Drama movies are the genre with the highest number of productions made as well as the one where we find the largest number of must see movie. Drama comes from the Greek word drama, which means action, story. The dramatic genre, like tragedy and comedy, also originated in the cradle of civilization, ancient Greece.
Its ancient meaning was not linked to a dramatic and tragic story: by drama we meant any text for a theatrical representation of both a dramatic and a comedy genre. The term drama had a direct connection with dramatization, dramaturgy. Terms that meant the writing and scenic representation of a text.
The oldest playwrights known to exist are Eschilus, Sophocles and Euripides, Aristophanes and Menander. Aeschylus’ historical drama The Persians is the oldest known. By drama today, on the other hand, especially in cinema, we mean a film with a dramatic conflict, without irony, where the story does not have a light tone. But the nuances and exceptions are obviously endless.
Drama Genre in Cinema
Drama movies are those that come closest to the experience of life and with which it is easier to identify. In fact, the dramas deal with life stories in which the conflict is something more realistic than the kind of horror, thriller movies or science fiction movies.
There are no killer monsters or space craft traveling to other planets in the drama. The dramatic film, such as the comedy, is often inspired by events in the news, customs or real life.
It can be a biopic or autobiographical in which the writer or director tells a piece of their own life or the lives of famous people in the form of fiction. It can be the dramatic and tragic story of a character who finds no possibility of redemption.
A dramatic film can be about exceptional facts or about the inner and dream world, but one of its peculiarities is that the story, even if of an exceptional nature, is realistic. Drama is rarely perceived as escapist cinema. Even comedy, comedy films remain anchored in reality, but are often watched for entertainment.
Drama, on the other hand, looks conflicts straight in the face without easing them. On the contrary, it is often a peculiarity of the best dramatic films to enter the conflict, to delve deeply into the tragic and apparently unsolvable nature of the events. The dramatic film is also the one that can range more widely between human events. A multitude of sub-genres could be identified in the drama genre.
Obviously drama, more than other genres, has a cathartic value, the cathartic value of identification in a story. We look at a story to live other lives, to go beyond our ego, and experience conflicts and fears that apparently don’t concern us in reality. When we experience a drama through the telling of a story we experience our drama. That’s why we get so excited and we’re so involved.
By watching a character in a film who experiences his drama, we are observing a part of ourselves, perhaps never experienced, but which exists somewhere. The success of a film, and more generally of a story, consists precisely in this identification process. When we say that a film has “hooked” us we are saying that the identification process has succeeded.
We have experienced the drama on our skin, we have gone through the conflict together with the protagonist. We ourselves became the protagonist of the film. The mind works like this and doesn’t make much distinction between what is real and what we see on the screen.
A Page of Madness (1926)
In a country asylum, under torrential rain, the caretaker meets patients suffering from mental illness. The next day a young woman arrives who is surprised to find her father there working as a caretaker. The woman’s mother first went mad because of her husband, when he was a sailor. The husband decided to change his job to stay close to his wife in the asylum and take care of her.
Drama film by avant-garde surrealist and expressionist. Dreamlike, anti-narrative and experimental film that becomes a journey into the protagonist’s deepest nightmares. The images, however, seem to draw on the universal symbology of a collective unconscious which affects us all. Must-see drama film with continued forays into the horror genre. Cutting-edge masterpiece.
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Jean, the captain of the barge L’Atalante, marries Juliette, and the couple decide to live aboard the Atalante together with Jean’s crew, the eccentric Père Jules and the cabin boy. The pair travel to Paris to deliver their cargo, enjoying an impromptu honeymoon along the way.
Dramatic masterpiece of the French director Jean Vigo, iconic film of the 30s, is a journey through the existential torments caused by jealousy and possessiveness. The two young men have just married but these contradictory feelings do not wait to manifest themselves. Freedom and leisure in the entertainment of the big city or the routine of a long journey aboard a boat that never seems to end? Dramatic film not to be missed, a masterpiece of cinema which, thinking of other authors such as Jean Epstein, one could define impressionist. But this is only partially the case: it is Jean Vigo’s unique, unclassifiable style.
Osaka Elegy (1936)
Ayako Murai is a telephone operator for the pharmaceutical company Asai, in the city of Osaka in 1930. To pay off the debts of her father, unemployed and threatened with arrest for not repaying a loan, she agrees to become her employer’s mistress .
In a society where the race for money and power dominates, women can do nothing but submit to these male-dominated mechanisms. Mizoguchi returns once again to the theme of women’s rights, this time describing the city of Osaka in an exemplary way. The neon lights of modernity are the metaphor of traditional values that no longer exist. Dramatic film to be seen for its sensitivity towards the female world.
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Citizen Kane (1941)
It is a 1941 drama film directed, produced, co-written by and starring Orson Welles, who was only 25 at the time. The film is considered one of the masterpieces in cinematic history and is often cited as the greatest film of all time.
The plot of the film follows the life of Charles Foster Kane, a media mogul who is found dead on his massive estate, Xanadu, at the age of 70. The film begins with his death and then goes back in time, chronicling his life through a series of flashbacks, interviews and recollections of those who knew him.
The film is known for its innovative use of cinematic techniques such as editing, depth of field and lighting, which have become standard in modern cinema. In particular, the film is famous for its opening, which uses a montage sequence to show Kane’s death and his last breath.
The film received nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Orson Welles, but only won the Best Original Screenplay award. Despite this, the film was critically and popularly acclaimed and influenced many subsequent directors and writers.
The film has also been the subject of much academic and cultural scrutiny, with many scholars considering it a reflection on American loneliness and ambition. The film has also been associated with media mogul William Randolph Hearst, who is alleged to have been the inspiration for the character of Charles Foster Kane.
Obsession is a 1943 film directed by Luchino Visconti, considered one of the masterpieces of Italian cinema and one of the forerunners of Neorealism.
