100 Movies Like Me Before You (2016) (Page 5)

Staff & contributors

It may look like a cheap TV movie, but this quietly affecting story of a lonely grandmother looking for kindness and meaning at a retirement hotel is an absolutely charming watch for you, your parents, and your own grandparents. The stakes are refreshingly low, as the title character's quick friendship with a twentysomething writer helps each of them get through their feelings of being out of place. There's lots of effective, British-style comedy from this small cast of instantly likable actors, and an unexpectedly potent emotional core, making you realize only by the end just how invested you've become in their interactions. As Mrs. Palfrey, Joan Plowright is a wonderful, gentle presence, and her easy chemistry with Rupert Friend is exactly as wholesome as the film needs.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family

Actor: Anna Massey, Clare Higgins, David Webber, Georgina Hale, Joan Plowright, Michael Culkin, Robert Lang, Rupert Friend, Timothy Bateson, Zoë Tapper

Director: Dan Ireland

This documentary charts the challenges faced by sailor Tracy Edwards and her 12-woman crew in the wake of their decision to participate in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, the grueling yachting competition that covers 33,000 miles and lasts nine months. Director Alex Holmes recreates their adventure using archival footage shot by the women themselves on their voyage, and interesting interviews with the crew members as well as the men who criticized and ridiculed them at the time. Maiden is an interesting bit of documentary filmmaking that is also inspirational and empowering.

Genre: Documentary, Drama

Actor: Frank Bough, Howard Gibbons, Jo Gooding, John Chittenden, Sally Hunter

Director: Alex Holmes

Even with its haphazard construction and occasionally unnecessary and corny flourishes (what's with all the mellowed-out covers of pop songs?), there's a sense of intense, sincere pride and joy that shines through Every Body's many testimonials. Intersex people are barely represented whether in media or in legislation, and countless people still have very little understanding of what intersex is. But while this subject is usually viewed as uncomfortable—and this documentary definitely doesn't hold back in explaining the various ways intersex people are mutilated and mentally abused just to force them to conform to the gender binary—the film grounds everything by showing us how its main characters are as ordinary, creative, and full of good humor as the rest of us. So as Every Body skips through various aspects of the intersex experience, even its disorganization takes on the charm of a simple chat with friends. And either way, the discussions held here are the stuff of real courage—demanding our attention and earning our respect.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Alicia Roth Weigel, Julie Cohen, River Gallo, Sean Saifa Wall, Steven Crowder

Director: Julie Cohen

Bad Lands isn’t exactly new. It has the romanticized con artist that manages to slip through the fingers of those more powerful than her, through quick wit and good sense. It has the successful con, and those that come out of the woodwork to take what they’ve stolen. The story isn’t even original, being based on Hiroyuki Kurokawa’s 2015 novel, Keiso. But it’s done well. It’s a well-executed character study focused on a grifter pushed into the business, and taking on a cold, ruthless mindset to survive. It juxtaposes her self-contained lifestyle with the skeevy, abusive tech billionaire ex and the police force he infiltrated. And it’s all the more powerful with Sakura Ando leading the story.

Genre: Action, Crime

Actor: Canon Nawata, Junichi Okada, Katsuhisa Namase, Ken Yamamura, Koki Maeda, Mitsuo Yoshihara, Namase Katsuhisa, Noriko Eguchi, Ryosuke Yamada, Ryudo Uzaki, Sakura Andô, Yasumasa Oba, Yasushi Fuchikami

Director: Masato Harada

For kids and kids-at-heart who find Jim Henson's technical mastery of puppets riveting, this documentary on the classic and still-contemporary Sesame Street provides a ton of behind-the-scenes footage that's endlessly fun to watch. Street Gang rebuts any arguments that could be made about children's TV being low-effort—showing just how much craft is needed in a show like this. But more importantly, the film's first act illustrates the risky process of building Sesame Street from the ground-up, specifically as programming for inner-city Black children who weren't getting the education they deserved. It's nothing short of an inspiration to see this ragtag group of creatives and communication experts—none of whom wanted to take sole credit—coming together like a superhero team to create one of the most iconic and enduring TV shows in American history.

Genre: Documentary, Family

Actor: Bob McGrath, Brian Henson, Caroll Spinney, Christopher Cerf, Dizzy Gillespie, Emilio Delgado, Fran Brill, Frank Oz, Fred Rogers, Holly Robinson Peete, James Earl Jones, Jesse Jackson, Jim Henson, Joan Ganz Cooney, Joe Raposo, Johnny Carson, Johnny Cash, Jon Stone, Lisa Henson, Lloyd Morrisett, Loretta Long, Matt Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Norman Stiles, Odetta, Orson Welles, Roscoe Orman, Sonia Manzano, Stevie Wonder, Will Lee

Director: Marilyn Agrelo

, 2016

This drama from France and Canada is about Matthieu, a 33-year-old from Paris who never knew his father. One morning he gets a call to go to Montreal, where he is told his dad has passed away and where a funeral will take place.

