Discover These Movies: 2011

Take a few hours and discover these specialty films of 2011:

  • Flowers of War – Nanking, 1937 finds Christian Bale posing as a priest in the local Catholic Church and acting sole protector of a combined group of frightened school girls and pretentious prostitutes. As the invading Japanese army moves beyond the courtyard walls, John (Bale) uses his skills as a mortician to change the appearances of the older women to save both lives and honor. This movie shows the value of selfless sacrifice and anonymous love amidst the brutality of rape and war. Introducing stunning Chinese actress Ni Ni, a powerful supporting cast brings emotion and suspense to a moving story.

  • Tree of Life – This slow character study of an adolescent’s loss of innocence is a raw and thorough presentation of evil existing within the earthly realm. Filmed with a sense of impressionistic emotion, the story chronicles eldest son John’s tumultuous relationship with a world seasoned by his parents’ differing philosophies. Sean Penn, Brad Pitt with Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain lead the cast of intense and dedicated veterans of inner-dialogued actors. The film requires an open mind for the stylistic choices but delivers all promised complexity of existence by the title: a tree of life.

  • War Horse – Driven by the lure of beauty rather than practicality, farmer Narracott buys a horse meant for showing and not plowing. Soon after the purchase his son trains “Joey,” knitting both trust and friendship. When poverty separates the horse and his boy they are united years later in the pits of World War I despair. Their faithful love is tested thoroughly by injury, doubt, lies, abandonment, and enslavement. As they make their way to a simpler life, Albert and Joey embark on a journey beyond their world. The film is refreshingly honest in the absence of CGI and gratuitous violence, and deserves its PG-13 rating only for the realistic brutality of war.

  • The Descendants – “What is it that makes the women in my life destroy themselves?” George Clooney plays an inspiring role as husband of a comatose wife and father of troubled teens wishing he could better understand his life. As an Hawaiian landowner, Matt King reconnects with his two daughters on the quest to find his wife’s lover revealed after a tragic boating accident. It’s a touching story of the realistic irony and humor that can accompany death when received in the safe arms of family.

  • Albert NobbsStarring severely underrated actress Glenn Close, this is a fascinating story of one woman’s dramatic choice changing her life forever. With attentive habits of cleanliness, order, and thrift, Albert works as a butler in Dublin’s most prestigious hotel. When a handsome painter arrives to the hotel, every dream which Albert has gently nursed is given new life. The makeup and costume design only heighten the exquisite transformation from woman to man without driving any political or social agenda, but simply telling the story of an astonishing person.