The film is based on the novel “The Postman Always Rings Twice” by James M. Cain, but the plot has been significantly modified to adapt to the Italian reality of the time. The story revolves around the relationship between Gino, a tramp who arrives at an inn in the countryside, and Giovanna, the wife of the owner of the inn. The passion between the two is intense but also desperate, and will lead them to perform desperate and tragic actions.
The film was controversial at the time due to its explicit sexual themes and depiction of a poor and desperate rural Italy. Furthermore, it was the first film to be censored by the fascist regime for moral reasons, before it could be distributed. However, it was critically acclaimed and helped change the landscape of Italian cinema, paving the way for Neorealism.
Obsession is known for its impressive and realistic cinematography, its evocative soundtrack and its theatrical staging. The film was influential to many later filmmakers, including Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni, and influenced Italian neorealist cinema and the French Nouvelle Vague movement.
Rome Open City (1945)
It’s a Italian movie of 1945 directed by the director Roberto Rossellini. It is considered one of the most important films in the history of Italian cinema and one of the masterpieces of neorealist cinema.
The plot of the film follows the story of a group of people living in Nazi-occupied Rome during World War II. Among these characters are a priest, a pregnant woman, a partisan and a police commissioner who works with the Germans. The film follows their lives as they try to resist the Nazi occupation and their atrocities.
The film was shot largely on the streets of Rome, using non-professional actors and creating a strong sense of realism. Furthermore, “Rome, open city” was one of the first films to deal directly and crudely with the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the occupation.
The film received numerous international awards and recognitions, helping to launch the Italian neorealism movement in cinema. “Rome, open city” is considered one of the most important films in the history of Italian cinema and has influenced many subsequent directors.
The Stranger (1946)
In the small town of Harper lives Charles Rankin, who is about to marry the daughter of an important judge. But Charles Rankin is actually Frank Kindle, a criminal of the Third Reich who has created a new identity. However, Inspector Wilson is on his trail.
Drama and thriller film, is a genre film made by the brilliant American director Orson Welles in one of his tormented collaborations with Hollywood to bring home some money. The themes are quite standard and in line with the Hollywood editorial line: the danger of the Nazi spy, the family and the quiet American province in danger, the small village church that serves as a symbol of divine justice. In the film, however, there is Orson Welles who plays the protagonist, the man of the Third Reich who has reinvented himself as a personality in American good society, and this is enough to recommend its vision. Even Welles’s direction, despite its imperfections, is well above the average level of this type of Hollywood-produced anti-Nazi narrative.
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Sciuscià is a 1946 Italian drama film, directed by Vittorio De Sica. The film tells the story of two young street children from Rome, Giuseppe and Pasquale, who earn their living as shoe shiners, but find themselves involved in a crime ring.
The film is considered one of the masterpieces of Italian neorealism, a cinematographic movement that aimed to represent the social and political reality of post-war Italy. Sciuscià was shot on a limited budget and with non-professional actors, including the two young protagonists Franco Interlenghi and Rinaldo Smordoni.
The film achieved great international success and won the Grand Prix at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. Sciuscià also received an Oscar nomination for best foreign film.
The film explores universal themes such as friendship, poverty, crime, social inequality and childhood. The story of the two shoe shine boys is a metaphor for the condition of the Italian people, subjected to the harshness of war and poverty.
Sciuscià is a touching film, which was able to delicately and realistically represent the difficulties and contradictions of daily life in that historical period. The film’s ending has been defined as one of the most dramatic and intense in the history of cinema, leaving viewers impressed and moved.
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
It is a 1948 drama film directed by Vittorio De Sica, considered one of the masterpieces of Italian neorealism.
The plot follows the story of Antonio Ricci (played by Lamberto Maggiorani), an unemployed family man who finally manages to find work as a brawler in Rome. However, his job requires the use of a bicycle, which he does not own. His desperation leads him to pawn the only thing of value he has, his double bed, to buy a bicycle.
Unfortunately, his bicycle is stolen on his first day on the job and, with the help of his son Bruno (played by Enzo Staiola), he embarks on a desperate quest to recover it. Along the way, the two meet a variety of characters, including some who appear to have stolen Antonio’s bicycle.
The film is known for its realistic depiction of post-war life in Italy, where poverty and unemployment were rife. The black and white photography and the use of non-professional actors (such as Maggiorani and Staiola) add to the feeling of authenticity of the film.
The film has been critically acclaimed since its release and has won numerous awards, including the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. The film has become a classic of Italian cinema and has influenced many directors around the world.
Mrs. Oyu (1951)
The bachelor Shinnosuke falls in love with Miss Oyu, his younger sister Shizu’s chaperone who visits him as a bride-to-be. Family taboo prevents Shinnosuke from marrying Oyu.
The first drama film of Mizoguchi which would make the director famous in the West. It is one of his best films. A diverse representation of Japanese culture in all its forms. The theme is one of the director’s dearest ones: the woman imprisoned in a social cage from which she is unable to free herself. The woman who is humiliated, in her most intimate inner essence, by taboos and retrograde traditions.
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Early Summer (1951)
Noriko resides in Kamakura with her family along with her parents and extended family. Noriko’s friends are divided into 2 groups, the married and the singles, who constantly tease each other, with Aya Tamura being her close ally in the singles group.
Drama film to see absolutely, masterpiece of Yasujiro Ozu which is part of the so-called trilogy of Noriko, the protagonist character of the film. In this cinematic story, Osu returns to the fundamental theme of his photography: the unity of the family that falls apart while the great social changes build new values and a new future.
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Umberto D. (1952)
Umberto D. is an Italian drama film from 1952, directed by Vittorio De Sica, starring Carlo Battisti as Umberto Domenico Ferrari, a pensioner trying to survive in a post-war Rome.
The film tells the poignant story of an elderly man who tries to cope with the difficulties of everyday life: rent, insufficient pension, social isolation. Umberto D. lives with his faithful dog, Flike, and tries to keep his apartment despite the constant calls from the owner.
Despite his efforts, Umberto D. cannot find a job that allows him to maintain his lifestyle. He tries to sell the valuables, but is forced to abandon the idea due to the too low prices that are offered to him.
