Best time to enjoy some mother-child bonding is to watch a movie together and afterwards, talk about it. The following are Arti’s recommendations for Mother’s Day gifts, DVD’s or Blu-ray’s. Click on the links to read my review for more details.
The King’s Speech (2010) – New release on DVD and Blu-ray, just in time for Mother’s Day. You want to keep this Oscar Best Picture not just for the excellent performance by Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter, but all the special features that come with: Director Tom Hooper’s commentary, Q & A with principal cast, behind-the-scenes featurette “An Inspirational Story of An Unlikely Friendship”, historical speeches of the real KGVI (and see how good Colin Firth is), and interview with Lionel Logue’s grandson.
True Grit (2010) – Mom might remember the 1969 John Wayne and Glen Campbell version. But tell her this is way better. The Coen brothers have breathed soul into this remake adaptation of Charles Portis’ Western novel. Time well spent if only just to watch the then 13 year-old Hailee Steinfeld’s performance, handling and being handled by Jeff Bridges. 10 big Oscar noms.
Made In Dagenham (2010) – Based on the true story of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant in England, where female workers went on strike to protest sexual discrimination. Sally Hawkins leads a historical, landmark victory for women workers to achieve equal pay. What efforts, torments, and costs to the individuals and their family just to claim something that’s so basic and reasonable. Remember Sally Field in “Norma Rae” (yes, that’s 1979). This is the modern, British version.
Beauty In Their Eyes (2009) – Won Oscar Best Foreign Language Film. From Argentina, the film offers a gratifying experience, a layered, affective, and captivating combination of crime, suspense, and human sentiments. A retired legal counselor writes a novel based on an unresolved case he handled. While doing that, the flood gate of memories and unrequited love bursts open but in a moving and restrained manner. I was touched by the superb performance, the thematic element, and the heart-stirring music.
And if you’ve missed these ones, now is the time to catch up with Mom together on the comfy couch:
Nowhere Boy (2009) – Biopic of a teenaged John Lennon (Aaron Johnson). I wrote these words in my review: “I’ve particularly enjoyed the mother-son relationship depicted so poignantly in the movie, and the tug of war between the one who has given birth to and the one who has raised the child.” Kristin Scott Thomas as Aunt Mimi and Anne Marie Duff as Lennon’s birth mother Julia give life to this delightful rendition.
An Education (2009) – Superb performance by Carey Mulligan who deservedly received an Oscar nom for Best Actress. A coming-of-age story of 16-year-old Jenny when a suave and seemingly classy man twice her age befriends her and captures not only her heart but the trust of her parents. Adapted from Lynn Barber’s memoir. Links to Granta’s interview and excerpt from Barber’s memoir in my review.
Easy Virtue (2008) – Based on Noel Coward’s play, this one is a frothy, light-hearted take on a family feud. If you’ve enjoyed Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas together (a rarity after The English Patient), then this is a must-see. Jessica Biel and Ben Barnes co-star. You’ll see some unlikely feats, like the Firth and Biel tango. But, what are comedies for, if not to highlight the improbable?
Broken Flowers (2005) – I missed this one when it first came out, not a big commotion. Glad to have caught it on DVD. With Bill Murray, you know what to expect, deadpan but also deeper than it looks. An interesting and original story.
Howards End (1992) – I’m a fan of Merchant Ivory productions. So for Mother’s Day, I say, get any of their film adaptations of literary classics, anyone will do: A Room With A View (1985), The Remains of the Day (1993), The Golden Bowl (2000). But “Howards End”, adaptation of E. M. Forster’s novel probably is the best for Mother’s Day viewing, with wonderful performance by Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave… Give Mom the Criterion Collection where you’ll find lots of special features. Click here to my post “The Merchant Ivory Dialogues”.
Thelma and Louise (1991) – This year is the 20th anniversary of this ‘classic’ film. Female friendship strengthened on a road trip with no road blocks. I rewatched it recently and find it still relevant. Best Oscar original screenplay. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon are heading to Toronto in June for a charity appearance to celebrate the anniversary. If Mom’s a fan, send her a ticket to the event. Not possible? The 20th Anniversary Blu-ray might do.
Girl WIth A Pearl Earring (2003) – Both book and film are fine. Delightful gifts for Mother’s Day. Colin Firth as painter Vermeer and Scarlett Johansson as Griet the servant girl. Subtle yet dynamic, cinematography to match Vermeer’s works.