Recommended English Films

Films are a great way to improve your English.  Going to the cinema is ok, and hiring DVDs is even better, because then you are in control. 

Watching them alone is okay, but watching them with your friends and then talking about them is even better.

You can discuss the films you've seen on the forum:-

English films / movies

If you're not sure how to best use films to improve your English, read these tips.

How to use a DVD player to help improve your English


British cinema

It's so nice to find a genuinely original and unashamedly British movie.  Don't let the title put you off, this isn't about rattling bones, it's about the skeletons that people keep in their closets and it won the best new British feature film award at the Edinburgh film festival.

The film is about two emotional exorcists who travel around the country carrying out "the Procedure", which helps people reveal secrets from their pasts in order to get on with their futures. Most of the jobs they take on are routine in-and-out affairs, but when they're sent to a country house to help a woman find her missing husband, things don't quite go according to plan and soon their enigmatic boss, The Colonel shows up to oversee their work.

Meanwhile, one of them finds himself getting emotionally involved with the woman and her two children – a bright young child called Jojo and her mysteriously mute teenage daughter Rebecca, and all the time he becomes increasingly hooked on “glow-chasing” (using "the Procedure" illegally to reconnect with comforting moments from his past) which begins to interfere with both his personal life and his ability to do his job.

A Good Woman

British cinema

Based on Oscar Wilde's waspish morality play, 'Lady Windermere's Fan'; 'A Good Woman' is a light and fluffy period romantic comedy in a fresh 1930s setting.  Mrs. Erlynne, who describes herself as poor and infamous, having been driven from New York society by jealous wives, sees a news photo of wealthy Lord Windermere and his young wife: she heads for the romantic Amalfi Coast to be among the rich and famous for 'the season' and to snare Mr. Windermere. Gossips twitter as he spends his afternoons with her, his wife blissfully innocent as she blushingly fends off attentions from a young English nobleman, an international playboy who thinks he's in love. Mrs. Erlynne is also pursued by a worldly-wise older English nobleman. Mrs. Windermere's 20th birthday party approaches.  An intricate web of secrets and lies emerges as the scandal spreads.  There is some delicious dialogue and spirited performances.

View the trailer here.

Julie and Julia

British cinema

If you like food and stories about foodies, you'll love this film.  It tells the story of chef Julia Child and her start in the cooking profession.  Her story is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell's 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child's first book, the 1961 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking'.  As a film plot it sounds odd, but it works and it is the first major motion picture based on a blog.

The Plot:-

In 2002, Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is a young writer trapped in a rather unpleasant job at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's call centre, where she answers telephone calls from victims of the September 11 attacks, as well as members of the general public calling to complain about the LMDC's controversial plans for rebuilding the World Trade Centre. To enliven her dreary life, she attempts to cook every recipe in Julia Child's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which was published in 1961, and writes a blog to document her progress.

Woven into her story is the story of Julia Child's time in Paris, in the 1950s, in which she learns about French cooking.  The film switches back and forth between contemporary America and post-war Paris,

Eventually, Julie's blog is highlighted in a story published in the New York Times, after which her project finally begins to receive the attention of journalists, literary agents, and publishers, she seems to get the praise and fame she has craved, but she gets a dismissive response from Child herself.  Was Julia Child correct in her condemnation of Julie Powell?

View the trailer here.

In The Loop

British cinema

I had to think twice before including this film in my recommendations.  Why?  Well the language is atrocious and the subject matter controversial.  If you've seen the satirical BBC sitcom, The Thick of It, you'll know what I mean, but on the plus side, you should learn some new vocabulary.  The premise of the movie is that the US President and the Prime Minister of the UK fancy a war, but not everyone agrees that war is a good thing. When a mild-mannered minister inadvertently appears to back the war on prime-time television, he immediately attracts the attention of the PMs venomously aggressive communications chief Malcolm Tucker, who latches onto him like a hawk. Although played for laughs, the film shows how the most incidental factors (leaked papers, hastily spoken soundbites) and players (aides, interns, and low-level government officials) can influence the course of history.

!Note - If you're "in the loop" it means you're well informed about a situation.

View the trailer here.

Alice in Wonderland

British cinema

Put together Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, and you've got to be entering a world that will reflect the crazy world invented by Lewis Carroll.  This version sees a 19-year-old Alice return to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of terror.  There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive it: You need to be as mad as a hatter.  Personally, I can't wait.

View the trailer here.