Umberto D.’s situation worsens when he is hospitalized for an illness and discovers, on his return, that the owner has decided to evict him. Umberto D. seeks help among his friends, including the young governess Maria, but realizes that no one can help him.
The film ends with Umberto D. who, after trying in vain to find a solution to his problems, decides to leave his apartment and go away with his dog Flike.
Umberto D. is considered one of the masterpieces of Italian neorealism, a cinematographic movement that developed after the Second World War and which was characterized by the realistic representation of daily life and the economic and social difficulties of post-war Italy. The film was appreciated for its delicacy and profound humanity, which made Umberto D. an icon of Italian and world cinema.
Tokyo Story (1953)
Shukichi and Tomi, now close to seventy, take a trip to Tokyo to visit their children before it’s too late. When they arrive in the city, however, the reception is not what they expected: the eldest son Koichi and his sister Shige have too many work commitments and seem to experience the visit of their elderly parents more as a nuisance than as a joy.
The most famous movie of Corpse is one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of cinema. For an entire generation of directors and film critics the most important film ever made. In fact, the sensitivity with which the master of Japanese cinema Ozu filmed a key theme of human life is incredible. Parents who age and are pushed aside as the rush of modern life no longer leaves room for authentic communication. The journey of the two elderly parents to the big city. Their composure and apparent naivety, typically oriental, with which they do not give importance to the indifference they perceive from their children. Movies not to be missed absolutely, to see and see again and again.
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Japan, late 16th century: the potter Genjurō and his brother Tobei live with their wives Miyagi and Ohama in a village in the Omi region; Genjurō, convinced that he can earn a lot of money by selling his goods in the nearby city, travels to Omizo county together with Tobei, who joins him with the sole purpose of being able to become a samurai.
Another masterpiece drama film, another pearl of the Japanese cinematography. The story of the Samurai Genjurō, blinded by ambition and easy prey to demons and love spells, is one of the most memorable in the history of cinema. The direction here reaches very high levels very rare. It is a dramatic, dreamlike and surreal film about man’s vulnerability to his “baser” passions. And also a mystery film, rather than a mystery one. That is, a film that reveals with the language of cinema esoteric knowledge very ancient. An entire book would not be enough to expose its contents.
Gate of Hell (1953)
Lord Kiyomori leaves his castle to go and fight. While he is absent, some local lords attempt a coup to take over his castle. Samurai Endō Morito escorts the lady-in-waiting Kesa as she departs the palace disguised as the daimyō’s sister, giving her father and royal sister time to escape without being seen.
Film of breathtaking images, sets and costumes. Winner of an Oscar and Grand Jury Prize at Cannes. The theme of this dramatic film is the conflict of a man possessed by a sick, violent love that makes him lose the light of reason. A typical theme of some Japanese masterpieces, such as the film of Kenji Mizoguchi tales of the pale moon of August. Passions are ghosts, demons, who can transport us to a world of illusions and self-destruction. Read the full article at Gate of hell.
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The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)
It is a drama film and noir movie of 1955 directed by Otto Preminger and starring Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak and Eleanor Parker. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Nelson Algren.
The plot follows the vicissitudes of Frankie Machine (Frank Sinatra), an ex-con who tries to put himself back together after being released from prison. Frankie is a very good musician and plays the drums, but he also has a heroin addiction that makes him unstable. His life becomes even more complicated when he tries to reconcile with his ex-wife Zosh (Eleanor Parker), who is also a drug addict.
Frankie tries to kick his heroin addiction and start a new life as a musician, but is forced to deal with the pressures of his environment, including his old friend Sparrow (Arnold Stang) and his employer , gangster Schwiefka (Robert Strauss).
The film deals with very gritty and realistic themes, such as drug addiction, domestic violence and corruption in organized crime. It was one of the first Hollywood films to address these issues directly and without any censorship.
The film was a major commercial success and received three Academy Award nominations, including Best Screenplay. Frank Sinatra’s performance was critically acclaimed and earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
It is a very powerful and meaningful drama that tackled difficult subjects in a direct and realistic way, and is still considered a classic of 1950s American cinema today.
Crazed Fruit (1958)
The sweet life of the rich young Japanese of the Sun Tribe subculture which was inspired by the western lifestyle in the late 50s, between lust and violence, water skiing and speedboats.
the decline of the young generation of wealthy Japanese bourgeois. The sweet life of one of the tribes of the sun, oriental alternative youth who loved to practice the western lifestyle in a completely different context. Japanese drama film sublimely shot, with stunning black and white contrast photography. Here too the drama merges with the tragedy.
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The 400 Blows (1959)
It is a 1959 French drama film directed by Francois Truffaut, which tells the story of Antoine Doinel, a young boy from Paris who grew up in a dysfunctional family and in a difficult school environment. The film is considered a masterpiece of French cinema and a cornerstone of the Nouvelle Vague, a French cinematic movement of the 1950s and 60s.
The film was Truffaut’s first feature film and represented a turning point for French and international cinema, as it introduced a new aesthetic and a new approach to storytelling. The title of the film refers to a French expression which means “to cause scandal”.
The film follows the story of Antoine Doinel, played by Jean-Pierre Léaud, a 14-year-old boy who lives in a gray and cold Paris with his mother, who neglects him, and his stepfather, who mistreats him. Antoine is a rebellious and disillusioned boy who tries to escape from the difficulties of his life through small acts of delinquency.
The film highlights the alienation and isolation Antoine experiences in society, both in his family and at school. Truffaut uses a shooting technique often described as “cinema verité” which gives the film a documentary feel, while Jean Constantin’s score gives the film an emotional edge.
The film was acclaimed by international critics and won the Best Director Award at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, which contributed to its popularity and influence on French and international cinema. The film also marked the beginning of a long collaboration between Truffaut and Léaud, who would go on to become one of the most important actors of the Nouvelle Vague.
The Sweet Life (1960)
La Dolce Vita is a 1960 Italian film directed by Federico Fellini and starring Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg and Anouk Aimée. It is considered one of the masterpieces of Italian cinema and one of the most important works of world cinematography.
