Mona Lisa Smile
Mona Lisa Smile is an astounding film that has stuck with me from the moment I first saw it.
It’s about a woman called Katherine Watson, who starts a new chapter in her life; teaching Art History at Wellesley College in 1953. It’s an awe-inspiring film that follows Miss Watson as she tries to break down the barriers and expectations of the girls she teaches, in her passionate hope that they’ll find freedom from their traditional gender roles. She is fierce, kind, and ahead of her time, and certainly rustles some feathers, but overall leaves a mark that cannot fade amongst the students she teaches.
The film cleverly explores oppression, freedom, love, and hate.
I’d recommend this film the most out of all on this list.
Here are some of my favourite quotes from Mona Lisa Smile:
Betty Warren: My teacher, Katherine Watson, lived by her own definition, and would not compromise that. Not even for Wellesley. I dedicate this, my last editorial, to an extraordinary woman who lived by example and compelled us all to see the world through new eyes. By the time you read this, she’ll be sailing to Europe, where I know she’ll find new walls to break down and new ideas to replace them with. I’ve heard her called a quitter for leaving, an aimless wanderer. But not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition; beyond definition; beyond the image. We’ll never forget you…
Bill Dunbar: What do you expect?
Katherine Watson: More! I thought I was headed to a place that would turn out tomorrow’s leaders, not their wives!
Katherine Watson: It says here that you’re pre-law. What law school are you going to go to?
Joan Brandwyn: I hadn’t really thought about that. After I graduate, I plan on getting married.
Katherine Watson: And then?
Joan Brandwyn: [confused] And then… I’ll be married.
The Fast and The Furious
Oh yes indeed, this cheesy classic makes my list, and always will. In complete contrast to the first film on my list, this is fast paced action movie full of cliché‘s.
When Brian O’Conner meets Dominic Toretto and his gang (whilst on duty as an undercover cop, investigating a series of serious lorry hijackings), my favourite duo is formed.
Brian and Dom seem to have this intense understanding of one another, despite being very different. Their grounded, down-to-earth natures, coupled with their individual desires to chase the thrill brings them together to create a strong, and loyal brotherhood. Not only does their relationship bring a tear to my eye, but so does the love story between Brian and Mia (Dom’s sister) that follows.
Though the film (and the sequels to follow) unfortunately seem unable to show a race scene without some 90% naked ladies, there is one strong female character who I absolutely adore: Letty. She is one of my all-time favourite characters; why? Because she’s one sexy, badass, independent, but dependable lady.
My love of this film is born from fast, beautiful cars (dem honda civics tho), a real mix of characters, and the relationships between them. Not to mention some of the very American-y golden one-liners.
I love all the Fast films, but number 1 will always have a special place in my heart.
Here are some of my favourite quotes from The Fast and The Furious:
Dom: Jesse, since you were the first to reach in and grab some chicken, why don’t you say grace?
Jesse: [saying grace] Dear Heavenly… uh…
Jesse: Spirit. Thank you. Thank you for providing us with the direct-port nitrous… uh… injection, four-core intercoolers, an’ ball-bearing turbos, and… um… titanium valve springs. Thank you.
Dom: Very nice.
Letty: He was praying to the car gods.
Letty: I smell…
Letty: skanks. Why don’t you girls just pack it up before I leave tread marks on your face?
RocknRolla is a film that most people I know unfortunately haven’t had the pleasure of watching… it’s not a big hit blockbuster, or a family classic, but it sure is a hidden gem.
The film revolves around a few main characters who all play their own part in the vast criminal London underground…
There’s Lenny- the big boots boss who has his own criminal empire, thanks to being able to pull the right strings with certain officials, especially in the realm of real estate. Then there’s Archie- Lenny’s right-hand-man: slick and handsome, and really the brains behind loud-mouth Len. One Two, Mumbles, and Handsome Bob are my favourite characters of the film- they are also known as ‘the Wild Bunch’, a group of mates who are all dab-handed in petty dealings and deviant doings (and as these characters are played by Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, and Tom Hardy, it certainly makes the film fun to watch). And then, there is Johnny, who is Lenny’s stepson- a genius in his own right, pumped full of drugs, with a raunchy rock star past.
The storyline is detailed and intricate, with individual character plots merging into others. It is; gritty, violent, raunchy, bloody, and so damn hilarious. It’s beautifully British, full of dry humour, cockney accents, and portrays the British class system well.
There are scenes that make you cry laughing, and scenes that make you flinch.
I love this film,
and feel like taking up a criminal career every time I watch it.
Here are my some of my favourite quotes from RocknRolla:
Lenny Cole: There’s no school like old school, and I’m the fucking headmaster.
Archie: People ask the question… what’s a RocknRolla? And I tell ’em – it’s not about drums, drugs, and hospital drips, oh no. There’s more there than that, my friend. We all like a bit of the good life – some the money, some the drugs, others the sex game, the glamour, or the fame. But a RocknRolla, oh, he’s different. Why? Because a real RocknRolla wants the fucking lot.
The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club is a classic, and I’m sure many of you reading this have watched this inspiring film before.
Set in the 80’s, it’s about a group of 5 high school students who are all issued with a 9 hour Saturday detention.
They each have their assigned stereotypes, and believe they couldn’t be more dissimilar to one another; the princess, the athlete, the criminal, the brain, the basket case… But once they spend a day together, exchanging insults, sharing life stories, and opening one-another’s minds, their punishment of writing an essay about who they are no longer seems to fit their pre-detention stereotypes.
They learn from one another, that they’re actually more alike than they originally thought.
It’s a beautiful and funny film, about the dangers of putting yourself in a box, and the joys of realising you can be a bit of anything you want to be.
Here is my favourite quote from The Breakfast Club:
“Screws fall out of place all the time- the worlds an imperfect place.”
About Time stuck with me from the very first time I watched it, it was a film that made me laugh, made me cry, gave me goose bumps, and sent me off from the cinema with an unforgettable, and undeniably important message.
Tim is surprised to find out from his father that all the men in his family have the ability to travel through time. Not the time travel that would perhaps spring to mind- e.g. taking a trip into the past to see dinosaurs, or going to a futuristic land where cars hover above the streets, no. Only in his own life time, can he travel backwards or forwards in time.
It’s an incredibly emotional, and beautiful story about an ordinary man who has learns the importance of time and love, in an extraordinary way.
What I love about this film, is though the main feature of the film- time travel- is fictional and unrealistic, every other part of the film is incredibly relatable, and real, and raw. It’s about love, loss, the complexity of families, of friends, and of the future. It’s another British gem, with Bill Nighy giving an amazing performance.
Here are some of my favourite quotes from About Time:
Tim: We’re all traveling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.
Mum (when finding out her husband is dying): I am fucking furious. I am so uninterested in a life without your father.
A classic! Hands up who’s seen Notting Hill?! Ok, I can’t see you, but I’m sure that’s a lot of hands that just went up!
When Will Thacker, a bookshop owner, meets Anna Scott, both are completely unaware they are about to enter into a messy and complicated journey of falling head over heels in love with one another. Whilst Will struggles with the pressure and media attention that his dream woman brings, Anna is getting her head around an equally strange concept of; an unglamorous, quite normal life.
This film makes me laugh out loud, and makes me cry out loud too. It has some of my all-time favourite one-liners and quotes in, that I know off-by-heart.
Notting Hill is a film that perfectly represents so many quirky British traits.
Here are some of my favourite quotes from Notting Hill:
Anna Scott: Can I stay for a while?
William: You can stay forever.
William: I live in Notting Hill. You live in Beverly Hills. Everyone in the world knows who you are, my mother has trouble remembering my name.
Honey: Hi Marty. Ooh! Sexy cardi!
William: Calm down, have a cup of tea.
Anna Scott: No! I don’t want any goddamn tea!
Yesss, this one has to make it to the list! One of my all-time favourites from a young age… when I first watched this film I completely fell in love with Mia Thermopolis! She was a bit geeky, a bit shy, a bit of a clumsy, unpopular, invisible, ordinary girl… something most teenagers can relate to, right?
But this ordinary girl, turns out to be a princess…
It’s full of humour, and reflects the challenges of being yourself when it can be much easier to be someone else.
Here is my favourite quote:
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.”
Fish Tank is a film that no one else I know has watched, let alone heard of before. I found it whilst I was searching for films Michael Fassbender had featured in (my future husband), and thought I’d give it a go, as it was very cheap on Amazon.
It’s a thoroughly gritty, raw film, which reflects modern day, working-class Britain, like no other I’ve seen. The majority of the film is set on a rough council estate, and faces all the issues that go with that.
Mia is a 15 year old, troubled, aggressive, angry, lost girl, who has to deal with her equally troubled younger sister, and her alcoholic mother, who also acts like she’s 15.
Mia’s mum meets Connor, and they start to date… when Connor becomes a frequent visitor at their flat, and starts to include the 2 daughters in outings, and show them affection they’ve never experienced before, Mia is unsure how to respond, but knows she doesn’t want this new found hope in her life to walk out.
The storyline of this film is quite simply: sad. But it’s an incredible depiction of how unfair real life can be, and the absence of generic blockbuster style storylines makes it all the more relatable.
Benny and Joon
Benny and Joon is an uplifting, hard-hitting film that delves into the complex world of mental-health. It portrays the perks and the challenges of living with a mental illness, caring for someone with a mental illness, and falling in love with someone with a mental illness. It’s beautifully poetic, funny, sad, and emotional. It certainly makes the film even more appealing that the character Sam, who is an admirer and imitator of Buster Keaton, is played by the young heart throb Johnny Depp.
Favourite quote from Benny and Joon:
Sam: How sick is she?
Benny: She’s plenty sick. Now listen to me, I’ve been doin’ some thinkin’…
Sam: Because, you know, it seems to me that, I mean, except for being a little mentally ill, she’s pretty normal
Free Willy was one of my absolute favourite films as a child, and still is today! It makes me bawl ugly tears, and I know every the script off by heart.
What could make a better story than a young boy struggling with the care system, who finds himself by forming a relationship with an Orca whale, who he them sets free to be with his own kind? It’s happy, it’s sad, it’s beautiful. It’s a classic.
Jesse: [to Willy, crying] Don’t forget me, okay? I won’t forget you.
And that’s it for my top 10 favourite movies, folks! Sorry if you didn’t find that at all interesting! If you haven’t seen any of the films I’ve listed, why not give them a watch some time, and let me know what you think?
I’d love to know your top 10 favourite films too!