If you’re a film buff polishing your list for 2011
Scroll through my 17 Feature + 3 Documentary Film Capsules
Because there’s a little of you in each one.
The Rum Diary starring Johnny Depp, 2011
If you’re wondering what path to take in a world made by others
See The Rum Diary for a rowdy walk with a freelancer
Because you’ll find yourself loving who you are when it’s over.
Another Earth starring Brit Marling, 2011
If you’re a believer in second chances
See Another Earth to get past stereotypes of wasted life
Because no one – I mean no one – knows what’s around the corner.
The Ides of March starring Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, 2011
If you’re reluctantly fascinated by twists of fate in power politics
See The Ides of March throw innocence and idealism in the dirt
Because betrayal is no game — it’s a tragedy.
Anonymous starring Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans, 2011
If you’re intrigued by conjecture, open to new configurations
See Anonymous cast Shakespeare in Olde England’s politics
Because “truth is truth, to the end of reckoning.”
Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, 2011
If you’re tired of glamour and glitz (and love baseball)
See Moneyball put a geek up to bat, back faith with smarts
Because extraordinary is only a few numbers from ordinary.
J. Edgar starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Judi Dench, 2011
If you’re a student of character, a close observer of ambition in high places
See J. Edgar forge a federal backbone from secret files and coded fingerprints
Because force of personality bestows a lasting legacy better known than ignored.
The Descendants with George Clooney, George Clooney & George Clooney, 2011
If you’re a sucker for superlative film blurbs in advertisements
See The Descendants leave rare inherited land to a dysfunctional family
Because this land is their land, it’s not our land, not yours, not mine.
Midnight in Paris with Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, 2011
If you’re looking for the romance and glamour of a bygone age
See Woody Allen make dreams come true with Midnight in Paris
Because the mind is more than a cross-town taxi — it’s a time machine.
The Artist starring Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo and John Goodman, 2011
If you’re looking for a movie as memorable as it is fresh
See The Artist pan old-fashioned silence for gold when times change
Because hope is in the air, around the next corner, in your shoes.
Poetry starring Yoon Jeong-hee, 2011
If you’re wondering how to make sense of the senseless
See Poetry, where a quiet older woman reforms ugliness
Because you’ll find the poet within
Hugo directed by Martin Scorsese, 2011
If you’re someone who likes things to run like clockwork
See Hugo repurpose images from the past for new inspiration
Because imagination is more than fun, it’s the fifth dimension.
The Flowers of War directed by Zhang Yimou, 2011
If you’re taken with archetypal imagery, open to fables of war
See The Flowers of War celebrate fantasy, sacrifice beauty
Because terrors of war by any enemy shatter real people.
Albert Nobbs starring Glenn Close, 2011
If you be a fan of close-to-the-vest portrayals so sad you might cry
See Albert Nobbs thread a delicate needle through dire Irish times
Because to be an outsider demands duplicity for slightest survival.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy starring Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Colin Firth
If you’re a strategist of fine moves by fine minds
See Tinker Tailor a Soldier’s game of round robin Spy maneuvers
Because what’s unified still has sides inside the sidelines.
Tree of Life, written and directed by Terrence Malick, 2011 starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
If you’re ready to join a visionary experimenting with vision
See Tree of Life cast family life into an evolutionary framework
Because we’re in desperate need of farsighted escape from hubris
Beginners starring Christopher Plummer, Ewan McGregor, Melanie Laurent, 2011
If you’re ready for true love, tired of the old taboos & bugaboos
See Beginners; a film that couldn’t be made even ten years ago
Because endings, like periods at the end of sentences, beg beginnings
A Separation, 2001 Foreign Film Academy Award Winner
If you’re a searcher, wondering how to escape horns of a dilemma
See A Separation probe depths of despair for tendrils of strength
Because relieving suffering is not ending it, only key to enduring.
Three Outstanding Documentaries
Cave of Forgotten Dreams exquisitely filmed by Werner Herzog, 2011
If you’re an old soul yearning for today’s “aha!”
See proof of 32,000-year-old human spiritus in Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Because consciousness was always magic, still is and will be tomorrow.
Bill Cunningham New York, delightfully filmed by Richard Press, 2011
If you’re looking for the pleasure of age at any age
See Bill Cunningham capture NYC streets live, camera in hand
Because esprit de vie is catchy, catching and catch-able!
Pina, tribute to Pina Bausch directed by Wim Wenders, 2011
If you’re a true believer in soul
See Pina set the body free to dance life, love and longing
Because full immersion in emotion has never been finer.
Article Written by Dr. Jane Alexander Stewart
Newtopia staff writer Jane Alexander Stewart, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who writes essays about mythic themes in film, creates “Myth in Film; Myth in Your Life” seminars for self-exploration and travels a lot. Her film reviews have been published in the San Francisco C.G. Jung Library Journal, Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture and Los Angeles Journal of Psychological Perspectives. Jane’s popular essay on “The Feminine Hero in The Silence of the Lambs” appears in the anthology, The Soul of Popular Culture, and in The Presence of the Feminine in Film as one of its authors. She’s also presented myth in film programs at Los Angeles County Museum, University of Alabama and C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. A collection of her reviews and other writing can be found at www.CinemaShrink.com.