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Personal Insight: Charlotte Hunt's favourite films

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From the age of two, I knew how to work the family VHS - picking out a video tape, rewinding it, and sitting back to enjoy my film of choice.

It was a phase I never grew out of. Despite the obvious upgrade from VHS to more modern modes of film consumption, film has remained at the forefront of my life; my biggest passion and inspiration.

Across the years many films have left their mark on my impressionable mind, no doubt shaping the person I am today. That still happens now, and it always will; film has a wonderful way of changing perceptions. Powerful things, films.

Picking a top ten was no easy feat. But I did it. And here they are:

1. La La Land (2016)

“People love what other people are passionate about.”

This is about as magical as a film can get for me. Yes, the fantasy genre definitely ticks many ‘magical’ boxes, but for La La Land it’s the ability to transport you to this other world, a fictional one that’s grounded in reality, that makes it so special. Amidst all the spectacular singing and dancing is a familiar story of (seemingly) unattainable dreams, love, and sacrifice. La La Land inspires me to work harder for what I want every time I watch it, and that is where its magic lies.

 

2. Back to the Future (1985)

“Are you telling me that you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?”

I first watched Back to the Future when I was about 12 years old. It was the first film I ever truly deemed to be my favourite. I’ll admit, the reason for that first viewing was because my favourite band was named after the main character – McFly. But as soon as the credits rolled, the film and the band were two completely separate loves of mine. I watch this film every Christmas, every time it's on TV and anytime in between, and never get bored of its creative story, witty dialogue, and charming characters. Back to the Future is always a comforting dose of nostalgia.

 

3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

“Ferris Bueller, you're my hero.”

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a genius film to me – I would go as far as saying it is my favourite script of all time. It’s no secret that John Hughes knew what it meant to be a teenager and had an innate ability to translate that onto screen and, in my eyes, Ferris is the best example of this. He’s naturally funny, charismatic and is able to push boundaries without ever being offensive. In the same way La La Land inspires me to work hard, Ferris Bueller encourages me to live life to the full and enjoy each moment as they come.

 

4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

“What's the law on what ya can and can't say on a billboard?”

If ever you’re looking for a film that’s completely unapologetic for what it is, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is that film. It tackles shockingly harsh subject matter and a complex array of troubling themes – such as corruption in the justice system, racism, murder, and broken families – and finds the perfect balance of comedy and heart to do so. This film displays some of the best performances of 2017 with the likes of Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson in a powerful, no-nonsense collaboration with director Martin McDonagh.

 

5. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

“Nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spot.”

Call Me By Your Name is one of the most important and deeply moving films I’ve ever seen. Although it’s been out less than a year, I know the film’s message of acceptance and loving freely will resonate with me for the rest of my life. The themes transcend all barriers and the performances from Chalamet and Hammer do the same. This is the type of film that says what you need to hear when you need to hear it and for that reason, never really leaves you.

 

6. Catch Me if You Can (2002)

“Ah, people only know what you tell them, Carl.”

A large-scale game of cat-and-mouse based on true life events, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg? Yes please. Catch Me If You Can is a whole lot of fun but also deceptively deep. When you look beyond Hanks and DiCaprios' effortless on-screen chemistry, you find two troubled characters both trapped in a cycle they can’t afford to break and a far from perfect life. This film takes you on a fun yet emotional joy ride that never gets old.

 

7. The Nice Guys (2016)

“I think I'm invincible. It's the only thing that makes sense. I don’t think I can die.”

The Nice Guys is of the most quotable and outrageously funny comedies I’ve seen in a long, long time. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are the perfect, dysfunctional pair, each providing a different but complimentary style of humour. Watching two pretty clueless detectives stumble their way through a case to the backdrop of iconic 70s hits makes this a contagiously fun buddy-cop comedy and the laughs never dry up.

8. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

“I've got the bullets!”

Any of James Dean’s three feature films could have easily made my top ten, but it was Rebel Without a Cause that captivated me the most.  A typical coming-of-age story and yet a timeless classic, this film unarguably shaped the film industry and with it shaped (and continues to shape) young people across the world. I once wrote in a commemorative piece that James Dean could relate to the masses whilst also keeping his cards close to his chest – this film is the definition of that. Jim Stark will always be an icon of the young generation.

9. Seven (1995)

“What’s in the box?”

I’ve always admired David Fincher’s acute eye for detail and ability to tell a story. The film that kick-started my love of Fincher? Yep, you guessed it. Seven (or Se7en). The dark grittiness of the film has the ability to fulfil anyone’s morbid fascination with all things crime and killing. If the horrific crimes aren’t enough to do so, the film’s ending will more than suffice. A deeply chilling end scene that has gone down in film history as one of the most shocking and notorious.

10. Billy Elliot (2000)

“I don't want a childhood. I want to be a ballet dancer.”

Billy Elliot is so full of heart that it had to make my top ten. British cinema at its finest. Jamie Bell is incredibly charming as the young aspiring ballet dancer, and the adversities Billy faces while pursuing his dreams are unfortunately all too familiar to many people. The family dynamic may not be perfect – his dad and brother far from supportive of his dreams – but it is emblematic of 1980s Britain, as is the rest of the film. The 80s is a period I’ve always loved to see depicted on film (refer back to #2 and #3 on this list…) and this film is the perfect addition.




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