Bridget Jones's Diary (Sharon Maguire, 2001)
This narrates Bridget Jones's life in a span of a year as she tries to empower herself and find love at the same time. Mark Darcy used to be my ideal man, but after watching his relationship with Bridget go in circles in the succeeding movies, I think their relationship is toxic and doomed to fail. My love for this movie is slowly waning, but it is still one of my favorite movies and I hold it close to my heart.
Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi [with Vincent Paronnaud], 2007)
Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's graphic memoir-turned-film about her life in Iran. The film is basically the graphic novel turned into motion picture. It was an eye opener when I first read the book. I really didn't know much about her culture so this was an informational hub. It's really done well; the graphics were good and the narrative was easy to follow.
What Isn't There (Marie Jamora, 2012)
What Isn't There is a Filipino film that deals with a young man who has in some way disconnected himself to the world, and tries to find connection again. He stopped speaking when he was a child, but communicates with the 'ghost' of his dead brother. A self-discovery film like this isn't new, but the performances were good and the whole piece was moving. It took me a while to get to watch it, and it was as wonderful as I believed the chatter to be.
Waitress (Adrienne Shelly, 2007)
Waitress was a surprise; I didn't expect to love it. It is about Jenna, a waitress at a diner, and how stagnant and unfulfilling her life was, until she meets someone and falls in love. This was charming. The writing was good, and if it wasn't for her untimely demise, I think we would be seeing more of Adrienne Shelly's works now.
Pure (Lisa Langseth, 2003)
Never missing a chance to rave about this Alicia Vikander performance, Pure is a Swedish film about a young woman who gets employed in an opera house and falls into an affair with a conductor. It isn't a new plot, but like What Isn't There, the performance was amazing. This was when I started to seek out Vikander's films, hoping to be impressed with her performance as much as I was here.
Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (Lone Scherfig, 2002)
I happened to stumble across this movie and for reasons unknown, I decided to give it a shot. I am glad I did because this was a charming movie about two brothers, Wilbur and Harbour, and how their lives intersect with a woman and her child, two people who happened to drop by the bookstore the brothers owned. This leans more on the dark comedy-dramatic side but still charming. Lone Scherfig is a prolific director, but I wouldn't know this was part of her filmography if I haven't seen it.
Belle (Amma Asante, 2013)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Dido Belle, a biracial member of an aristocratic family in the 18th century. While she is afforded some privileges due to her social standing, her skin color prevents her from fully engaging with what she is entitled to. This is about her learning and understanding her identity in a world where she is viewed differently from her peers. It is a wonderful film throughout. Mbatha-Raw gives an amazing performance, and she should be lead in more films.