Another of those lists...sigh,
1 Northanger Abbey (2007, Jon Jones)
This is the film with Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland and JJ Feild as Henry Tilney. Catherine Morland is one of my favourite Austen heroines, the one I identify with the most. Alright, I am not as naïve and not as silly (I hope) as Catherine but there is something about her life with her head in the clouds and innocence and stupidity that I like. Felicity Jones is adorable in the role and captures her personality very well. Her acting is in a way very minimalistic and captures Catherine well as much with facial expressions as with spoken words. A silly film but very good.
2 Brazil (1985, Terry Gilliam)
This is a really absurd and wonderful film. It is rather grim in many ways, showing a very authoritarian society. Terry Gilliam wanted to call it 1984½. It is made as a dystopic vision of the future but as it was imagined during the 40s or 50s. Despite the fact that the state crushes the hero it is a rather enjoyable film with a lot of humour and surreal elements. Jonathan Pryce is brilliant as Sam Lowry, the hero of the story.
3 Star Wars (1977, George Lucas)
This is one of the best films ever made. A fairy tale about the boy who reluctantly has to go on a journey to fight the giants and save the kingdom. It has everything, a good story, beautiful heroes and heroines, vile villains, rocket ships and ray guns...not to mention droids. What more can you ask for? Not the most romantic story though but perhaps there was no room for that. I don't think any of the other five instalments of this saga measures up to this first one. I can't stand the silly teddy bears in part 3 (or is that really part 6?), for example.
4 Brief Encounter (1945, David Lean)
This is an example of what you can do when you have a great script. It is based on Noel Coward's play Still Life. A woman lives in good marriage with a good man and when she travels to a nearby town to do the weekly shopping she meets this man, a doctor, on the station. This meeting develops into a kind of love story although nothing really happens between them. He goes to Africa and she goes home and things return to what they were before. It is immensely beautiful and immensely sad but still very, very ordinary. I wish I could have written something like that...sigh.
5 Persuasion (1995, Roger Michell/2007 Adrian Shergold)
Yes, this is two for one. I couldn't decide between these two brilliant adaptations of the Jane Austen novel (yes, another one). The older one has Amanda Root and Ciéran Hinds as Anne Elliot and Captain Wenthworth and the newer one Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones. Anne is, for the age and time, an old unmarried woman, at 27 years of age, when the man she loved when she was nineteen and was persuaded to give up, returns. Love conquers everything and Anne gets her Frederick Wenthworth in the end. Bitterness and pride has to be overcome but Anne is strong and Frederick stands firm. Both these films are beautiful and very romantic but not in the sugar coated easy way you so often get.
6 Frankenstein (1931, James Whale)
Yes, this is an oldy, the classical adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus. The monster is played by William Henry Pratt aka Boris Karloff. It has to be said that the film is only loosely based on the book but it is still very enjoyable. The settings are wonderful. It is so easy to dismiss an old film like that, being spoiled with the special effects of modern cinema. To watch this film you have to enter into the spirit of it and accept it for what it is. But when you do that, it is a great adventure.