Ten Films to that’ll Inspire you to Write…
My favorite kinds of movies are feel-good and comedy. Better still, a feel-good comedy. But the best? A cleverly made comedy with a critique of society. I also adore capers that have a touch of noir about them. As a writer, I’ve been greatly influenced by movies. Almost more than books!
1. One of my favorites is the classic Whisky Galore from 1949, where a shipwreck filled with whisky causes chaos in a small Scottish village. It is human, warm, and with a lot of giggles. It has a wonderful sense of humor that gently makes fun of people’s expectations. The characters are well drawn and even the smallest part is played by a memorable actor.
2. When I was a child I went to the movies on Sundays in an old wooden house in a suburb of Stockholm with lots of other kids. I remember laughing heartily at Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times. Slapstick mixed with harsh points about industrialism and modern society: excellent! Same thing goes for his movie The Dictator, which unfortunately is highly topical … Charlie Chaplin is brilliant; Modern Times and The Dictator are two classics.
3. The 1955 British film The Ladykillers is a terrific black comedy by Ealing Studios and directed by Alexander Mackendrick. I like the little old lady—all innocent in the middle of the drama.
4. Peter Sellers, widely known as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther, is one of my all-time favorites. I used to see those films with my mother when I was young and we laughed a lot.
5. I am also a fan of Mamma Mia. A real feel-good movie, this one is sure to make you smile. With its good interpretations of ABBA music, the whole movie is pure fun.
6. One of my biggest favorites is Monty Python! I’ve seen all their movies and shows. Not only do they deliver absurdities, they also make fun of history and religion in an intelligent and very British way. I recommend Life of Brian, and The Holy Grail about the dark Middle Ages is excellent as well! Monty Python is both for giggling and howling with laughter! John Cleese’s work in A Fish Called Wanda is rather hilarious, too. His films, from the Monty Python days to his classic scenes about silly walking, still make me giggle.
7. After a hectic day of writing when my head is buzzing with too many ideas, it is nice to go to the movies and relax with some friends; one go-to movie is Calendar Girls starring, among others, Helen Mirren. It is a cozy, warm story about joining forces and female friendship. I enjoy watching what happens to ordinary people when they are put in an extraordinary situation. And how they try to solve it. It is a film that will make you smile.
8. Not only women need to find the strength to change their lives. In The Full Monty, a group of unemployed steel workers realize how much money there is in striptease. But will they have the guts to do it and what will people say? It’s a wonderful and sweet play on masculinity and male insecurity. Despite being a comedy, the film also deals with serious subjects such as unemployment and working class culture. This is done with warmth, kindness, and a lovely sense of British humor.
9. If you love this kind of movie, you have to love Jacques Tati’s films. Holiday (1953) is a masterpiece. It’s a look into human behavior during summer holiday on a hotel in a small French village. My Uncle is more serious but still funny. It has a sharp message about people who try to live in a modern house with inhuman technology in modern society. It is a severe critique of city planning of today, and I am alarmed myself by the discrepancies between humanity and the cold, dead, square monster buildings created in lot of our cities nowadays.
This makes me think of Casablanca, that classic movie where you really do not know the outcome until the film ends. I must have seen it on television as I wasn’t born when it was released in the theater, but it is considered one of the ten best films ever made and in the end, Humphrey Bogart walks away in the mist. I still don´t know if he ever met his beloved Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) again. The tension between Bergman and Bogart, and his iconic exit still rest in my memory.
BONUSES! (It’s hard to limit myself to just ten)
Thelma and Louise…What a movie! Smooth, smart, and with a strong feminist message about women’s lack of status. Twenty-five years have passed, but it is still just as spectacular and lives front and center in my memory.
The Swedish movie Together by Lukas Moodysson may be unknown to you and if so, you have been missing out! It’s a comedy about a commune in the 1970s, with all the ridiculousness of the period. It’s an extraordinary portrait of how ten young people—some married, some not—try to live in the same house and share everything (wives and husbands as well). The idealistic ideas crash against reality. It simply is spot-on!
Catharina Ingelman-Sunberg is a Swedish author who has written seventeen books. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules is the first in a series of books and her first to be published in English.
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