To add to his confusion, upon arrival Matthieu is asked to conceal his identity from his step-mother and step-brothers.

A Kid is made as though the filmmaking styles from the countries it’s set in were mixed together. There are complicated family dynamics reminiscent of Xavier Dolan movies; and identity issues and comments on different compositions of families like the films of Mia Hansen-Løve.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Aliocha Itovich, Amélie Lafleur, Catherine De Léan, Claudiane Ruelland, Emmanuelle Dupuy, Gabriel Arcand, Hugues Leforestier, Jean-Pierre Andréani, Loudia Gentil, Marie-Thérèse Fortin, Martin Laroche, Patricia Dorval, Patrick Hivon, Pierre Deladonchamps, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Romane Portail, Tania Bolduc, Timothé Vom Dorp, Valerie Cadieux

Director: Philippe Lioret

In many ways, the 1998 film The Truman Show forecasted how we’d interact with media today. Parasocial relationships are a thing, as is the feeling of entitlement we get when prying into other people’s lives. But before all that, Japanese TV producers were already testing the ethical limits of voyeurism through the reality show Denpa Shōnen, a social experiment of sorts that broadcasted how people would react in extreme situations. It was one of the first of its kind, and so The Contestant takes us through its novelty; smartly, it explains how and why a show so brutal was a massive hit. It tries to understand Japanese media and humor, not other it, while also sympathizing with Nasubi, who sits down for an enlightening interview. The documentary itself is revealing and disturbing—except for a confusing third act, in which it completely loses its critical air and tells a story of heroism that, while inspiring, feels detached from the rest of the film. What was the aftermath of all that cruelty? Did no one file a retroactive complaint? Is Japanese media still this intense and unwittingly cruel? These are things you’d expect the documentary would tackle by the end, but it confusingly doesn’t. Still, it’s an important and educational watch, one that hopefully serves as a cautionary tale against the ever-manipulative media and always-hungry viewer.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Fred Armisen, Nasubi, Takehiro Hira, Toshio Tsuchiya

Director: Clair Titley

Rating: R

This movie is a complete no-brainer.

It follows two assistants in busy New York City, both of them overworked and underpaid. They come up with a plan to set up their bosses (Set it Up) so that when their bosses finally take some personal time together, they could too. In a lot of ways, it’s the perfect argument to anyone who says that the rom-com genre is dead. It’s light, it’s easy, and it’s entertaining.

At the same time, there is a heartwarming vibe that’s not too cliché, and a couple of well-known actors — Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs — that help carry the plot. Don’t expect to be mind-blown but this film will leave you feeling content.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Aaron Costa Ganis, Anna Suzuki, Annie Pisapia, Ching Hoh-Wai, Cody Calafiore, Doris McCarthy, Emilia Clarke, Evan Parke, Fabrizio Brienza, Glen Powell, Jaboukie Young-White, Jacqueline Honulik, Jake Robinson, Jeff Hiller, Joan Smalls, Jon Rudnitsky, Kate Middleton, Leonard Ouzts, Lucy Liu, Meredith Hagner, Noah Robbins, Paulie Deo Jr., Pete Davidson, Ralph Byers, Shana Solomon, Shyrley Rodriguez, Stacey Alyse Cohen, Stephanie Hsu, Taye Diggs, Tituss Burgess, Wai Ching Ho, Zoey Deutch

Director: Claire Scanlon

Rating: TV-14

When forming a nation, governments would like to view the entire populace as one people– for example, the Norwegians live in Norway. But plenty of these nations have smaller populations of different ethnicities, some that have been on the land far longer than the nation itself. Pathfinder is the first ever feature film depicting the Sámi people, depicting one of their tales. The film plays out like a familiar folk adventure, where a boy comes of age through clever thinking, but it also mirrors their struggle to keep their culture from Norwegianization, to protect their people from extinction. Pathfinder may not have the best special effects, but there’s a beauty in the way writer-director Nils Gaup depicts his home county of Finnmark, and the way he depicts his people’s past.

Genre: Adventure

Actor: Helgi Skúlason, Ingvald Guttorm, John Sigurd Kristensen, Knut Walle, Mikkel Gaup, Nils Utsi, Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, Svein Scharffenberg, Sverre Porsanger

Director: Nils Gaup

In Tina Mabry’s first full length feature film Mississippi Damned she tells the story of three poor, Black adolescents as they advance into adulthood. The story is mostly centered on Kari Peterson, portrayed by Tessa Thompson, who has fallen witness and victim to violence/abuse since her childhood. As she navigates her trauma while facing poverty and familial issues, we begin to understand the inner machinations of Kari and those who have harmed her.

While Mississippi Damned isn’t particularly easy to digest, I consider it essential. As unflinchingly brutal as this film is, it taught me a lot about trauma and how to navigate my own. With performances as powerful as these, it’s impossible to forget this film.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Adam Clark, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, D.B. Woodside, Malcolm David Kelley, Malcolm Goodwin, Michael Hyatt, Simbi Khali, Tessa Thompson

Director: Tina Mabry

Rating: TV-MA

, 2016

Lion is the award-sweeping movie based on the true story of a kid in India who gets lost in a train and suddenly finds himself thousands of kilometers away from home. 25 years later, after being adopted by an Australian couple, he embarks on a journey through his memory and across continents to reconnect with his lost family. Dev Patel plays Saroo, and Nicole Kidman plays his Australian adoptive mother. Two truly amazing performances that will transport you to the time and place of the events, as well as its emotions spanning tear-jerking moments and pure joy. An uplifting, meaningful, and beautiful movie.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Abhishek Bharate, Anna Samson, Arka Das, Benjamin Rigby, David Wenham, Deepti Naval, Dev Patel, Divian Ladwa, Eamon Farren, Emilie Cocquerel, Garth Davis, Keshav Jadhav, Khushi Solanki, Lucy Moir, Menik Gooneratne, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Nicole Kidman, Priyanka Bose, Riddhi Sen, Rooney Mara, Sachin Joab, Sunny Pawar, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Tegan Crowley

Director: Garth Davis

Rating: PG-13

As much as we’d like to think everyone can be redeemed, there are terrible, awful people that do exist that make it hard to believe in change. Idiots and Angels takes one such person named Angel, and forces him through a highly unusual, creepy, and cynical redemption tale that involves a body transformation that’s less heavenly and more Kafkaesque. As he pulls feathers from his body, Angel’s miserable, terrible self has no choice but to act decently for once. It’s a unique transformation, one we wish our curmudgeonly acquaintances would have, and with no words spoken, Bill Plympton’s unique cross-hatched animation takes center stage. Idiots and Angels may not be the most perfect animated film out there, but it’s certainly one of its kind, something you’ve probably never seen before.

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Actor: Arielle Doneson, Carrie Keranen, Greg Sextro, Marc Diraison, Mike Juarez

Director: Bill Plympton

If you’re new to the story, I Don’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me feels difficult to understand. The film adaptation portrays the novel through abruptly cut sequences, meticulously framed naturalistic frames, and monologue and dialogue that mean more than what’s being said, on top of Juan Pablo’s gradual descent into a criminal network. It’s as disorienting as being in Barcelona feels for Mexican couple Juan Pablo and Val. However, this film feels like a new approach in adapting novels – the multiple perspectives and epistolary portions adeptly portrayed through typed up screens and alternating perspectives (and direction) between the couple. It doesn’t feel like something that you’ve likely seen before.

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama

Actor: Aimar Vega, Alexis Ayala, Ángel Zermen, Anna Castillo, Ariana Van X, Bel Gris, Bruna Cusí, Carmen Beato, Clara Roquet, Darío Rocas, Dario Yazbek Bernal, Jelen García, Juan Carlos Remolina, Juan Daniel Garcia Treviño, Juan Minujín, Natalia Portnoy, Natalia Solián

Director: Luis Fernando Frías de la Parra

Rating: R

Though it starts off somewhat slow, I was delightfully surprised at how much I loved this movie. A 28-year-old man ventures through Europe with a buddy, ending in Copenhagen, where he hopes to contact the last of his family. There he enlists a local girl to help him. An interesting relationship unfolds as they take a captivating journey through Copenhagen in search of William’s grandfather. The tag line of the movie is “When the girl of your dreams is half your age, it’s time to grow up” and William really does have to grow up when he’s faced with his own personal tumult. The girl is played by Frederikke Dahl Hansen, who gives an exceptional natural performance, which adds even more to the abundance of charm in this film.

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance

Actor: Asbjørn Krogh Nissen, Baard Owe, Christian Brandt, Frederikke Dahl Hansen, Gethin Anthony, Gordon Kennedy, Hélène Kuhn, Martin Hestbæk, Martin Hestbæk, Mille Dinesen, Olivia Grant, Sebastian Armesto, Sebastian Bull Sarning, Silja Eriksen Jensen, Tamzin Merchant, Zaki Nobel Mehabil

Director: Mark Raso

Rating: Not Rated, Unrated

On one side, this is a look at the real-life efforts of local North Dakota Pastor Jay Reinke to provide shelter for Oil-working migrants in his Church for the course of well over two years – he ends up calling this The Overnighters Program. On another, it is the story of more than a thousand people living the broken American Dream, the pastor’s concerned, sensible neighbors, his well-meaning attempts backfiring, and all that’s in between. The Overnighters is an engaging, if not highly-aware, award-winning documentary that feeds on altruism, hope of redemption, and their ideal truth about the nature of human existence.

Genre: Documentary, Drama

Actor: Jay Reinke, Keegan Edwards

Director: Jesse Moss

Rating: PG-13