Winter Movie Recommendations

Good Will Hunting

“Good Will Hunting” is a favorite of mine and one that I usually rewatch every couple of years. The main character, Will, is a young man in rough-and-tumble South Boston. He works as a janitor at MIT, and, unbenounced to almost everyone, also happens to be a mathematical genius. When Will gets arrested, an MIT professor recognizes his genius and intervenes. As the movie progresses, Will’s new-found relationship with a therapist further changes the course of his life. 

At points funny, at points gutting, “Good Will Hunting” is a compelling story that touches on powerful themes of social classism, talent and genius, and dealing with your past in order to live your life fully and for yourself. It is also a historic Hollywood success story — a box office hit that grossed huge profits, but actually began as a final assignment in a playwriting class back when Matt Damon was just another college student. It won two Oscars and launched multiple careers, including those of young Damon and Ben Affleck, who co-wrote the screenplay. Their performances, along with those of Minnie Driver, Stellan Skarsgård and Robin Williams, who won an Oscar for his part, are absolutely outstanding — you cannot help but connect to the characters. It even has a great soundtrack to complement the movie. If you’re looking for a thoughtful and extremely well-made movie that will tug at your heart strings, “Good Will Hunting” is the one.    

 

A Christmas Carol

One of my favorite movies to watch during winter is the animated “A Christmas Carol” with Jim Carrey, based on the 1843 novel by Charles Dickens. I first saw it in theaters when I was five years old, and while my mom thought it was a kid-friendly Disney version of the classic Dickens story, I was absolutely petrified during some of the scenes and started crying at one point. 

Although the movie initially scared me, I asked to watch it the next Christmas, and the next, and the next. I have probably watched it over ten times, but I never seem to get tired of it. While I didn’t quite understand why I wanted to watch it again after the first time, years later, I now recognize why the movie has remained a personal favorite for so long. 

The character design mixes animation and reality to create eerie visuals that match the plot and story arc of Scrooge and his ghosts. Each ghost’s visual design embodies Scrooge’s feelings at that point in his life and brings the viewer into the adventure. The movie delivers a story of growth in a funny, sometimes scary, but nonetheless inspiring way. There is a sense of Christmas hope that if Scrooge can become compassionate and cheery, you can be anything too.

“A Christmas Carol” has a classic holiday feel and keeps viewers entertained with the wondrous journey Scrooge goes on. I love watching this movie with my family every year and it will forever have a special place in my heart.

 

Gone Girl
Ever since the first snowfall of the season last Friday, it is finally starting to feel like winter. On frosty days like these, most people like to binge-watch comforting movies that fit the vibe of the season. I, however, enjoy watching eerie psychological thrillers. One of my favorite movies to watch this time of year is “Gone Girl,” starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Neil Patrick Harris.

“Gone Girl” follows the life of a man named Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, in suburban Missouri after his wife Amy mysteriously disappears on their fifth anniversary. Nick should be worried when he comes home to broken glass and bloodstains, but as his wife’s case gains publicity and Nick seems calmer than ever, the public begins to question his innocence. Detectives uncover Amy’s diary to reveal that her marriage with Nick wasn’t all that perfect, and viewers question whether Nick is really the nice guy he seems to be.

I love how this movie is split into two parts. The first follows detectives as they uncover evidence from Nick and Amy’s past, so viewers can start to pick sides for which character they trust more. The second part is more action-packed and as the puzzle pieces come together and more characters are introduced, Amy’s disappearance becomes all the more fascinating. Halfway through the movie, all that you see in the first half is challenged, which I have never experienced in a film before.

The acting in this movie adds to the gripping plot. Rosamund Pike does an astounding job portraying all the different facets of Amy Dunne’s character. Although Nick and Amy initially seem rather mundane, as the film progresses they become extremely intriguing. Their unique senses of humor and personalities create many laughable moments on screen.

Overall, I enjoy how this movie has both fascinating characters and a captivating plot. As a psychological thriller, “Gone Girl” messes with your mind, making it the perfect film to watch on a dark and cold winter day.