Top 10 Best Offbeat Movies Reviewed

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There are certain movies, which, in spite of being good, fail to reach such dimensions of popularity that they deserve. They win critical acclaims, but the better part of the audience remains oblivious to their existence, which is a very sorry state, since these movies are no less splendid than the ones that break records at the box office. They are intellectually sound, and probably not for all kinds of people. Nevertheless, these deserve the recognition, and one should watch them for the sheer pleasure of being in a world of grandeur. They might not win Oscars; they might not earn huge turnovers, but this does not belittle their quality. A good movie is one that takes you away from your world and you transcend into the world of the characters in the story. That movie, those characters is all you can think about for many days after that. Here is the list of 10 such movies that you should not miss. They are not so popular, very few may have heard of them. Yet, they are legendary in their own right. So if you claim to be a movie freak, do not miss these for the world!

10. Amazing Grace (2006)

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It was nominated as the “Best Spiritual Film of 2008″ in the third annual “Beliefnet Film Awards”. Directed by Michael Apted, and starring Ian Gruffudd, the film is a true story about William Wilberforce, a 19th century English politician, known for leading the movement against the trading of slaves. It is the 20 year struggle that he went through to make the bill abolishing slave trade in British Empire, pass in the Parliament. The movie also explores the story of John Newton, an English poet in the 18th century, who was a victim of this slave trade. The title, ‘Amazing Grace’, comes from a Christian hymn, written by Newton, based on his personal experiences. The movie depicts many aspects- the struggle for a dignified life, the strength that can only come from being with the family, the will of William Wilberforce to change the condition of slavery. A historical drama, this movie is worth watching, especially by those who like to study old cultures and movements.

9.  Beautiful Thing (1996)

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This film won the Grand Prix award in the Paris Film Festival. Directed by Hettie MacDonald, the story revolves around a teen named Jamie, who lives with his mother. He discovers early about his gay sexuality, and even though this fact remains concealed from the society, he is often bullied by his school mates and neighbor kids about being uninterested in manly sports. He is attracted towards one of his classmates, Ste, and one night Ste comes over to his place to escape the abuses of his big brother. Things get heated up, and they end up making out. The movie then shows how he accepts the fact and the relationship with his mother, how they face the society due to his sexual orientation. This film has no worldwide distributor. It was conceptualized as a television series, but was so well received, that it was decided to convert it into a film.

8.  The Mighty (1998)

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Directed by Peter Chelsom, ‘The Mighty’ is based on the novel ‘Freak the Mighty’ by Rodman Philbrick. It is the story of two 12-year old kids, Kevin and Max. Kevin suffers from Morquio  Syndrome, that has rendered him physically handicapped, and thus he cannot go out anywhere on his own. Max suffers from dyslexia, and is oversized, which often makes him the target for the neighborhood bullies. Kevin is assigned as Max’s reading tutor. This is when both their lives change. They discover the purest form of love- friendship. They share their grievances, they go out exploring. They accept that they are social outcasts but this gives them no reason to live their lives. ‘The Mighty’ is an emotional drama, a story so heartwarming and relatable, since we all have faced some kind of bullying as kids. A must watch, for all people!

7. Living in Oblivion (1995)

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Living in Oblivion is a film, about film-making. Directed by Tom DiCillo, the movie is divided into three parts, or segments, all featuring various issues that the crew of the film has to face while shooting. In the first segment, the director dreams about pathetic performance of the cast, and everything that can go wrong with the technology. In the second sequence the actress dreams about sleeping with the lead actor, and then fighting and giving a devastating performance. The third part features the lessons they have learnt through their dreams, and that how it is necessary at times to just go with the flow. ‘Living in oblivion’ is a dark comedy, a realistic depiction of making of a low budget non-commercial film.

6.  The Butterfly Effect (2004)

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Starring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart, ‘The Butterfly Effect’ is the story of a 20 year old college boy, who discovers that he has the power to travel back in the past and change certain incidents, altering the present for many. He suffered many traumas in childhood, which made him block his mind, inducing memory gaps of certain periods. So, it’s like there are certain holes in his memory, the pressure of certain situations he didn’t want to face. Ashton Kutcher has done a brilliant job, considering that his character involves dramatic mood swings. ‘The Butterfly Effect’ is a science fiction thriller, which wasn’t so widely acclaimed but earned huge profits on box office. The main objective of the movie is to tell the audiences that selfish motives never bring about good for anyone. It is only when we set aside our benefit that we can do something good for those we care about. It is a great low budget movie, and a must watch for all those sci-fi freaks out there!

