You don’t need us to tell you that it ain’t all been peachy in 2020.
We can’t even indulge in the now seemingly bygone activity of making a night of it at the cinema.
But, what we can do though is suggest five films that will tug at your heartstrings, instigate a belly laugh and help you escape reality for a couple of hours.
So here’s five great films — in no particular order — aimed to inspire, entertain, and set you free from worry for just a little while.
THE BEAUTIFUL FANTASTIC
Written and directed by Simon Aboud, this charming film, brimming with English eccentricity. It tells the story of Bella (Jessica Brown Findlay), a reluctant librarian and wannabe children’s novelist with OCD and agoraphobia being badgered by her crotchety old widower neighbor Alfie (Tom Wilkinson) with regards her overgrown garden which she has no time nor desire to attend. It is a delightful and idiosyncratic wee gem which will have you dreaming of happier times and springtime in England, whether you’ve been there or not!
Watch on Amazon Prime
MY DINNER WITH HERVE
This is a supercharged bitter-sweet autobiographical drama, written and directed by Sacha Gervasi, focusing on an alcoholic English reporter (Jamie Dornan) who flies to LA where, against his better judgement, he ends up spending a wild and crazy hedonistic whirlwind 24 hours indirectly caught up in the intimate life of actor Herve Villechaize (Peter Dinklage). Based on truth, this is a fascinating insight in to the Hollywood system, and the psychology of this legendary actor most famously known for his roles as Nick Nack in James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ and Tattoo in the 70s hit television show ‘Fantasy Island.’
Watch on HBO
This is an absolute treasure, a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life. The film, screenplay by Guillaume Laurant and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, tells the story of Amelie — played to perfection by Audrey Tautou — who as a child was home schooled as her eccentric parents incorrectly believed she had a heart defect. To cope with her loneliness, Amelie develops an active and mischievous personality. As a young adult, remaining shy, she decides to change the lives of those around her for the better, all while struggling with her own isolation — this jewel will have you ready to watch again the next day and longing for a more traditional, if slightly bonkers, normalcy.
Watch on HBO
Written by Olivier Nakache and Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and directed by Nakache and Eric Toledana, this is an irreverent, uplifting dramedy and buddy flick that will have you laughing out loud and most probably dancing too. Based on the true story of a quadriplegic aristocrat (Francois Cluzet) whose restricted world is turned upside down when he hires a young, fearless ex con — played with megawatt charisma by Omar Sy — as his caretaker. An unconventional friendship develops which will leave your faith restored in human nature. I have to add that I first saw this on a plane returning home from Europe. I then watched with my wife and kids and then again with my in-laws, the latter who then ordered the film to screen for their friends. Not a bad result! Three generations who to this day still love this film. Do yourself a favor!
Watch on VUDU
Written by Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, and Jonathan Goldstein and directed by Seth Gordon, ‘Horrible Bosses’ is a black comedy where three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness. With an all-star cast and an unforgettable performance by Jennifer Aniston, this is a timeless laugh-out-loud movie for the ages. Just thinking about this one makes me cringe slightly but break out in a s*** kicking grin nonetheless.
Watch on HBO