In the wake of finals week, students are often left with loads of time to twiddle their thumbs, fix their sleep schedule and catch up on some much-needed Netflix. After checking out some of the more acclaimed shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “Daredevil,” give these titles a look. Disclaimer: Don’t be afraid of subtitles.
“We Are the Best!”
- Dir. Lukas Moodysson, 2013
- This film, set in ‘80s Stockholm, centers on three 13-year-old girls and is feel-good at its finest. After getting picked on by boys in the grade above theirs, the girls decide to form their own punk band and grow a friendship that overcomes even boyfriend drama. It’s funny, it’s pro-feminism and there’s some cool music in it. Definitely worth a look.
“Blue is the Warmest Color”
- Dir. Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013
- Who doesn’t love a movie about self-discovery? “Blue” is about a French teen who falls in love with an artist and experiences her sexual awakening. It won the Palme d’Or, the highest prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and has been praised by many as a very frank and interesting look at the lives of young lesbians. While a very controversial film, it doesn’t lack in artistic merit and is definitely thought-provoking.
“It’s Such a Beautiful Day”
- Dir. Don Hertzfeldt, 2012
- All right, so remember those weird “Rejected Cartoons” from middle school? “I Am A Banana” and “My Spoon is Too Big”? Well the guy who made them did a full-length feature film, and while many may be expecting something weird and outlandish, this film is a lot more somber than his cartoons. It’s darkly hilarious and very odd, but also touches on human loneliness and mental illness in a way that is poignant and striking.
“Short Term 12”
- Dir. Destin Daniel Cretton, 2013
- This is probably the most relatable film on this list, but that isn’t to say it’s at all ordinary. The talented Brie Larson (“Scott Pilgrim,” “Don Jon,” “21 Jump Street”) plays the emotionally unavailable yet fiercely protective supervisor at a home for at-risk and troubled teens. Along the way, viewers learn the heartbreaking stories of those teens as her truth is revealed as well. It’s sad, funny and extremely relatable.
- Dir. Xavier Dolan, 2012
- Dolan is shaping up to be a fine indie director and has proven himself time and again to be brutal and tender in the same breath. This French Canadian film is about a high school teacher’s transition from male to female and the woman he loves coming to terms with it. It’s a great tale about self-acceptance and Dolan makes everything feel fresh and important. It’s raw, emotional and beautiful in so many ways. If you see nothing else from this list, watch this.