The plot of the film follows the life of Marcello Rubini (played by Mastroianni), a Roman journalist who tries to find happiness and fulfillment in life, but instead finds himself immersed in a series of empty and superficial experiences. Throughout the story, Marcello goes through different phases of Roman nightlife, from lavish parties to disco parties, meeting a series of eccentric and disillusioned characters.
One of the most memorable elements of the film is the scene in which Marcello and the beautiful Swedish actress Sylvia (played by Ekberg) take a dive into Rome’s Trevi Fountain, creating one of the most iconic moments in cinematic history.
La Dolce Vita is a highly discussed film and often interpreted in different ways by critics and viewers. Some see the story as a critique of the superficiality and decadence of 1960s Italian society, while others interpret it as a portrayal of human longing and the pursuit of happiness.
Jules and Jim (1962)
“Jules and Jim” è a French film 1962 drama directed by Francois Truffaut. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Henri-Pierre Roché.
The plot of the film follows the story of Jules (played by Oskar Werner) and Jim (played by Henri Serre), two artist friends who fall in love with the same woman, Catherine (played by Jeanne Moreau). Their friendship is tested when Catherine marries Jules, but then begins a relationship with Jim. The relationship becomes increasingly complex and intense, eventually leading to a tragic conclusion.
The film is known for its innovative non-linear storytelling and its depiction of a three-way relationship. It was also appreciated for its performances of the main actors and the score by Georges Delerue.
“Jules et Jim” has become a classic of French cinema and a major contributor to the Nouvelle Vague film movement. The film has inspired numerous other works of art, including the song “Jules et Jim” by Carla Bruni.
8 ½ (1963)
8 1/2 is a 1963 Italian drama film, directed by Federico Fellini. The film is considered one of the director’s masterpieces and one of the most important films in the history of cinema.
The film follows the story of Guido Anselmi, a director in a creative crisis who is trying to make a new film. Guido finds himself in a difficult situation, as the pressure from his producer, actors and financiers is increasing, but he can’t find inspiration for his project.
While trying to solve his problems, Guido recalls various moments in his life, including his childhood, his past relationships and his marriage. However, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur until Guido can no longer distinguish between what is real and what is not.
The film was critically acclaimed for its psychological depth, striking visual style, and memorable soundtrack. It won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1964.
8 1/2 is a film that explores the creative crisis and psychology of a director, offering a fascinating and moving insight into the world of cinema.
The Naked Kiss (1964)
Kelly is a prostitute who arrives by bus in the small town of Grantville after fleeing the big city to escape her former pimp. She meets local police Captain Griff who hosts her in his apartment, but then invites her to leave the city.
Drama film about a woman trying to change your life and tries to free himself from his past. The men with whom he comes into contact, however, do not seem to have a conscience of their own. They are rather unwitting cogs of a social mechanism who decides how they should behave. They are rather characters looking for a scapegoat on which to vent their frustration. Men who no longer know forgiveness, compassion, the hopeful vision of a new future, but only repression.
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The Cow (1969)
Hassan loves his only livelihood cow more than anything else. When he leaves the village for a short time his wife finds the cow dead in the stable. The fellow villagers to avoid displeasure hide the animal’s body in a well.
Immense drama film, seminal masterpiece of Iranian New Wave. Many places and narration that are not easily forgotten. A highly dramatic story of a man who identifies his own life with his only heritage: a cow. A dramatic film to be seen at least once in a lifetime to understand what cinema can be far from the mechanisms of the industrial mainstream, in a poor country like Iran. Creativity pure, actors at the highest levels. Read the full article at The Cow.
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The Holy Mountain (1973)
A man, nicknamed the thief, who represents the Fool card in the Tarot, lies unconscious in a desert, among swarms of flies. When he wakes up he meets a footless and handless dwarf, representing the Five of Swords. The two become friends they go to the nearest town where they earn money by entertaining tourists.
It’s not easy to talk about The Holy Mountain and a director like Jodorowsky, two entities in front of which one remains speechless. Is it a drama film? The film is labeled as a drama film, but it is much more, it is one of films where the cinematographic genre is completely shattered. It is one of the most bizarre, absurd and extreme films in the history of cinema. A visually impressive film, at the level of Federico Fellini’s cinema, from which it certainly draws inspiration. Each shot is a figurative work where the smallest details are taken care of. Every detail has a symbolic, esoteric value. Images of unheard-of violence alternate with spiritual moments, with the presence of a protagonist very similar to Jesus Christ. The film is also an interpretation through images of the meanings of the cabala and tarot cards, as well as a fierce critique of war, consumerism and capitalism. One cannot fail to see Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain. Its excesses and baroque aesthetics may not please. But it really is the work of a man with extraordinary courage. It looks like a Hollywood blockbuster, but it was created with crowdfunding. No big ones Industrial film studios would never have financed such a film.
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In the third century after Christ Sebastiane was part of the emperor Diocletian’s guards. When he tries to avoid the killing of one of the emperor’s fiancés, he is severely punished, deprived of his role and sent into exile to a distant location.
Extravagant and original reworking of the story of the life of San Sebastiano, taken from the Apocryphal Gospels. The icon director of the gay world Derek Jarman chooses to record the film’s dialogues in Latin, and to show nudity and love affairs among the Roman soldiers without filters. This causes him several problems with censorship and with the release of the film, but also a great recognition from the gay world of the time who was fighting against discrimination for their rights. Dramatic film that tells us about the tragedy of the persecutions against the “different”, the one who is perceived as not aligned with the dominant system. What was once perceived as criminal, perverse and shameful, even to be crucified and tortured, is then declared worthy of respect and dignity. The dramatic contradictions of man and human history in a film which, if read in a broader way than the LGBT genre, raises awareness of very important things.
Taxi Driver (1976)
“Taxi Driver” is a 1976 drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel. The film is considered a classic of American cinema and won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976.
