Jenna Haskins ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff
Dramatic films have a power over viewers that is sometimes incomprehensible. With quick dialogue and unique plot lines, a good drama will have you invested in the characters and unable to look away. While they may be a little more emotionally challenging to watch, the payoff is worth it. Read on to find the perfect dramatic film to watch tonight.
10. Fish Tank (2009)
Run Time: 123 mins
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7.6/10
Mia (Jarvis) is 15 years old and habitually gets into trouble with both her single mother as well as her school. When her mother takes home her new boyfriend Connor (Fassbender) to meet Mia and her younger sister, Mia is immediately attracted to him. It isn’t long before Connor begins to reciprocate her feelings and when Mia successfully seduces him her mother takes it out not on Connor, but her own daughter, who she now views as a rival. Very real and raw, it plays on some societal issues that some may want to shy away from. Regardless, Fish Tank has a depth and fluidity not matched by many dramatic films.
9. Into the Wild (2007)
Run Time: 148 mins
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7.5/10
Based on the real actions of a young Virginia man who leaves behind material possessions in search of spiritual awakening, Into the Wild has become an inspiring and heartbreaking classic. After graduating from college, Christopher McCandless (Hirsch) separates himself from his dysfunctional family, sends his life savings to Oxfam International and heads for Alaska. To get there he hitchhikes and experiences America one stop at a time. However, this emotionally taxing trip becomes physically taxing as well, and his desire to live amongst nature in the Alaskan wilderness will not come without it’s costs. Into the Wild is a deeply touching, haunting film that deserves a watch.
8. The Untouchables (1987)
Run Time: 119 mins
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7.3/10
Documenting, in Hollywood style, the gruesome prohibition era battle between infamous gangster Al Capone (De Niro) and lawman Eliot Ness (Costner). With big names (Including Connery as a veteran Irish cop who shows Costner the ropes), a big budget, and great characterization, The Untouchables is a classic gangster period piece, on an enjoyably large scale.
7. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Run Time: 118 mins
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7.3/10
Between caring for his obese mother as well as his mentally handicapped brother, Arnie (DiCaprio in an amazingly well acted role), life suddenly becomes complicated for Gilbert (Depp) when he finds himself falling in love. A challenging and emotional movie to watch, What’s Eating GIlbert Grape manages to appear as bittersweet and dysfunctional while keeping an eccentric charm throughout.
6. The Artist (2011)
Run Time: 100 mins
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 8.8/10
Very different from normal Hollywood fare, The Artist is a crowd-pleasing salute to silent cinema. George Valentin (Dujardin) is a silent movie star whose career is about to be devastated by the invention of the “talkies”. The film focuses on the intertwining story of George and Peppy Miller (Bejo) a young extra on her way to the top. Endlessly clever and charming, it may surprise the typical movie goer with it’s smart and skillfully executed brand of entertainment.
5. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)
Run Time: 94 mins
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 6.2/10
Adapted from John Boyne’s novel, the film is about the forbidden friendship that is built between an eight year old German boy, Bruno (Butterfield) and a young Jewish concentration camp prisoner in World War II era Germany. The closer the two grow, the more Bruno begins to understand about the world he is living in and the part that his high ranking Nazi commandant father is playing in these horrors. A profound and moving drama, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a shattering account of the Holocaust from the perspective of a child. Great performances only reinforce the inevitability of the loss of innocence.
4. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Run Time: 102 mins
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7.4/10
Based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream is a gritty drama about four people utterly trapped by their harrowing addictions. Harry (Leto) and his best friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) are heroin addicts living in Coney Island, NY. Herry dreams of making enough money selling drugs to open a clothing boutique with his girlfriend Marion (Connelly), but he struggles to get by day to day paying for his own addiction. Harsh, and visually intense, this film is not for everyone. However, if you take the risk, Requiem pays off in the pure force of it’s grim tale of addiction.
3. The King’s Speech (2010)
Run Time: 118 mins
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 8.6/10
Based on the true story of King George VI, The King’s Speech begins with Bertie (Firth) suddenly crowned king after the death of his father and abdication of King Edward VIII. However, Bertie has struggled all his life with a debilitating speech impediment. With the country at the brink of war, his wife Elizabeth (Bonham Carter) has him see eccentric speech therapist Lionel Logue (Rush). With his support and some unorthodox treatment plans, he will overcome his impediment and unite his nation with a rousing radio address. Predictably, but irresistible in it’s humor and poignancy, The King’s Speech is a wonderful source of some historical entertainment.
2. Big Fish (2003)
Run Time: 125 mins
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7.2/10
A much more whimsical take on a dramatic film, Big Fish begins with William Bloom (Crudup), a young man who’s father Edward (Finney) has regaled William for years with tall tales of his life, desperate to understand more about him as his father lays on his deathbed. Told through many colorful, eccentric flashbacks (with Ewan McGregor as young Edward) of the mentioned tall tales, this film is a trip in and of itself but certainly one worth taking. Delightful, imaginative and transcendent, it is a stunning work by director Tim Burton.
1. Trainspotting (1996)
Run Time: 94 mins
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 8.3/10
Mark Renton (McGregor) lives in economically depressed Edinburgh, Scotland, with his herion addict friends. Trying to support their habits leads to dangerous and exciting plans but eventually Renton is able to kick his habit and move to London. He’s found a job, a flat, and is on his way to building something of a life for himself when his friends show up and lead him back into the world he tried so hard to escape. Incredibly entertaining, with a sort of pop-art feel, it still may be shocking to some viewers with it’s brazen and unapologetic visual imagery. However, it is Trainspotting‘s ferocious energy and black comedy feel makes it a must see for fans of dramatic