After watching the Oscars last night, I got thinking about films that leave an impact on you and stimulate your mind. There were a lot of uplifting speeches during the Oscars yesterday (e.g. Common, Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne: adorable). It really got me thinking about films I enjoy myself (whether Oscar-nominated or not) and how they might influence me as a writer.
Unfortunately, I only watch one Oscar movie per year. I guess it’s because I’m so inundated with mainstream movies that I sort of pay less attention to the critically acclaimed ones. But whenever I watch an Oscar movie I never seem to be disappointed. Last year I loved Dallas Buyers’ Club.
This year, my Oscar movie of choice was The Imitation Game. I like Benedict Cumberbatch’s work in Sherlock, so already I had a reason to like this film. It’s also a period piece set during World War II and is about deciphering Nazi German code. I love history and I love true stories. I found it heart-wrenching in some ways and exciting in others. All in all, it’s a story about a brilliant, unique man who doesn’t fit into society but uses his gift to help fight the war. Woven into the story is a powerful message about society’s view on sexual orientation at that time in history.
While I love Oscar movies like this, I’m also affected by other movies like The Shawshank Redemption. I loved the representation of friendship and loyalty in this film. The message of courage and redemption. I also love Morgan Freeman and his voice.
Another is About Time. Sure, this is a rom-com but it still carries across messages about the choices we make in life, the importance of family and the simple beauty of life. This wasn’t your typical romantic comedy that comes across as cheesy or unrealistic. From my understanding, people seemed to really like it. Plus, time travel stories are always cool (The Time Traveler’s Wife, Back to the Future). I’ve always dreamed of writing a time travel story too. I should really get on that.
Another favourite is Underworld. This is an action-packed, mainstream movie about a feud between vampires and lycans. At its heart though, are themes of betrayal, familial ties, war and forbidden love. That’s always an awesome combination! I’d like to think that the dark style of Underworld and its strong female heroine, Selene have influenced my writing on vampires and werewolves.
You can probably guess from this list that I’m not too picky about which movies I watch. This year though, I’ve made it a goal to expose myself to more Oscar films. I think The Grand Budapest Hotel, Selma and Interstellar will be next on my list. I think it’s good to watch movies like these with rich storylines and strong character development. They may just influence you and me.