The plot of the film follows the story of Travis Bickle (played by De Niro), a former Marine who works as a night cab driver in New York City. Travis is a lonely and alienated man who feels disillusioned with the world around him. After being rejected by a girl who works at a coffee shop, Travis becomes increasingly obsessed with the city’s violence and corruption.
Travis then decides to take matters into his own hands and becomes a vigilante, planning an assassination attempt against a corrupt politician and his entourage. Meanwhile, Travis falls in love with a young prostitute named Iris (played by Jodie Foster) and tries to save her from her turbulent life.
The film is known for De Niro’s performance, which was critically acclaimed and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. “Taxi Driver” has also been the subject of much discussion and debate regarding the violence and psychology of Travis’ character.
The film was a commercial success and inspired many other works over the years, including David Simon’s television series ‘The Deuce’ and Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’. “Taxi Driver” is considered one of Scorsese’s best films and a landmark of American cinema of the 70s.
Raging Bull (1980)
Raging Bull is a biopic 1980 drama directed by Martin Scorsese, produced by Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler and adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin from Jake LaMotta’s 1970 story Raging Bull: My Story. The film stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, an Italian-American middleweight fighter whose compulsive, self-destructive rage, jealousy, and animal hunger have damaged his relationship with his wife and family. Included in the film are Joe Pesci as Joey, LaMotta’s brother, and Cathy Moriarty as Vikki, his significant other. Nicholas Colasanto, Theresa Saldana and Frank Vincent perform supporting roles in the film.
During principal photography, each of the boxing scenes were choreographed to a particular visual design, and De Niro gained around 50 pounds to represent LaMotta in his later post-boxing years. The film received mixed ratings upon its release but was nominated for 8 Academy Awards. After its release, the film continued to garner great acclaim, and is now regarded as one of the best movies ever made.
The Elephant Man (1980)
The Elephant Man is a 1980 drama biopic about Joseph Merrick, a severely deformed man in late 19th-century London. The film was directed by David Lynch, produced by Mel Brooks and Jonathan Sanger, and starring John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Michael Elphick, Hannah Gordon and Freddie Jones. The screenplay for the film was adapted by Lynch, Christopher De Vore and Eric Bergren from The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences (1923) by Frederick Treves and The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity (1971) by Ashley Montagu. It was shot in black and white and uses make-up by Christopher Tucker. The Elephant Man was a commercial success with 8 Oscar elections including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor.
Rain Man (1988)
Rain Man is a 1988 drama film directed by Barry Levinson and starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.
The film tells the story of Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), a young and ambitious car dealer in Los Angeles, who discovers that he has an autistic older brother named Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) who lives in a mental institution. After his father’s death, Charlie tries to get a part of the inheritance, but discovers that the estate has all been left to Raymond. Desperate, Charlie decides to kidnap Raymond and take him on a road trip across the United States, hoping he can convince his brother to share the inheritance with him.
During the journey, Charlie learns more about Raymond and his condition, and eventually develops a deep empathy for him. Raymond proves to have amazing abilities, such as the ability to memorize numbers and solve tricky math puzzles. Their relationship evolves, and Charlie realizes that Raymond is not just a burden, but a person with a personality and a life of his own.
The film was a major commercial and critical success, winning four Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman for his portrayal of Raymond. “Rain Man” was also a major contributor to raising public awareness of the condition of autism and the plight of people with it.
Shawshank Redemption (1994)
It is a 1994 film, directed byFrank Darabont and based on the short story by Stephen King called “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”. The film is considered one of the masterpieces of contemporary American cinema and has received numerous awards, including seven nominations for the Academy Awards.
The plot of the film follows the story of Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, a banker who is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife and her lover. Andy is sent to Shawshank Jail, where he meets Red, played by Morgan Freeman, an inmate who makes a living in the jail. Red becomes Andy’s closest friend and helps him survive the harsh reality of prison.
The film chronicles Andy’s struggle to regain his freedom and prove his innocence, but also his struggle to find hope and redemption in a place as desperate and depressing as Shawshank Jail. Thanks to his intelligence and perseverance, Andy manages to gain the trust of the prison warden and other inmates, and finally, after years of imprisonment, manages to escape from prison.
It is a very touching and moving film, which deals with themes such as friendship, hope, redemption and the struggle for freedom. The film was praised by audiences and critics alike for its ability to tell such an intense and engaging story, and for the extraordinary performances of Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.
Trainspotting is a 1996 drama film directed by Danny Boyle, based on the 1993 novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh. The film tells the story of a group of young drug addicts living in Edinburgh, Scotland during the 1980s.
The protagonist of the film is Mark Renton, played by Ewan McGregor, a young drug addict who tries to get out of the ring of drugs and crime that surrounds him. The story follows Mark and his friends, including Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie, as they try to avoid prison, death and addiction.
The film deals with issues such as drug addiction, poverty, violence, social alienation and the search for a sense of belonging. Director Danny Boyle employs a number of innovative visual techniques, including the use of fast-paced photography, dream sequences and an eclectic soundtrack to create a unique cinematic experience.
Trainspotting was a great success with critics and audiences and has become a cult film, mainly for its realistic depiction of the lives of young drug addicts. The film also launched the careers of actors such as Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle and Kelly Macdonald. A sequel titled “Trainspotting 2” was released in 2017.
Any Given Sunday (1999)
It is a 1999 sports drama film directed by Oliver Stone and written by John Logan and Stone himself. The film revolves around the life and career of a professional football coach, Tony D’Amato (played by Al Pacino), and his Miami team, the Miami Sharks.
The film is known for its gritty and realistic depiction of the world of professional football, with a focus on the constant pressure, competition and physical violence players face every day. In the film, D’Amato finds himself dealing with a variety of issues, including the decline of his team, the pressures of team ownership to win, and his players’ personal issues.
The cast of the film is made up of a number of big names, including Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, James Woods and Jamie Foxx, who plays the team’s quarterback. The film was well received by critics and audiences, particularly for the performances of the actors and its realistic depiction of the world of football.
