INSPIRING STORYTELLING: ‘Selma’
‘Selma’ is a 2014 American historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb and DuVernay. Directed by a black woman, this enticing historical movie is nominated for this year’s best picture.
‘Selma’ is the moving story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s struggle to ensure voting rights for all people. It proved to be a treacherous and terrifying campaign that resulted in the grand march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and led to President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Why we love it: Four years ago, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Academy Award as best director; thus giving Ms. DuVernay a shot at becoming the second woman to achieve such success, especially since she’s a great storyteller with an inspiring subject. We love how this movie is about passionate convictions. Historical masterpiece in the making; even when you think you have it figured out, ‘Selma’ proves full of suspense and plenty of surprises.
SAVORY NARRATIVE: ‘Boyhood’
‘Boyhood’ is a 2014 American, coming-of-age, drama film, written and directed by Richard Linklater, and starring Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, and Ethan Hawke.
Filmed in just 39 days, spanning over the course of 12 years, ‘Boyhood’ is a close investigation of the human condition. The film centers on Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who is 6 when the story begins and 18 at its end.
Benefiting from an intimate narrative, the process of filming the movie was an peculiar one. Each year, Linklater would gather his cast for a private conversation about life and its changes. Then the filmmaker would write the script, and finally, he would gather his cast for a few days of shooting. For twelve years, he went through with the same process that ended with editing the footage and placing it in safe storage. The film grew alongside Mason (Ellar Coltrane), giving viewers the chance to admire the brilliant realism of every scene.
Why we love it: Because of the way the film moves along from one time period to another without warning or prelude. It’s fascinating to watch the natural aging process of the actors that deliver wonderful performances by juggling with great ease both humor and pathos. We’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
LOVE STORY: The Theory of Everything
‘The Theory of Everything’ is a 2014 British biographical romantic drama directed by James Marsh and adapted by Anthony McCarten from the memoir called ‘Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen’ by Jane Wilde Hawking.
The movie is part biopic, part love story. On one hand, the movie is striving to pay tribute to Hawking’s first wife, Jane, and her tireless devotion to him during their 25 years of marriage. On the other hand, the filmmaker manages to trace an intimate timeline for Hawking’s cosmic inquiries, by accurately depicting the story of his endeavors to develop his famous theories.
Why we love it: We love how director James Marsh doesn’t hold back from showing the true struggles the couple had to endure from the very beginning. He doesn’t resort to cheap tactics to make us side with either Stephen or Jane as they endeavor to live a normal couple life despite his illness, and it’s refreshing. The movie is splendid to look at, the acting is exemplary, and the universal message of optimism is making it one of our favorites.
VISUAL EXTRAVAGANZA: The Grand Budapest Hotel
‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is a 2014 comedy written and directed by Wes Anderson and inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig.
The universe created by Anderson is a colorful imaginative evocation of a bygone era- a vibrant scenario with brilliant performances from first line actors (Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Owen Wilson, Bob Balaban, Adrien Brody, and so on).
Set in a nonexistent country, the effect of memories within memories is a smart device to allow Anderson to play with exaggeration and contradiction.
Usually the filmmaker explores mainly interiors, but this time he ventured in the outdoors. The result was a masterful production of a uniquely designed landscape. Anderson’s world is envisioned as a magnificent full-scale doll house.The incredible locations and old-fashioned backdrops give the film the look-alike of an illustrated picture.
Why we love it: While watching it, you get the feeling of gliding over a superbly detailed little universe.
Now that we’ve reviewed all eight contenders, it’s time to set back into our chairs and get excited for the 87th edition of the Academy Awards.
Who do you think will win?
For part I of the article click here.
Featured image source: Oscars 2015 “Imagine What’s Possible” Artist Series: Petra Borner, Sweden.