The Oscars are around the corner and I have been busy watching a bunch of movies. I love escaping into a good movie and my tradition of making sure that I see all the movies nominated for Best Picture means that I get to see a high quantity of high quality movies every January.
I’ve divided up my reviews into two parts, and tried hard not to give major plot points away, but if you like to go in totally fresh to a movie, proceed with caution. I’ll make my decision on which movie is my pick for best Picture on Oscars Sunday, February 26.
Hidden Figures -- A moving true story of three incredibly smart black women who worked for NASA and played major roles in the successes of American astronauts reaching space in the 1960s. I felt proud of each of the women and their hard work in a time when being a working woman, let alone a working black woman, was an almost impossible task. It also made me feel embarrassed and a bit scared. We have made huge strides since then, but the bottom line is that there is still far too much inequality and racism in our world. I’m scared that instead of moving farther away from that time in our history, we are going back towards it and that everything people like these women went through will mean nothing.
Would I watch it again: maybe
Arrival -- It isn’t just a cut and dry movie about aliens. There were so many twists and so many thought provoking themes that it had me questioning parts of my own life, and Rob and I were still discussing it days after we had watched it. It had a slow start, but it drew me in and I never wanted it to end. Amy Adams was phenomenal and I am bit surprised that she wasn’t nominated for Best Actress for her role in Arrival.
Would I watch it again: yes
Lion -- A true story of a man who goes in search of his biological family in India. It is adapted from a book and I could tell that they were leaving out details for the sake of the length of the film. Because of that I felt a bit disconnected from the plot and even confused at times. But aside from that, it was a beautiful story of the strength of family bonds. And the little boy who plays the main character when he was young is so stinking cute I couldn’t handle it.
Would I watch it again: probably not
Manchester by the Sea -- Superb acting by EVERYONE! It was a heartwarming, dramatic and tragic film about an uncle and his nephew getting on with their lives after a family death. The plot unfolded naturally, just like real life would unfold in these circumstances and the acting was never over the top. It was raw and real and I found myself identifying with each of the characters at several points during the movie.
Would I watch it again: yes
La La Land -- Everything about this movie screams: Sonja’s new fave! However, I wasn’t blown away. I loved the cinematography, the music, and the acting all separately, but together as a story, it didn’t pull me in like I had hoped. I did enjoy the realistic portrayal of what a relationship looks like when both parties are trying to give their all to their dreams and their all to the other person at the same time. And I loved seeing all of the LA sights. Despite my lukewarm impression of it, my memories of it have gotten better as time has gone on.
Would I watch it again: yes and I’ve already seen it twice!