With winter break approaching, there’s never a better time to relax and watch a movie. Temperatures may continue to drop, but the comfort of being indoors provides the perfect anecdote to the cold. Here are a few great winter films when finally free from assignments:
Little Women (2019)
Greta Gerwig has had an insane year with the success of Barbie. Her take on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott splendidly surveys sisterhood and independence. It may seem shy compared to Gerwig’s most recent film, but its brilliant performances from Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Timothee Chalamet evoke its profound tenderness. The movie tends to be more secular than the book, while the anticipation of Christmas still impacts events. The March sisters come to the Belcourt on December 19 as part of their Holiday Classics series and is streaming on Starz.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s thriller is a period piece set in 1950s London. Its obsessive qualities have created an equally obsessed following of the movie. In a final masterful performance before retiring, Daniel Day-Lewis plays a famous dressmaker, Reynolds Woodcock, who falls in love with a waitress, Alma, played by Vicky Krieps. Jonny Greenwood’s graceful score expands PTA’s world, focusing on passion and its dependencies. Its unforgettable New Year’s Eve scene is perfect for bringing in 2024 and is streaming on Netflix.
Inside Llewyn Davis
Snow’s bleak and oppressing whiteness is felt even when not onscreen in the Coen Brothers 2013 film. Oscar Isaac stars as the titular character, a failing folk singer in 1961, uncertain of his place in an art form he loves. He is difficult and snarky with almost everyone, including a cat he needs to keep in sight. Trying to make money wherever he can, Llewyn’s journey eventually takes him out of New York, transforming into a road movie. It is a poignant and funny film, with many short but great performances from John Goodman, Carey Mulligan, F. Murray Abraham, and Adam Driver. Watch Llewyn desperately try to come to terms with himself and folk music on Showtime, available to record via Xfinity On-Campus.
French New Wave Classics
The famous art film movement that emerged from France at the end of the ’50s left us with many great films, a few of them with beautiful scenes during the winter. Francois Truffaut’s second feature film, Shoot the Piano Player (Tirez sur le pianiste), is a crime drama about a former concert pianist named Édouard who now plays in a bar. Édouard gets wrapped up in his brothers’ dangerous problem and finds love. It’s an exciting and sometimes silly movie with a climactic snowy scene on a secluded mountain, streaming on Max.
If you’re a fan of La La Land, Jacques Demy’s 1964 Umbrellas of Cherbourg is the perfect watch, as it is a major inspiration. It won the top prize at Cannes when it was released and has maintained its cultural significance ever since. The film is a sung-through musical with an energetic score. Beautiful strings soar along with the budding romance between Geneviève and Guy. Their love is tested when Guy is drafted and sent to fight in Algeria. The musical is heightened by lovely color, streaming on Max.