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

Dorian Gray

British cinema

Based on Oscar Wilde's book The Picture of Dorian Gray the film tells the story of a strikingly beautiful but naïve young Dorian (Ben Barnes) as he arrives in Victorian London he is swept into a social whirlwind by the charismatic Henry Wotton (Colin Firth), who introduces Dorian to the hedonistic pleasures of the city. Henry’s friend, society artist Basil Hallward (Ben Chaplin) paints a portrait of Dorian to capture the full power of his youthful beauty and when it's unveiled Dorian makes a flippant pledge: he would give anything to stay as he is in the picture - even his soul.

Dorian's wild adventures continue, but soon he notices that his portrait, which is now locked away in the attic, has taken on an evil and disturbing air, while his own beautiful face goes unmarked by his deeds. Forced by his own evil actions to flee the country, Dorian returns twenty-five years later. To the surprise of his old friends, he looks exactly the same but he's jaded, having found pleasure but never happiness and he's haunted by the monstrous painting in the attic. His fear and paranoia grow as rumours of his past misdeeds circulate. Will Dorian get one last chance for love and redemption and more importantly, will he escape with his life?

View the Trailer Here


British cinema

Some films make you smile; some make you laugh; others have you rolling on the floor holding your sides. Confetti makes you do all three!

It is typically quirky English humour (good practise for those of you who may be moving here or just looking to improve your English) -blink and you miss the jokes!

The film focuses on three couples trying to win a competition for the 'most unusual wedding' from wedding magazine Confetti. So after a series of the most bizarre ideas, the final three are tennis, musicals and a naturist theme. The winner has already been decided by the obnoxious magazine owner and his editor. But the process of getting to that final vote is sheer joy. The two gay wedding planners reminded me of Gilbert and George (contemporary British artists) and I'm sure that was deliberate.

It makes a thorough caricature of the pitiful genre of game shows so popular at the moment using the 'mockumentary' style! But the best thing about it is it's improvised nature.

The cast is brilliant; a talented bunch, established in their comedic timing and skill and heritage; most have come from top quality British television comedy.  Because of this the film manages to make you feel strong sympathy with at least one or other of the characters.  This tiny one line from Sam, the musical themed bride to be, just about summed it up for me!- "I'm slightly tone deaf, but Matt's always said if I wasn't tone deaf, I'd have a very good voice."

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British cinema

Based on Neil Gaiman's book of the same name, Coraline is an animated film about a young girl, but before you think Disney, remember the book was written by Neil Gaiman, it's a dark tale, that feeds on our deepest fears.  Coraline lives with her parents in part of a huge old house.  Coraline spends her time exploring the vast garden and grounds, but when it rains she gets bored and finds a door that's sometimes blocked with a wall of bricks, but when it opens up for Coraline it leads her into an entirely alternate universe.    There she finds people who look just like her parents, but with big, shiny, black buttons for eyes.  The film is delightful, funny, haunting, and very, very scary.  Not recommended for anyone who suffers from koumpounophobia (fear of buttons).

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The Duchess

British cinema

The film tells the story of Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, who was beautiful, glamorous and adored by the public. But while her beauty and charisma made her a household name, one thing always seemed to escape her: love.  Many people have drawn parallels between her life and the life of Princess Diana.

Beneath Georgiana's glamorous façade lay an intelligent, vulnerable woman stranded in a loveless marriage to the Duke, one of the richest and most powerful men in England. Frustrated by the limitations imposed on her by virtue of her sex and her class, she rebelled, entering into an intense relationship with the beautiful Lady Foster, thereby setting up a complex ménage a trois with the Duke. Georgiana's rebellion extended to the public sphere where she tore down the conventions, becoming a political campaigner for the liberal party. In so doing she fell for Earl Grey, the future Prime Minister, finally discovering the meaning of true love. But can true love survive the strictures of the Duke, of Bess and of Society - the pressures of marriage and motherhood, of friendship and loyalty, of class and celebrity?

What followed was tragic, but Georgiana's unquenchable spirit sustained her and, unlike Diana, she ultimately found peace...

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Easy Virtue

British cinema

Based on Noel Coward's play of the same name, Easy Virtue is the story of a young Englishman returning home with his new American bride, much to his parents' dismay, as she arrives like a blast from the future - blowing their entrenched British stuffiness out of the window.

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