(COVINGTON, La.) — Every year Christmas never fails to bring the best gift of all: movies. Last year did not disappoint. Perhaps you found Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood” too crude, Joaquin Phoenix in “The Joker” too dark, and “The Lighthouse” absurdly grotesque. If this is the case, this guide will point you in the direction of some alternative block-buster-hits that may strike your fancy. This is a guide to the season’s very best films that promise not to leave you in crippling depression.
This murder mystery is packed with an A-list cast including: Daniel Craig, future Bond girl Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, James Lee Curtis, and more. “Knives Out” takes the classic approach to the murder mystery archetype, but its uniqueness lies in its brilliant sense of humor and a well fleshed out group of characters. Its original score was nominated for a Golden Globe and for the upcoming Oscars. “Knives Out” is an absolute must-see movie that could stand out as an all-time great without its four Golden Globe nominations and one Oscar nod.
“The Farewell” is a Chinese film about a family who holds a fake wedding to spend time with their grandmother, who is also secretly suffering from terminal cancer. Awkwafina from “Crazy Rich Asians,” who won the Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy for this film, stars in this heart warming dramatic-comedy that subtly contrasts Eastern and Western culture while maintaining a light-hearted tone. This award-nominated foreign film is a hidden gem, and anyone unafraid of taking a risk with subtitles will find themselves well rewarded for giving this beautiful true story a watch.
For some, it may take some convincing to watch Greta Gerwig’s take on Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 classic “Little Women.” Gerwig’s version, which she wrote and directed, is a refreshing telling of “Little Women” that breaks the mold of the “period-piece-drama” which is often a stigma attached to the story. 2019’s “Little Women” forges into originality without losing sight of Alcott’s timeless themes of sisterhood and true love. “Little Women” was nominated for Best Picture for both the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Saoirse Ronan was nominated for both awards as an actress in a leading role alongside co-star Floence Pugh who is up for an Oscar for her performance as Amy March. In addition the cast includes Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, Emma Watson, Bob Odenkirk, Timothée Chalamet, and more to make up another big-name cast for one of the best films of the year.
Two profoundly moving performances from Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson take Noah Baumbach’s film on parenthood and divorce to transcendent heights. “Marriage Story” portrays the process of undoing marriage in a light never seen before and tackles the uncomfortable topic with grace, respect, and, most important, honesty. The story includes the painful legal process often involved with divorce with lawyers played by Laura Dern and Ray Liotta. This film showcases how what started as an amiable decision could devolve into something totally different. All of this is told in the back drop of present day Los Angeles, which provides loud themes of the superficial and false realities of this age. Despite being a movie about divorce, the dramatic comedy redeems its harrowing subject matter with a witty Oscar nominated screenplay; the simple elegance of great acting and inspired directing; and an innocent score composed by none other than Randy Newman, who is nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe.