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A Personal Insight: five of Hannah Browne's favourite films

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I could've definitely listed more than five, but to keep it somewhat brief here's an insight into my all time favourite films!

1. This is England (2006)

One of the most nostalgic, one of the most outstanding casts.

I first saw this film when I was about sixteen; becoming more socially aware and debatably encountering teenage hardships. Still, I never imagined being immersed in a story of skinheads, racism, and loss. The narrative focuses on the naivety of a young boy as he is swept up by a group of skinheads – that is the setting, but not really the whole story. I almost feel bad for saying that I enjoy this movie, with the subject at hand sometimes being hard to watch. In my opinion, Meadow’s portrayal of Britain in the 80s is one of the most honest ever seen on screen, with authenticity being its triumph.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

One of the most aesthetically pleasing, one of the most unexpectedly sad.

Simply, this film grew on me massively after first watching it on a tiny in-chair screen on a 9-hour flight to Mexico (not quite how Wes Anderson imagined his cinematically beautiful work to be viewed, right?). After a second viewing, however, The Grand Budapest Hotel instigated my appreciation with Anderson as a filmmaker, understanding him as a fascinating and admirable auteur. The direction, the cinematography, and the editing are a visual masterwork, fuelled by a sense of adventure and escapism along with melancholy and a desolate conclusion. The film is impeccably paced, telling the story of a legendary concierge and a young employee who becomes his trusted protégé. 

3. Baby Driver (2017)

One of the best edited, one of the coolest.

No car chase in recent movie history has got my adrenaline pumping as much as Baby Driver. Yes, it’s not nearly as humorous as Wright’s previous works, but it doesn’t try to be. But still, song after song, beat after beat, Wright’s stamp is there with every action seamlessly matching with images and editing. The character of Baby is one you can’t help but root for, with Ansel Elgort playing an impressively skewed hero. Ultimately, Baby Driver is a ton of fun alongside the momentous narrative of a getaway driver. I didn’t anticipate enjoying this incredibly hyped film as much as I did, yet Elgort and Lily James stole my heart.

4. Breathless  (1960)

One of the most artsy, one of the most commendable.

Breathless – or in French A Bout de Souffle -  carries a sense of spontaneity in a cool, offhand narrative between two ‘lovers’. Notably, Godard's Breathless is one of the most influential films of all time, with the snappy editing and uniqueness in crafting its characters into imperfect protagonists to mock the state of Hollywood cinema at the time. The style, the score, the dialogue, and the setting simply make me want to live in its world. I would happily fly to Paris just to walk the streets of the Champs-Elysees with the music playing as I stroll. 

5. The Greatest Showman (2017)

One of the most singable, one of the guiltiest.

First off, this is the worst movie I’ve ever liked. Still, occasionally films come along that are so entertaining that criticisms matter less. The Greatest Showman is one of those films. As someone who isn’t a typical fan of musicals, the overhyped soundtrack didn’t quite entice me before viewing – but then, when sitting in my cinema seat I was hooked from the first bang of the drum in ‘The Greatest Show’ opening sequence. However, that was countered by the next musical sequence, ‘A Million Dreams’, showcases a softer side of the film, and in my opinion, exhibits the side of musicals I loathe. Later duets like ‘Rewrite the Stars’ accredit the film, with this scene between Zac Efron and Zendaya portraying the sense that the creative team really, truly believe in the sequence. The impressive choreography sells the charm, as well as making me wish I took aerial aerobic lessons.

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