With a new year comes new members of The Moviegoer! Here are their favorite films.
Serena Gandhi: Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
This movie was remarkable in every possible sense. The animation was revolutionary. The comic-book style provided viewers with an experience that parallels that of reading their favorite comics. I could watch the movie, without words, without any plot, and be perfectly content just admiring the animation. The vivid colors and detailed line work add character to the people and places in the Spider-Verse, all while adding to the graphic novel aesthetic. Above the movie’s gorgeous animation, the movie’s plot never fails to make me misty-eyed, giggly, and everything in between. This movie is capable of evoking so much emotion, and I think the message it so beautifully conveys ought to be heard again and again.
Tamar Lilienthal: Saving Mr. Banks
I think it’s incredibly creative to structure a film around the story of a story. I also think Tom Hanks brings Walt Disney alive in a way no one else has done before. The story is moving and challenges our understandings of loyalty, family, and imagination.
Abeeku Bond: Dunkirk
Dunkirk is the one war film that isn’t about war, but helplessness. The film’s characters are battling the forces of nature itself, coupled with the surrounding terror of the axis forces (who are never seen on camera). Director Christopher Nolan puts the viewer the perspective of these boys to the point that you forget you are watching a historical war film - instead, you just focus on how these individuals are grasping onto any chance to avoid death. Furthermore, the musical score excellently builds the tension throughout the film, wrapping us further into this fight against an enemy that has no characterization. It becomes less about a battle for the life of any specific character and more into a spiritual battle for the soul of the world. This is also accomplished by switching between different character perspectives, allowing a universal view of the battle to be shown. Though the characters may be splintered throughout the film, there is a chord of unity at the end that instills a strong sense of nationalism. While the film itself is just a movie, the fate of the soldiers in real life had a a significant impact on our place in history, and that is excellently conveyed in Dunkirk.
Emma Taylor: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
It’s the quintessential coming-of-age comedy. Charming high school senior creates an elaborate plan to skip school, chaos ensues. You’ll be on the edge of your seat watching the principal chase Ferris and his friends around Chicago. If you want to live vicariously through Ferris, his cheerleader girlfriend Sloane, and his depressed BFF Cameron—or just feel some of that John Hughes nostalgia—this is the movie for you.
Shana Vaid: Black Swan
Starring Natalie Portman, Black Swan is a psychological thriller about mental health and the dangers of trying to attain perfection. Nina, our protagonist, begins as a woman with the mindset of a child who still lives with her mother, but through obtaining the role of the Swan Queen in her ballet company’s latest production of Swan Lake, she undergoes a transformation throughout the film whereby she loses her innocence and learns the true cost of success in the ballet industry. The film explores the underlying ugliness behind the beauty of ballet; it exposes the psychological effects resulting from the intense pressure professional dancers are placed under to maintain unhealthily low body weights and compete for lead roles.
Gaby Bonina: The Godfather
What movie better than Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather to see with your Grandma as you watch it for the first time? When you’ve grown up with an incredibly New York Sicilian family and nana, it’s almost a rite of passage. Ever since I was little, I’ve been obsessed with my Italian family’s history -- from cannolis to the Mafia, I’ve always been enamored with it all. The Godfather, a tale of a clandestine familial empire, exemplifies the best and worst parts of the classic New York “American Dream” and Sicilian tale. Al Pacino and Marlon Brando are captivating in their work, commanding one’s attention during the entirety of the three hour film. The script in of itself is superb, just think of the iconic phrase, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” No movie quite does it for me like The Godfather does, allowing me to indulge in the gangster side of my Sicilian heritage.