Discover These Movies: 2005

Do you remember where you were in the year 2005? I was a Sophomore/Junior in high school starting to freak out about college options, balancing cheerleading with the dramatic arts, and trying to find a good youth group. I was moving on from baking to cooking, and aching to go across seas to Paris, evidenced by my Parisian room décor. Had I spent more time in front of the TV rather than buried under homework and hobbies, I might have found these great movies earlier:

Everything is Illuminated – A post Elijah Wood stars in this steady portrayal of a young man’s life treasures. A collector, an interpreter, and a town eccentric meet in the Ukraine when Jewish-American Jonathan goes searching for the woman who saved his grandmother during World War II using nothing but a photograph and the name of a village.  Liev Schreiber adapts and directs this scenic story of the past’s endless influence. Viewers will also appreciate the score, decently doused in Eastern European flavors.

Junebug – Starring Matilda’s Embeth Davitz and a very pregnant Amy Adams, his charming tale tells of a Chicago art dealer’s bumpy association into a middle-class Southern home. As entertaining as it is an interesting cultural study, this love story shows the heart of love: families. The script is intelligent, the acting admirable, and the mood open as the audience is given a respectful distance to discern its own reaction to the situations.  For 106 minutes you will feel every moment as if transported directly into the relaxed southern comfort promised by the playful accents.

The Proposition – Put aside John Wayne for a night and dive headfirst into this gutsy Western full of grit, guns, and outlaws. Sporting an incredible cast with performances to match their resumes, this film portrays one family’s misfortune caught in Australia’s late-nineteenth century gangster scene. Though the film deserves its R –rating for “grisly violence and language,” one gets the impression nothing is out of place for the period representation. Writer Nick Cave deserves as much credit for the story as does French cinematographer Benoît Delhomme; together they create an essay of brutality and fraternal bond not easily forgotten. As one IMDB reviewer wrote, “Aussie Western makes Tombstone look like paradise.”

An Unfinished Life – This beautiful film by Chocolat director, Lasse Hollstrӧm, sports an incredibly unpretentious cast. When single mom Jean arrives unannounced with her daughter at a Wyoming Ranch, her estranged father-in-law (played by Robert Redford) can’t make sense of his emotions.  With the help of best friend, Mitch (Morgan Freeman), his heart begins to melt as he comes to protect and ultimately love his family. It’s an amazing blend of elderly wisdom and youthful hope; as stimulating as Morning Blend coffee, but just as comforting.

{Proof} – This is the story of one woman’s very unwelcome inheritance: insanity. The daughter of brilliant but deranged mathematician (Anthony Hopkins), Gweneth Paltrow is dealing with the grief of her recently deceased father when an unexpected visitor appears wanting to pillage the professor’s notebooks. As an estranged sister arrives to settle affairs, Catherine begins to retreat into her mind to preserve her father’s memory, but will this similarity bring more harm than comfort?