There are two kinds of people: those who find a random film instantly and watch it… and those who spend more time searching for a good film rather than watching it. Ranging from a couple of unknown films to the public and some old gems, here are 12 films – in no particular order – that will make you cultured and stunned! When you’re feeling tense or pressured with studying, these are worth watching to de-stress!
1. Match Point (2005)
Written and directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Scarlett Johansson
This film isn’t your typical romantic-story and there’s more to it than meets the eye. The story follows Chris Wilton and his emotional turmoil for his soon-to-be brother-in law’s fiancé. Could our life be summed up solely by determination, or is there a hint of luck as well? You’ll find out in this classic film.
2. American History X (1998)
Directed by: Tony Kaye
Written by: David McKenna
Starring: Edward Norton
Former Neo-Nazi Derek Vinyard racially discriminates between white people and people of colour, claiming that America should belong to Americans only. After he spends time in prison, he comes to a paradigm shift that makes him re-evaluate his values and beliefs. This film takes up a number of taboo subjects and its for those who are looking for something more realistic and debatable rather than something of a light-hearted nature.
3. The Good Liars (2019)
Directed by: Bill Condon
Written by: Nicholas Searle (Novel) and Jeffrey Hatcher (Screenplay)
Starring: Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren
Betty McLeish makes acquaintance with Roy Courtnay, both of whom are two elderly people looking for a companion to spend their days with. What McLeish doesn’t know is that Courntay is a con man with a hidden agenda on his mind. A dramatic and mysterious story with vengeance and betrayal, this film is a thrill to watch from beginning to end.
4. In Bruges (2008)
Written and directed by: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Collin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson
Set in the Medieval city of Bruges in Belgium, Ray and Ken are in hiding in Bruges after things go wrong in a previous mission. Now, they await orders from their boss for their next kill; but they won’t be content when they find out who their next target is. A dramatic and comedic story not to be missed, one that will keep you wandering about for a long time.
5. August Rush (2007)
Directed by: Kirsten Sheridan
Written by: Nick Castle and James V. Hart
Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, and Robin Williams
Musical Prodigy, August Rush, has been an orphan for all of his childhood life. The only thing that has always been there for him is his love for music. Believing that he can find his parents through the power of music, he sets out on the journey to meet them. A beautiful and dramatic tale of love, you’ll feel warm-hearted long after it’s finished.
6. Snowpiercer (2013)
Directed by: Bong Joon Ho
Screenplay written by: Bong Joon Ho and Kelly Masterson
Starring: Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton
If you’ve watched Parasite and were left in awe, then Snowpiercer is the film for you. One of Bong Joon Ho’s earlier works and a cinematographic masterpiece, the story is set in a future dystopia where humanity’s final survivors live on a train that circumnavigates around the barren wasteland and freezing climate of what is left of the world. Curtis sets up a revolution, if things go wrong, the ending won’t be hopeful for their survival.
7. Leon: The Professional (1994)
Written and directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Jeno Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman
Leon, a professional assassin who keeps to himself and lives alone, forms an unusual relationship with Mathilda, a 12-year-old orphan who seeks vengeance against the killers of her family. Becoming Leon’s protegee is her only option, but a dangerous road such as this cannot be void of emotion. This classic film explores the intricate dynamics between its characters, and the sequence of events will make your heart race throughout the film.
8. Hodejegerne (2011)
Directed by: Morten Tyldum.
Written by: Ulf Ryberg, Lars Gudmestad.
Starring: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aksel Hennie
Hodejegerne is Swedish for ‘Headhunter’, and the story is precisely about that; an accomplished headhunter who does what it takes to obtain a painting of value from another person. Only, the owner of this painting if a former mercenary that has a history of violence and blood. This Swedish film is the epitome of thriller films, and ranks as one of the most gory films made.
9. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Directed by: Ang Lee
Written by: Annie Proulx, Larry McMurtry
Starring: Jake Gyllenhall, Heath Ledger
For those who have seen Call Me By Your Name, Brokeback Mountain is another brilliant story about gay romance, but this time it is set in between Wyoming and Texas around the 1960s. Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar make each other’s acquaintance on a work job, but their loving relationship is deemed otherwise by society.
10. Yesterday (2019)
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Written by: Richard Curtis and Jack Barth
Starring: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran
This is a film about the legendary band, The Beatles, but in the most unexpected way possible. Failed musician Jack Malik wakes up one day to find himself in a world where no one remembers The Beatles and have never heard of their songs. He decides to share their music to the world by recording their albums; but will they ever know the original source of these classic songs? A fantasy and comedic film that will make you want to listen to The Beatles and never forget about them.
11. Gangs of New York (2002)
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis.
America was born in the streets. This film is just about that. Set in the 1800s with the origin of New York, this vengeful and bloody tale follows Amsterdam Vallon in his search for Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting, who killed his father to settle a civil dispute when he was just a child; but revenge may prove difficult when the man you’re trying to kill is aware of your intentions.
12. Whiplash (2014)
Written and directed by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons
So, you think you’ve had a teacher that was a bit too harsh on you and that maybe pushed you a bit too much, right? Well, you haven’t met Fletcher. In this dramatic story, Andrew is a student who aspires to become a professional drummer. The only obstacle he needs to overcome is his abusive teacher: Terrence Fletcher, who does everything in his power to test Andrew’s limitations and to exceed them. Will Andrew manage to become the drummer he always wanted to be, or will he recoil and choose a different path? Arguably one of my all-time favourites, I highly recommend you to watch this!
Happy watching! Make sure to de-stress!