The film is considered a classic of the sports genre and an important film for its honest portrayal of the pressures and conflicts of pro football.
It is a 2002 violence against women film directed by Peter Mullan, which tells the story of three young women who are incarcerated in one of the so-called “Magdalene Asylums”, religious institutions run by Catholic nuns in Ireland from the 1800s until the late 1990s.
The three women, played by Anne-Marie Duff, Nora-Jane Noone and Dorothy Duffy, end up in these institutions for different reasons: one for being harassed by a cousin, another for being raped by a boy from the village , and the third for being considered too attractive and sinful by the men of her country.
Within these institutions, women are subjected to corporal punishment, forced labor and humiliation, all enforced by the nuns who run them. The film follows the lives of the three protagonists as they try to find the strength to resist the oppression they suffer and to find a way out of this religious prison.
The film was critically acclaimed for its exposure of the abuse system perpetrated by Catholic nuns in Ireland, and won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. However, it was also criticized by the Irish Catholic Church, who felt the film painted an unfair and negative picture of their institution.
The Pianist (2002)
The Pianist is a 2002 drama biopic produced and directed by Roman Polanski, with a screenplay by Ronald Harwood and starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book The Pianist (1946), a Holocaust narrative by Polish Jewish pianist and author Władysław Szpilman, a Holocaust survivor. The film was a co-production of France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland. The Pianist premiered at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival on May 24, 2002, where it won the Palme d’Or. The film garnered major recognition, with critics praising Polanski’s direction, Brody’s performance, and Harwood’s film screenplay. At the 75th Academy Awards, the film won for Best Director (Polanski), Best Adapted Screenplay (Harwood), and Best Actor (Brody).
25th Hour (2002)
It is a 2002 drama film directed by Spike Lee and based on the novel by David Benioff. The film is a drama that follows the story of Monty Brogan, played by Edward Norton, a drug trafficker who has just received a seven-year prison sentence.
The story takes place during Monty’s last day of freedom, as he spends his time reflecting on his life and the choices that have led him to his current situation. Joining him are his longtime friends, Jacob Elinsky (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Francis Xavier Slaughtery (played by Barry Pepper), who try to help Monty figure out how to face the future.
The film explores themes such as friendship, responsibility and racism, with some scenes focusing on the conflicts between the white and black communities in New York after the 9/11 attacks. Norton’s performance is particularly notable, and the film was generally well received by critics for its direction, cast, and score.
It is a powerful and moving film that explores deep and complex themes through the life of a single individual. If you like dramatic movies and well-developed characters, you might like this movie.
The film grossed approximately $13.1 million at the box office in the United States, while the production budget was approximately $5 million. Although it didn’t get big box office receipts, the film was highly praised by critics and over time it has become a cult movie for many cinema fans.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
“Million Dollar Baby” is a 2004 film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring himself, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. The story is based on a short story by F.X. Toole and follows the life of Maggie Fitzgerald (played by Hilary Swank), a young woman who dreams of becoming a professional boxing champion.
Maggie enlists the help of a crabby elderly boxing trainer named Frankie Dunn (played by Clint Eastwood), who is at first reluctant to train her, but eventually warms to her and teaches her everything he knows. Together, Maggie and Frankie battle their way to success in the ring, but life isn’t easy for them. The film deals with themes such as loneliness, friendship, family, death and dignity. The ending of the film is very emotional and has aroused different reactions among the audience and the critics.
“Million Dollar Baby” received numerous nominations and awards, including four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Clint Eastwood, Best Actress for Hilary Swank and Best Supporting Actor for Morgan Freeman. The film was also a major commercial success and received positive reviews from critics.
The Notebook (2004)
It’s a romantic film 2004 directed by Nick Cassavetes, based on the homonymous novel by Nicholas Sparks. The film tells the love story between Allie (played by Rachel McAdams) and Noah (played by Ryan Gosling), two young people who fall intensely in love during the summer of 1940 in North Carolina.
The drama unfolds through a flashback, in which an elderly Noah (played by James Garner) reads the story of their love to Allie (played by Gena Rowlands), who has Alzheimer’s disease and no longer remembers the past. The film is known for its tear-jerking ending and emotional soundtrack.
The film achieved great critical and commercial success, and became a real romantic cult. It also launched the career of Rachel McAdams and cemented that of Ryan Gosling, who later became two of Hollywood’s most beloved stars.
It is considered a film that marked an era for the romantic genre, thanks to its ability to touch the emotional strings of the spectators and to represent love in an intense and passionate way.
The Lives of Others (2006)
It is a 2006 German drama directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. The film is set in 1984 East Germany, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and follows the story of an officer of the Stasi, East Germany’s security service, named Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler. Wiesler is assigned to spy on a famous playwright Georg Dreyman and his girlfriend, the actress Christa-Maria Sieland, on suspicion of being a political dissident. Wiesler begins eavesdropping on their conversations and observing their private lives, but as time passes, he becomes more and more involved with their lives and begins to reevaluate his political beliefs.
The film was critically acclaimed for its realistic depiction of life in East Germany and the performances of its actors, most notably Ulrich Mühe as Wiesler and Sebastian Koch as Dreyman. The film won numerous awards, including the Oscar for best foreign film in 2007, and is regarded as one of the best German films of recent decades.
“The Lives of Others” is a powerful human drama that explores the themes of political oppression, personal freedom and hope. The film offers a critique of East Germany’s communist regime, but at the same time also shows the complexity of the characters involved and their struggle to preserve their integrity and humanity in a hostile world.
Gran Torino (2008)
Gran Torino is a 2008 drama film directed by Clint Eastwood, who also starred as the title character, Walt Kowalski.
The plot revolves around the life of Walt Kowalski, an aging Korean War veteran who lives in a working-class neighborhood in Detroit. Walt is a gruff and racist man, who has never made friends with his immigrant neighbors, especially a family of Hmong origin, an ethnic group from Southeast Asia.
