Mood Movies

by Rae Lori

I love movies. Ever since I was a kid, I loved the way they can take me away with engaging characters, gorgeous settings and awesome adventures whether from today, the past or even the future. Some movies I love not necessarily because of their awesome achievement in writing or anything technical-wise, but because of the way they make me feel. They've become fast favorites because I can put them on and pass a few hours laughing or exploring, even falling in love each time.

Here are my favorite mood movies I've come to love over and over.

Stealing Beauty

An awesome soundtrack mixed with gorgeous cinematography, the story itself if rather...meh. But that doesn't matter amidst the colorful characters and the backdrop of Tuscany. This movie made me fall in love with the Tuscan countryside and with the whimsical nature of just being a teenager coming into my own feelings in a foreign surrounding. Whenever I want to escape, I watch this movie coupled with....

Under the Tuscan Sun

Diane Lane is a joy to watch and I loved her Francis Mayes even though she is nothing like the real life version and the movie bears no resemblence to the book of the same name aside from, well, it's name. This is another gorgeous film with beautiful Tuscany as it's backdrop. But it also has the dreamy fantasy of buying a house in a new land, finding oneself again and falling in love with a handsome stranger (I'll take Raul Bova & Vincent Riotta at table 3, please)! Director Audrey Wells has made some of my favorite films including Guienevere and The Truth About Cats and Dogs and she doesn't disappoint with this one!

Laurel Canyon

On the other side of the globe are the movies that made me nostalgic for home. I notice that most films that deal with the Hollywood lifestyle have a fantasy feel to it. No wonder considering glamour, riches and excess are the name of the game whenever dealing with the A-listers. A small little film called Laurel Canyon explores a couple (Christian Bale & Kate Beckinsale sans Brit accents) going to visit the guy's mother, much to his reluctance. His reason? She is day to his night, a hippie who loves to live freely and on her own terms while he aspires to a life of structure and achievement. The film was an interesting study of the two different lives converging and how different children can be from their parents. It was interesting when Kate's sheltered character became entranced by her fiance's mother. But more so I loved the L.A. backdrop. Growing up, the city always seemed magical to me because this was the place where movies were made! One of my dreams was to become a film director (which still is a dream of mine ;-)) and I wanted to eventually end up there.

I loved the canyons and open modern houses with big pools, spanish tiles and hills that overlook the bright city of lights. I can't remember how many times I saw the movie, but it was up there whenever I wanted to take a trip back to my hometown.

Other L.A. Faves:
Mulholland Falls
Mulholland Drive
The Anniversary Party

Before Sunrise & Before Sunset

Finally, these two films not only fulfill my mood movie cravings but they're also brilliant films. Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. A long time ago, I kept hearing about how awesome Before Sunrise was and I took a look at the script. I was immediately bored and after that was reluctant to see the movie. Lo and behold I caught it on tv just once and was hooked from then on. The grip is in the performance which complements the dialogue which complements the setting. All of them work together to bring together an amazing mood and meditation on finding love in the most unexpected places. The comparisons are interesting because 'Sunrise' shows the firey, unexpected aspect of young love and the possibilities of the future while 'Sunset' shows how life doesn't quite turn out as we planned and the cynicism that may follow.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have an amazing chemistry onscreen and I can just listen to them talk for days. There's something about Richard Linklater's direction and their acting that brings the whole arc Celine and Jesse around. Not to mention I love the music and watching the small streets, cafes and alcoves of Vienna and France.

I can't recommend these movies highly enough. There was talk of a final movie to end out the trilogy but I'm both elated and nervous. 'Sunset' has an open ending with an implication that Jesse stays with Celine and a final movie can go the other way. Either way, whenever I feel like a mini vacation into a contemporary story about love, these are the two films I grab.

There are tons of other movies I love to dive into to grab a certain mood but I thought I'd offer a taste of my fave collections. What are some of your favorite mood movies?

In the mood for a sweet, classical music romance? My e-novella, Voice of Abandon, or the Princess and Violinist, is available now in all digital formats. A little early for V-day but, hey, love is relevant everyday of the year, no? :-)


  1. The Sunrise/Sunset films are two that are on my To Be Watched list. They're favorites of my cousin's, and we have very similar tastes in movies.

    Enjoyed your list!

  2. Ah! I think you just have a hankering to travel! LOL. I really like Before Sunrise - not as much Before Sunset -but both fit well together. And they are - I think my favourite Ethan Hawke movies - who tends to otherwise annoy me in his roles. Julie Delpy is lovely though. Fun list! We're having quite the week here at the Divas! :)

  3. Still Breathing with Brendan Fraser & Joanna Going is my all-time favorite romantic movie. sooo does it for me every single time I watch. Unfortunately, it's a little indy film that never got much press and hardly anyone saw it. But it's wonderful and I tell people about it whenever I get the chance.

  4. I love both Laurel Canyon and Under the Tuscan Sun. I could watch them 100 times and still not get bored of them.

  5. Oh, how I love movies that are a visual delight. With the escapist fantasy, my pick would be Enchanted April. That flick just takes me breath away. Each time I watch it I'm drawn into the sweeping beauty of Italy and the fascinating characters and how they interact.

    It's a story about love, self-love and self-respect, and opening one's heart to the potential of happiness.

    Thanks for sharing your picks. I loved Under The Tuscan Sun and now want to check out the rest!

    Great article!


  6. I love The Darjeeling Limited when I am in the mood for travel or escape.
    Pride and Predjudice or any Jane Austen film for a love story.
    Breakfast at Tiffany's if I am feeling nostalgic and
    Much Ado About Nothing has always been a guilty pleasure when I am home alone with a bottle of wine.
    I could go on naming other films that would be a post saved for another time.

  7. Wow, you guys have some more good titles. Some I haven't heard of myself. :-D I'll have to check those out!

  8. Hey Rae

    I love the Before Sunrise/Sunset movies. Like you I was a little blah about watching it but it completely won me over.

    Mood movies for me are mostly about 'interacting' with another cast of characters. As such, Love Actually, Mamma Mia and lately, lol, High School Musical do it for me. When I'm in need of more melodrama and kitsch, I take out my favourite Indian movie, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (translates to, Some Joy, Some Sorrow). It's about the life in a rich Indian family and how the elder adopted son is driven away when he falls for a poor girl. The younger brother ten years later vows to bring his shattered family back together. Lovely movie, you should see that if you get it on DVD with subtitles.

    Big hugs!!

  9. Until today I thought I was the only person who had ever seen Sunrise/Sunset. I just mentioned to someone how they were two of my all time favorites...and no one knew what I was talking about. Yes they a great Mood Movies. Good choices.
    Eliza March

  10. I just saw this post - and "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" caught my attention - two movies I love because they're so focused on dialogue and character interaction. Interesting characters are what interests me most in stories - and probably why characterization is more my focus than plot.


Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you but hope you are a real person and not a spammer. :)

Popular Posts