‘The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.’ – Lester Bangs, Almost Famous
Almost Famous (2000)
This may just be the greatest music film there is, a fact made even more impressive by the fact it is semi-autiobiographical, based on writer-director Cameron Crowe’s real experiences. Set in 1973, 15 year-old William (Patrick Fugit) gets to join rock group Stillwater on tour and write about it for Rolling Stone magazine. What follows is one of the most timeless coming-of-age stories in cinema. The best use of an Elton John number that has ever been.
Julie & Julia (2009)
Another sort-of true story, this time a blending of the lives of two women. When dissatisfied Julie (Amy Adams) starts trialling the recipes of the iconic Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep) and blogging the results, she finds her life changed forever. The film cuts between the lives of both women, the Julie storyline is far less compelling to the Julia narrative. Stanley Tucci plays Mrs Julia Child, their love story is a joy to watch. Written and directed by the one and only late, great Nora Ephron.
A beautifully poetic film about how poetry can be found in the most unexpected places by the most unexpected people. Adam Driver is incredibly watchable and magnetic as the eponymous Paterson. As expected from writer-director Jim Jarmusch, the narrative is equally poetic, almost elegiac, as it explores the extraordinary within the ordinary.
Before Sunrise (1995)
Part one of the achingly beautiful trilogy. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy play two young people who meet on a train. Both are on journeys both literal and emotional, the film follows them over the course of one night. There’s a clear connection between them but there’s also a time limit on how long they can spend together before going there separate ways, causing them to be more open to the self-discovery and sense of fulfilment they find in each other. Written and directed by Richard Linklaker, who also worked with Ethan Hawke on the award winning Boyhood (2014).
The Squid and The Whale (2005)
Writer-director Noah Baumbach (aka Mr Greta Gerwig) has frequently collaborated with Wes Anderson, if you wanted to get an idea of his tone and style. A semi-autobiographical tale about two boys (the eldest played by Jesse Eisenberg) in Brooklyn dealing with the divorce of their parents. Bitterly funny and tenderly told.