Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Top 5 tearjerkers to make you happy

List by Jo (Jo is the fabulous editor of our monthly What's On eNewsletter and provides a great view of what events are taking place across Auckland Libraries)

My friends and I have all agreed there’s a lot of romance about sad movies, as in, we love them!! Wasn't it Aristotle who said a good cry "cleanses the mind?" It's no accident that many of us are addicted to the catharsis points of said movies, which move us to weep, which purges the toxins (kind of the same effect as ingesting antioxidants), which then elevates our mood. So, to continue our tribute to the 2011 NZFF here’s a list of five films that will lift your spirits by first making you sob.

Monsters Inc. / Pixar Animation Studios
Sulley and Mike are best friends who work together at Monsters, Inc., a company that uses monsters to scare children and capture their screams to power the city. The trouble is, the monsters are more afraid of the children, than the children are of them. Voices by Billy Crystal and John Goodman. Censor class: G - suitable for general audiences.

Jo's comment: This is the movie I pull out every time I miss Billy Crystal and John Goodman who voice Mike and Sulley, two top-performing closet scarers in this Pixar hit. Kids are scared of monsters, but in Monstropolis, monsters are terrified of being contaminated by little humans. When a little girl escapes her bedroom and crosses over to the monster factory, life gets a little topsy-turvy for Mike and Sulley. Little by little however, Mike and Sulley fall in love with the kid and soon they discover that parting is indeed a sweet, sweet sorrow. But hey, it’s Pixar, so tears aside, expect it to be a deliciously sweet film for the young ones as well!
Cry factor: 2/5

Life is Beautiful (La Vita e Bella) / directed by Roberto Benigni
This film transports you to a world that even in its darkest moments, shines a light of hope and joy. A magical tale, it tells the captivating story of one man's love for his family and his ability to use the power of imagination to save them. A deeply moving, intensely funny and unforgettable masterpiece that will stay with you always. Starring Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi. Rated M: Suitable for mature audiences 16 years and over.

Jo's comment: What is it like for a father who has to protect his young child in a concentration camp during the Holocaust? In Life is Beautiful, Guido hides his son, Giosue, from the Nazi guards by convincing him it's all just a game and that the quietest boys had the best chance of winning the ultimate prize – a tank. At every grim turn in this Oscar and Cannes winner, Guido, played by film director/writer Roberto Benigni, manages to inject some humour to keep the 'game' going for his son. Just before the Americans arrive at the camp, Guido is captured by the Nazis but makes his son laugh one final time. The IMDB site sheds light on the film’s title – Benigni said the title came from a quote by Leon Trotsky: "In exile in Mexico, knowing he was about to be killed by Stalin's assassins, he saw his wife in the garden and wrote that, in spite of everything, 'life is beautiful'."
Cry factor: 4/5

The Notebook / directed by Nick Cassavetes
As teenagers, Allie and Noah begin a courtship that blossoms into tender intimacy. The young couple are separated by Allie's parents. Several years pass, and, when they meet again, their passion is rekindled. Starring Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands. Based upon the novel by Nicholas Sparks. Rated PG: Parental guidance recommended for younger viewers. Note: Adult themes.

Jo's comment: 'Love conquers all' is an especially apt phrase when your loved ones need ultra-special attention, as in the case of The Notebook, where an elderly man cares for his dementia-suffering wife. This passionate love story took the world by storm and launched the careers of Ryan Gosling (Noah) and Rachel McAdams (Allie). ‘Not giving up’ is the core theme right throughout the film which goes back and forth between the elderly couple and Noah and Allie. In the bittersweet end, you get to find out exactly why Noah never needs to let go ever again.
Cry factor: 4/5

Changeling / directed by Clint Eastwood
Working-class suburb Los Angeles, 1928. Christine says goodbye to her son, Walter, and departs for work. Arriving home, Christine discovers that Walter is nowhere to be found. Christine launches a desperate search for her son. Then, a boy claiming to be Christine's son appears out of thin air. Knowing the boy is not hers, Christine invites the child to stay in her home. Christine cannot accept the injustice being pushed upon her and continues to challenge the Los Angeles police force at every turn. The police slander Christine and paint her as an unfit mother. Christine challenges the system and the only person willing to aid her in her search is benevolent local activist Reverend Briegleb. Starring Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jeffrey Donovan, Michael Kelly, Colm Feore. R16 - Restricted to persons 16 years and over. Violence & content that may disturb.

Jo's comment: Angelina Jolie confessed that Changeling was the one movie that nearly made her "cuckoo." Her protective instincts for her children heightened after working on the true story of Christine Collins, the solo mother who goes home after work to find her son, Walter, missing. While Christine fights to see her son again, we also glimpse the children’s plight against their captor. There’s unbelievable courage on all fronts including the touching moment when Walter makes the move to help his trapped friend. It's an even more poignant watch knowing that parents of children such as Madeline McCann will never stop searching.
Cry factor: 4/5

The Blind Side / directed by John Lee Hancock
The remarkable true story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher's presence in the Touhys' lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own. Starring Sandra Bullock, Tim Mcgraw, Kathy Bates, Quinton Aaron. Based on the book The blind side: evolution of a game by Michael Lewis. Rated PG - Parental guidance recommended for younger viewers. Note: Contains coarse language.

Jo's comment: Sandra Bullock won her first Oscar in 2008 for this film and deservedly so for assuming the role of gutsy true-life mama Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. She's rich, 17-year-old Michael Oher is not. She’s white, he's black. But against all odds, and her deriding society pals, Leigh Anne was committed to save the athletically gifted Michael from the ghetto. She gave him a home, became his legal guardian, put him through school and eventually got him noticed by the NFL. This is one of the best feel-good stories I’ve come across, but be warned, it’s more than a little weepy at many points.
Cry factor: 5/5

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