Published: April 14, 2016
Arts and Life Editor
Watching a movie gives you the chance to lose yourself and escape into another world for two hours.
While box-office hits are deserving of their success, many independent films fall under the radar and are often unknown, despite how deserving they are of recognition.
I am what some might call a “movie buff.” I love seeing stories unfold, watching artistic and visual imagination come to life and feeling an emotional connection to a character(s).
Even though watching a movie might seem like a mindless or boring event to some, for many, it serves as a life-changing experience and something to draw inspiration from. Growing up in New York City gave me access to a variety of movies, including independent films.
Unfortunately, many of these independents do not get a lot of credit or recognition. The following five lesser-known films fall into this category and are all films you should see.
5. “Rocket Science”
“Rocket Science,” which came out in 2007, is a film about a shy teenager named Hal living in New Jersey. He suffers from a problem not commonly depicted in films— stuttering. With the help of his newfound and outspoken friend, Ginny (Anna Kendrick), we see Hal’s life change as he conquers his stutter by joining his high school’s debate team.
In this quirky, offbeat film lies an inspiring and unique story supported by heartfelt performances by its cast.
4. “The Spectacular Now”
Based on the novel of the same title by Tim Tharp, this film deals with two teenagers in the end of their high school career that form an unlikely pairing. Sutter (Miles Teller) is your typical, outgoing party boy with a soft heart. Aimee (Shailene Woodley), on the other hand, is a shy and innocent “nobody.”
We quickly learn that these are just the facades of these two complex characters, who both deal with a range of family issues
and pressures of their impending futures.
While this might not sound like the foundation for a particularly ground breaking story, this film deals with a range of issues in a non-clichéd way.
The performances by Teller and Woodley are immensely relatable. The film is a must-see, regardless of your age or where you are at in life.
The concept behind “Boyhood” is simply fascinating, to say the least. Richard Linklater, the director and creator of this film, chooses to follow the life of a child named Mason and the events that unfold in his family throughout the span of 12 years.
What is so fascinating about “Boyhood” is that it was actually shot over the course of these 12 years— that’s right, you heard me.
It took 12 years, and these actors gave quite authentic performances.
This film received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, but it seems that it is still not a widely known film, which is a shame because it is a milestone in the cinematic world.
You get to witness these characters actually grow older, and the two hours of film feel so natural that it almost feels as though you are watching an intimate home video.
2. “Garden State”
Released in 2004, “Garden State” follows the story of Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff), a detached man who must return to his home in New Jersey (hence the title) following the death of his mother. He soon meets Sam (Natalie Portman), who completely
turns his world around. She is a quirky, fun and weird companion who helps Andrew on his path to self-discovery.
Accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack, “Garden State” is a film that deals with the concept of loss and finding yourself through humor, charm and depth.
Ah, yes, another one that was actually nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, just this year. However, not nearly enough people know about this life-changing film. Set in Brooklyn (how did you know?) in the 1950s, this story follows young, innocent Irish immigrant Eilis and her journey to America and into adulthood. Along the way, she meets Tony, a young Italian man. The two fall in love.
However, this is not your average love story—it is filled with twists and turns, as Eilis faces a series of difficult decisions. This film deals with love and loss in a very special way.
The performances by these actors were phenomenal and so genuine, and it created a world I didn’t want to leave after the two hours were over.
These five films are just a few examples of lesser-known movies that most people probably haven’t seen, but should. Their storylines are compelling and filled with hopeful messages, and their casts perform with great heart and dedication.
If you are seeking inspiration or a special movie experience, you should watch these five lesser-known movies.
They stayed with me long after I left the theater, and I can almost guarantee that they will do the same for you.
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