"Life" Movies you've got to see
Life as a House
Knowing what is to come in this movie, having seen it long ago and then watching it again recently, made this even more of a tear jerker kind of movie. Sam is a rebellious teenager who has very low self esteem, is wrangled into helping his dad, George, build a house as the last thing George does as he discovers he is dying of irreparable cancer. The relationship George has with his ex-wife, and the way that Sam changes through the course of the movie, combined with George's ailing health all make for an emotional roller coaster. Sam's situation improves dramatically when all of a sudden it comes crashing down when he learns that his dad is dying. Robin's (George's ex-wife) situation also improves as she falls in love with George again, leaving behind a deeply unhappy relationship with her cold husband. But for her too, it comes crashing down when she finds out.
The first time seeing this movie was gut wrenching but now a number of years later, watching it again, knowing what is going to happen, it is no easier. This shows how good a job was done in making this movie. For a movie to move you to this degree involves terrific performances, a well written script and superb direction. I think this movie has it all.
I'd like to single out one specific scene as a strong one; it is when Sam finds out that George is dying, and Sam admits that George managed to have Sam love his father. This scene was so well played, it felt true.
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Life Is Beautiful
Roberto Benigni performs astoundingly in this movie of two parts. In the first part Guido woos Dora in the most entertaining whimsical way that has the audience enthralled. We watch as he, against large odds, wins her over and they have a son together (Giosuè) and he grows to be around four or five years old.
In the second part of the movie Guido, Giosuè and Dora are captured and brought to a concentration camp in WWII. During all of this Guido entertains Giosuè and invents a whole world surrounding the situation within which they find themselves. Guido creates a competition for a tank that Giosuè learns, if he is quiet, and does what his dad says, they can accumulate points and potentially win. All the while that he is doing this, there is the life and death of the days in the concentration camp and it is evident that at any moment, Guido will face his end leaving Giosuè to be on his own. It is this wrenching potential separation that is juxtaposed with the entertaining experience Guido is providing Giosuè that makes this so difficult to watch and yet so enthralling to watch.
As the situation gets more dire, it looks more and more like it will be the end for Guido, but then the Americans start their advance into the camp. At this point there is chaos and through a brazen attack by one German soldier, Guido is killed.
Giosuè escapes sometime after that and is rescued in an American tank so he figures he has won the competition.
After having seen this movie I was stricken by how moving it was for a number of days afterwards. I haven't seen it again since that first time, but still to this day I tear up when I think about that movie.
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These are just a couple of really strong movies that have made me cry. I am sure that you have your own such list; if you are willing to share, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.
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