Cinderella Man with Russel Crow and Rene Zellwiger playing the lead roles. It is the story of Jim Braddock, the light heavy weight boxer of the 1930s. Very successful at first as a fighter, then the depression wiped out all his investments in stocks, leaving him with his wife and three children in abject poverty. As an injured fighter with principles, he struggles to support his family, even to his own hurt. He reaches the bottom before he has a second chance. On a fluke (or providence) he has an opportunity to fight again. He wins, and keeps on winning until he has a shot at the world heavyweight title. He must fight Max Baer who has already killed to men in the ring. All odds are against Jim Braddock, but...I can't tell the ending. The story has redeeming value because it is a true account of the human spirit overcoming all odds. The love story between Jim and Mae, his wife of a life time is inspiring (a granddaughter let Ron Howard read the love letters between Jim and Mae). Much insight about marriage is expressed in their relationship. Some profanity that might be offensive, but should be viewed in the context of the life being shown.
Dancing at Lughnasa with Meryl Streep in the lead role. The setting is rural Ireland in 1936. Five unmarried sisters are struggling to make it on a small farm. One sister is attractive and has a child out of wedlock. The father is an adventurer who returns to woo her again. A missionary brother of these sisters returns from Africa mentally imbalanced. He has been influenced by African religion rather than influencing it. Despite hardships these sisters are able to embrace life. A powerfully moving story.
Italian For Beginners is a film made with a hand held camera. The story is set in Sweden where six people take a course in Italian at the local university. They interact in real life situations and affect one another for the good. One of the characters is a young man who is a Lutheran minister in his first church. His wife has just died. He is portrayed as a genuinely spiritual man who truly ministers to people's needs. No big name actors, in fact, one gets the sense that these are just people off the steet telling their story. Very inspiring. One of my top ten movies.
El Postino The setting for this romantic story is an island off the coast of Italy. Pablo Neruda, the great Chilean poet is in exile because of his socialist views. The postman who delivers his mail each day asks advice on how to win a lady he is attracted to. The actor who played the lead role died the day after the film was completed. He literally gave himself to make this picture. A truly inspiring and uplifting account of how a man should pursue the woman he loves.
Queen Margot French film based on the historical incident when the Protestants were put to death during the Reformation. Excellent acting and photography.
Cinema Paradiso An Italian movie about the experience of a boy in the town movie theatre from the first day it opened. He becomes a great film producer and then returns to his small town and the theatre that shaped his life. (Foreign film award in '89).
Farewell My Concubine and Temptress Moon are by the same Chinese director. Set in China as Western influence is beginning to corrupt their society. Should watch just to gain an understanding of Chinese culture during this period.
Indochine with Catherine DeNuve, possibly the most beautiful actress. A story of romance set in Vietnam during the years of French domination. Very inspiring story.
Wings of Desire A film made in Germany which shows how angels long to experience what we do as humans. It is slow moving but truly worth the wait. This is one of three in a series. It was dumbed down by Hollywood in the recent movie: City of Angels with Nicolas Cage.
Enchanted April Four English ladies rent a villa in Italy for a month vacation. Their husbands join them later. Good insight into how women think and what they expect from me. Not just a chick flick.
Elizabeth An historical account of how Queen E the First came to power. She is a young woman who outwits all the political opposition. Masterfully done by our British cousins.
Shakespeare in Love This should be seen after seeing Elizabeth. Another British film that is superbly done. The story revolves around a love affair of Shakespeare with a young woman that serves as the basis for his writing Romeo and Juliet. Nothing in this contradicts what we know about Shakespeare.
Artimesia A true story of a young woman in 14th century Florence who wants to be a painter, but is refused admission to the painting adademy because she is a woman. She turns to a popular artist to study under him, which turns into a love affair, and...Well, you'll just have to see it to learn what happens.
The Courtesan A story set in 14th century Venice. The Roman Church gets involved with city government about closing down its arrangement to provide courtesans for visiting state officials. An historical account that is very well done.
Wings of the Dove A young English woman and her lover plot to deceive a wealthy young American lady who is terminally ill. The setting is Venice in the 1880s. Helen Bonham Carter plays the English woman. Several twists in the plot. Enjoy a glass of wine with your spouse as you watch this.
Pelle the Conqueror A story about a peasant father and small boy in Denmark during the early 1800's who are trying to survive. Their goal is to leave for America. By watching this we gain insight why so many from the Scandanavian countries emigrated. Great story.
Jean de Florett and Manon of the Spring are two in a series. The story takes place in the south of France. Subtitled. Cultural experience to watch these.
Red,White,Blue are three French films that center around the issue of chance or providence in our lives. It does not matter which sequence one watches these, but s/he must watch closely to see the connections. Very European and well done.
The Green Forest Based on a true incident that happened in Ecuador in the '60s. A French engineer takes his family on a picnic at the work sight of a dam he is constructing, and his young son wanders off into the jungle. For the next ten years he searches for his son, only to find him living with an Indian tribe. A good anthropological study in what contact with civilization does to native culture. Exceptional film.