryl Streep, playing Katharine Graham, taking the risk of losing her company, entire life savings, and deciding whether or not true freedom of the press means going against the government to inform the public. Although a little dry and confusing at first because of the number of characters, the movie develops into an inspirational, intriguing, on the edge of your seat movie, and it may teach you something about history as well.  

January 2018: 12 Strong (Rated R)

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, 12 Strong follows Capt. Mitch Nelson (played by Liam Hemsworth) and his Special Forces into Afghanistan for a mission to take down the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies. Rated “R” for war violence and language throughout, 12 Strong does not focus on the wins or losses, but it shines light on brotherhood. These men are all each other have, and this sense of brotherhood is their way of life. The 12 men are greatly outnumbered in Afghanistan, facing a force of thousands along with tanks and rockets. What is most intriguing about 12 Strong is that this mission has only recently been declassified, so this film reveals the true story of 12 war heroes. Unlike most war movies, 12 Strong kept me intrigued throughout with great scenery, and visual effects.

February 2018: The 15:17 to Paris (Rated PG-13)

Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris celebrates true American heroism. The film tells the true story of three men, Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler (all playing themselves in the film), who are traveling on Thalys train #9364 bound for Paris on August 21, 2015. The three men are traveling throughout Europe when a Moroccan gunman and armed terrorists board their train. Because the terrorist incident is so brief, the movie also highlights the men’s childhoods and the events leading up to the attack. Having the men play themselves in the movie is original; however, the acting seems forced, since these men never acted before this movie. A true story of heroism and bravery, The 15:17 to Paris shines light on this terrifying event as Eastwood puts the viewer in the scene.  One hallmark of this film is the lack of music; Eastwood instead uses only the real sounds: the gunshots, the screams, and the sound of punching. What made this movie really stand out is at the end, Eastwood uses actual shots of the French Legion of Honor presentation at which the three men are presented with awards for their heroism.

March 2018: Love, Simon (Rated PG-13)

 

Love, Simon tells the story of Simon Spier (played by Nick Robinson) in his senior year just as he is contemplating coming out. This story mixes a typical romantic comedy with a coming of age story. Simon has the perfect family and his four best friends do everything together, but Simon feels different because he is gay. When he begins emailing “Blue,” an anonoymous gay student who also attends his high school, Simon begins falling in love with this anonymous boy. This heartfelt coming of age story follows Simon in his ups and downs of heartbreaks and falling in love. I would be lying if I said that you won’t shed a tear while watching this film. An original film, Love, Simon, moved me, and showed me a new perspective of a teenager’s coming-out story and the challenges that come with it.

 

April 2018: Chappaquiddick (Rated PG-13)

A controversial topic in American history, the film Chappaquiddick follows Sen. Ted Kennedy, who drove his car off a bridge in Massachusetts’ Chappaquiddick Island in July of 1969. Mary Jo Kopechne, a 28-year-old campaign strategist who worked for Kennedy, also a passenger in the car, was trapped inside the car, and died. This film follows the tragic incident, as well as the aftermath. If you’re looking for a movie that answers all your questions about this incident, look somewhere else. Not only does the film leave countless unanswered questions, but it solicits new ones. Unlike many of the documentaries and films made about the Kennedy family, this movie does not focus on glamor or perfection, but it shines a light on a weekend gone terribly wrong and the lasting effect this tragedy has on the Kennedy family.