After his wife’s death, Walt finds himself alone and alienated from his family, who consider him a racist and incomprehensible old man. But when the next door Hmong family is targeted by a gang of neighborhood youths, Walt is forced to act to protect them, using his experience and skill with guns to defend his new friends.
Gran Torino addresses many sensitive issues, such as racism, immigration and violence in urban areas. The film also offers an intense reflection on loneliness and old age, and how these realities can push people to find new meaning in life and to reconcile with their past.
Gran Torino was critically acclaimed for its acting, direction and its courageous message against racism. The film became one of Clint Eastwood’s biggest box office hits, earning over $270 million worldwide.
“Precious” is a film about abuse of women of 2009 directed by Lee Daniels and based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009 and received positive reviews from critics, garnering multiple Academy Awards and nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress.
The plot follows the life of Claireece “Precious” Jones, a 16-year-old African-American girl living in 1980s Harlem. Precious was sexually abused by her father and has two sons, one of whom has Down syndrome, who were given up for adoption. Precious’s mother is abusive and physically and emotionally abuses her. Precious, who is illiterate, is enrolled in an alternative school, where she meets literature teacher, Ms. Rain. Thanks to the support of Mrs. Rain and other characters, including her social worker, Precious begins to overcome the obstacles in her life and pursue her dreams.
The film tackles difficult issues such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, poverty, racial discrimination and disability, but does so with sensitivity and respect for the characters. The cast of the film is made up of talented actors, including Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton and Mariah Carey, who have received praise for their performances. Mo’Nique’s performance as Precious’s mother earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. It is a touching and powerful film that tackles difficult issues and manages to do so with delicacy and humanity.
Queen of The Lot (2010)
An electronic ankle bracelet and house arrest aren’t enough to stop aspiring actress Maggie Chase (Tanna Frederick) from pursuing her goals: become famous in the world of cinema and find a romantic relationship. Maggie wants to get to star in movies of the highest quality and leave the world of B movie.
Director Henry Jaglom seems to have experienced firsthand the frustrations and absurdities of the mainstream Los Angeles film industry and how it vampirizes the souls of the people within it. Another of Jaglom’s qualities as a writer and director is his ability to tell a dramatic story and at the same time love his characters without sentimentality. Queen of the Lot is one independent film with a clearly recognizable style of an author outside the box and banality of commercial films. Tanna Frederick is again a passionate and talented actress in Jaglom’s employ.
Joachim Zand, a television producer in crisis, returns to France after a long period spent in the United States. Joachim had cut off all ties in France: friends, enemies, children. He arrives with a group of boisterous Californian strippers who do burlesque shows that he wants to show in Paris.
The existential drama of a man who wanted to cut all links with his past and has to deal with emptiness and alienation. An inner path common to many people who decide to move away from their place of origin to seek a new life and remove suffering. A dramatic film not to be missed that deals with a fundamental theme of life: the desire to escape, reinvent yourself, and the comparison with the accounts left open.
The Monk (2011)
In seventeenth-century Spain, a child is abandoned at the door of a monastery. As an adult he will become the Capuchin father Ambrosio. Raised with the friars, Ambrosio is an example for others. However, he suddenly finds himself facing temptations due to a man who arrives at the convent.
Must-see drama, dark and nuanced horror, with Mephistophelean atmospheres. The settings in a convent are vaguely reminiscent of The Name of the Rose. Vincent Cassel’s interpretation is superb. The film deals with the theme of temptation and religious fanaticism which is sometimes more demonic than material sins. One of those dramatic films where the drama is tinged with tragedy.
The Fifth Season (2012)
In a small town in the Ardennes lives a community that is about to celebrate the end of winter with the traditional bonfire. The joy of the celebration vanishes when a strange event takes place, interpreted by the villagers as a bad omen: the fire of the stake does not light.
Dramatic film not to be missed with a metaphorical value that speaks to us of the condition of humanity. An inspiring story to reflect on a moment in which man and nature seem to no longer be in harmony. Because of man’s behaviors and selfishness, of course.
It is May 27, 2001. The group of Islamic separatists of Abu Sayyaf, fanatical killers and thieves who believe themselves to be revolutionaries fighting for a noble cause, take twelve people hostage from a resort on the island of Dos Palmas, south of the Philippines . But there was a mistake: however, they are not the right people they wanted to capture.
Based on a terrible true story, Captive is a film shot with the participation of non-professional actors. A must-see drama from Filipino director Brillante Mendoza with thriller and action overtones. Shot in the wild and rugged nature of the island of Palawan.
The Hunt (2012)
It is a 2012 drama film directed by Thomas Vinterberg and written by Tobias Lindholm. The plot follows Lucas (played by Mads Mikkelsen), a man living in a small community in Denmark who is falsely accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl.
The story develops around how the community reacts to the news of the accusation, which becomes a real public lynching against Lucas. The film explores gang psychology, witch hunts and the psychological and physical violence that can be inflicted on an innocent individual by society.
Mads Mikkelsen gives an intense and emotionally charged performance as Lucas, whose character desperately tries to prove his innocence, but is continually rejected by the community around him. The tension of the film is high from start to finish, and its universal and current thematic makes one reflect on the dangers of summary judgment and the vulnerability of the individual within society.
The film was a critical and commercial success, winning the Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. The film was praised for its thoughtful direction, well-structured script and performances by the actors, and remains an important contributor to the debate on the consequences of media lynching and summary justice.
The film Locke is a 2013 British psychological drama directed by Steven Knight and played by Tom Hardy. The film’s plot takes place entirely within a motorway, where Hardy’s character, Ivan Locke, drives from Birmingham to London, facing a series of phone calls that will change his life forever.
The story takes place in real time and follows Locke as he tries to resolve a variety of problems, including a family and professional crisis, as he heads to London to attend the birth of his baby with a woman with whom he has been in an on-and-off-again relationship. During the journey, Locke talks to several characters on the phone, including his family, his boss, his assistant, and the pregnant woman, trying to resolve issues ethically and responsibly.