5. Evil (2003)

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It was nominated for Oscar in the category ‘Best Foreign Film’. A Swedish production, ‘Evil’ is the story of Erik, a fifteen year old, victim of domestic violence. The household environment makes him violent even in school, where he engages in bullying and harming others. He is expelled, and sent away to a boarding school by his mother, where he turns over a new leaf, only to face the lawless bullying of the seniors in the institution. He befriends his roommate, who is a geek but too coward to stand up for himself. He faces a hard time since he refuses to oblige the senior forms and his tortured mercilessly. Still, he outshines in sports, and defeats many seniors. He is expelled for being romantically involved with the canteen waitress. Erik then takes revenge of all the bullying, returns to threaten the school of exposure. He then finishes school and goes on to fulfill his dream of becoming a lawyer. From a violent, ruthless kid, he turns into a just, brave, and compassionate young man. ‘Evil’ was also nominated in the Academy Awards. A substantially realistic movie, it is highly recommended for all kids and young adults and adults alike, since it explores various themes at the same time.

4. October Sky (1999)

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Based on ‘Rocket Boys’ by Homer Hickam, ‘October Sky’ is the story of the people in Coalwood, a town where the major employment is that by coal mines. The plot is centered on a boy Homer, whose father also works in the coal mine, and hopes that his sons will follow his footsteps. One of his sons wins a football scholarship and goes away to college, while Homer is left to fulfill his father’s wishes. But he is not interested in mines. His passion is rocket engineering, and he actively takes this up in school. He and his friends, with the support of their teacher Miss Riley build a rocket; get invited to National Science Fair. All of this is not without struggle. They face a lot of opposition from family side and get arrested falsely once for starting a forest fire. But they still strive, and make it happen. The first official rocket Homer launches is named after Miss Riley, who died of Hodgkin’s disease. The ‘October Sky’ is the story of dreams of a child that come true. It shows the arguments of aspirations in a family. Extremely well crafted, ‘October Sky’ is a heartwarming movie, and a must watch by all age groups.

3. Mary and Max (2009)

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Declared as the Best Animated Feature Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, ‘Mary and Max’ is an utterly touching drama about Mary and her pen pal Max. The story starts in 1976, when Mary is a neglected child, teased by other kids and overlooked by her mother. She randomly chooses a person (Max)one day from the directory to write a letter to in United States. Max is a middle aged obese man, who has difficulty in forming friendships and long term bonds with people. He writes her back, and they become friends. Their friendship spans two decades, during which Max is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Mary meanwhile inspired by Max becomes a psychologist. A misunderstanding makes Max break his friendship with her. Also, her husband leaves her for another man . When she feels everything has broken apart, she resorts to committing suicide, and is on the verge of taking Valium, when she discovers a package from Max that arrives several days earlier, as a sign of apology and renewal of their friendship. This jars her awake from her state, and she decided to start anew. “Mary and Max’ explores uncommon friendship between two people so far away, and so different. It depicts how small things can affect you, and how deep is the impact of surroundings on kids. A very heart touching story- recommended for a must watch!

2. The Way (2010)

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This movie is for the travel lovers especially. Directed by Emilio Estevez, ‘The Way’ is the story of a father, Thomas, who lost his son in a storm when he was on a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. What started as the task of retrieving his son’s body turned into a determined resolution to complete that pilgrimage, as a way to pay him tribute. On his way, he meets people from around the world, with different intentions to complete the journey. ‘The Way’ is a refreshment from all clichés, a journey that although is limited to Spain, yet appeals to the people of entire world. The demography does not limit the scope of impact of the movie. Thomas often sees glimpses of his son sitting with the same people with whom he himself is sitting, enjoying himself and looking contended. It is the last journey that he is taking, and the most important one. ‘The Way’ wasn’t publicized much due to lack of finances and therefore has been obscure. Nevertheless, the film is highly successful in touching your heart.

1. The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)

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Adapted from French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam’s 1990 book ‘La Femme Lapidée’, ‘The Stoning of Soraya M.’ is the story of Soraya, who is married to an older man, who abuses her and wants to get rid of her so that he can marry 14 year old teenage girl. He accuses Soraya of infidelity, manipulates her sons and father to turn against her, and the entire village becomes her enemy. Losing the trial officially makes her punishable, and she is stoned by the crowd including her father and husband, and buried by stones. This story is told by her aunt Zahra to a journalist whose car breaks down in the village and he is waiting for it to get repaired, and finds a resting place in Zohra’s house. He takes up the task of narrating this rueful story to the entire world, and bringing justice to Soraya. It is a heart wrenching story. We have heard and seen Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’. ‘ The Stoning of Soraya M.’ shakes you and brings you into a world where women are considered an object of convenience and thrown away when the purpose is fulfilled.


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