Tom Hardy’s performance as Ivan Locke is remarkable, as he is the only actor present on screen and conveys his emotions mostly through his voice, as we cannot see his face. Steven Knight’s direction focuses on the emotional intensity of the character and his inner struggle, rather than action or special effects.
The film Locke was critically acclaimed for its originality and Tom Hardy’s performance. It has been described as a minimalist artwork, which focuses on storytelling strength and emotional nuance, rather than visual showmanship. In summary, Locke is a film that explores the themes of responsibility, morality and loyalty, presenting a character who struggles to find a just solution to his personal and professional problems.
Birdman is a 2014 drama film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and with stars Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton and Emma Stone.
The plot follows Riggan Thomson (played by Michael Keaton), an actor who once played the famous superhero Birdman, and who now tries to revive his stage career by writing, directing and starring in a play on Broadway. Over the course of the play, Riggan is confronted with a number of challenges, including difficulties managing relationships with his entourage, his ex-wife and daughter just out of rehab.
What makes Birdman unique is its innovative shooting style. Much of the film was shot as one continuous take, creating a feeling of immersion in Riggan’s stage life. Additionally, the film explores themes such as identity, fame, creativity and madness, often using humor and irony to comment on the film and theater industries.
The film was a great critical success and received numerous awards, including four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. In addition, the performances of the actors were widely praised, especially that of Michael Keaton who received a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.
‘Mommy’ is a 2014 drama film written and directed by Canadian directorXavier Dolan. The film was presented in competition at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize.
The film tells the story of a widowed mother, Diane “Die” Després (played by Anne Dorval), who tries to cope with the education of her 15-year-old son, Steve (played by Antoine Olivier Pilon), who suffers from deficit disorder of attention and hyperactivity. The relationship between mother and son is complicated and often conflicted, but Die does his best to keep Steve’s problematic behavior at bay.
The plot of the film is told through a particular filming technique, which uses a 1:1 aspect ratio (ie square) and very bright photography, which emphasizes the drama of the scenes.
“Mommy” was praised by critics for its sensitivity, emotional intensity and the brilliance of the performances of the main actors. The film was also seen as a reflection on the difficulty of parenting, unconditional love and the complexity of family relationships.
“Mommy” is a powerful and engaging film, which manages to convey to the audience a strong empathy towards the characters and their stories.
My Son (2017)
Julien is always traveling for work. His constant absences from home and inability to care for his son Mathys destroyed his marriage with Marie. While in France he receives a disturbing call from his ex-wife: their child, who is now seven years old, has disappeared while camping in the Alps. Julien immediately reaches the place of disappearance and begins with great tenacity and determination to search his son, personally investigating.
Starting from a well-established narrative cue in the thriller genre, My Son by French director Christian Carion is a film not to be missed especially for the style with which it was shot. Conceived from the outset as a film to be made almost in real time, over 6 shooting days, the director uses a radical method of improvisation with his lead actor Guillaume Canet.
Charlie Says (2018)
Karlene Faith is a social worker who works in the women’s prison where Leslie Van Houten, known as Lulu, Patricia Krenwinkel known as Katie and Susan Atkins known as Sadie are imprisoned. They are three “Manson’s Girls”, the girls of Charles Manson’s sect, guilty of having participated in heinous crimes, sentenced to the death penalty for the murder of nine people, including actress Sharon Tate.
Screenwriter Guinevere Turner writes a heartfelt story, starting from a personal experience in her adolescence in which she and her family found themselves participating in a cult in the community of Mel Lyman, whose followers aspired to go and live on the planet Venus . Director Mary Harron does not describe Charles Manson as the personification of evil, an enigmatic and cursed character. Instead, it describes him as a mediocre, a racist drifter, a frustrated man who has failed to achieve his dreams and lives on the margins of society. Charlie Manson is in fact a man with a strong personality capable of plagiarizing the will of others with false ideals, a false mysticism which is the fruit of his madness.
Occupied House (2020)
A large room, a solitary pianist, a mysterious presence and the world outside, within solitary streets, around a swimming pool, along a river, always her, still her. Empty memories of a love story. An assiduous game of mirrors awaits the man, when a strange woman who looks too much like the soul that dwells in his home knocks on his door.
A poetic work with a linearly intelligible structure that refers to the imagery of gothic films-romantics, of life beyond death and of love beyond any concrete obstacle to living, with its indissoluble mystery and the transience of earthly love at the center.
The film “Nika” follows the story of a young woman from Los Angeles who lost both of her parents in a car accident. Although she has embarked on a career as a model, Nika feels an emptiness in existence and the weight of the time she passes. Although she has studied in various artistic fields, she has not achieved the success she hoped for and her friend, who has become a popular star, does not seem happy. Nika, in financial desperation, faces a life choice that could make or break her: becoming an escort.
The film represents a world of fragility and characters who seek meaning in a society that seems hostile. The director Leilani Amour Arenzana, through surrealist and dreamlike inspirations, tells the story of characters imprisoned in a “Western” trap, where vices, psychological fragility and materialism take over. Nika is a film that mixes drama and romance, narrating a period of transformation and redemption for the protagonist.
The Whale (2022)
‘The Whale’ is a 2022 American psychological drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and written by Samuel D. Hunter, based on his 2012 play of the same name. The film stars Brendan Fraser, who plays Charlie, an obese man who is dying of illness and trying to reconcile with his teenage daughter.
The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September 2022 and received generally positive reviews from critics. In particular, Fraser’s performance was praised as one of the best of his career.
The plot of “The Whale” revolves around Charlie, an obese man who is dying of disease and who lives alone in an old house in the Pacific Northwest. He has a difficult relationship with his family and especially with his teenage daughter, who despises him for his lifestyle and the choices he has made in the past.
Despite his difficulties, Charlie tries to rebuild his life and reconcile with his daughter. Throughout the story, the film explores the relationship between father and daughter, guilt and redemption, and the impact past choices can have on the present.
The film is an intense and moving portrait of a man struggling with himself and with his life choices, and his attempt to find a form of redemption and reconciliation with his family.