by Kelly Ann Beaton

I was at a dinner party recently and one of the guests who found out that I was a filmmaker asked what was my favourite film.  Instead of answering, I asked everyone at the table what their favourite films were.  The ensuing discussion was interesting and very revealing, not just because of the films that were mentioned, but because many couples did not know what their partner’s favourite film was.  The resulting, “you like that?” or “I never knew that”, was intriguing to witness.

As a singleton, as per Bridget Jones, I got a kick from watching the exchanges and when the question came back to me, I sipped my wine and said well it depends. Depends on what, they asked? Depends on you, I answered. For me, it's a combination of factors but the key characteristic for me was did the movie make me think or feel something.

I think is it easy to entertain, with a formulaic structure, dialogue and musical interventions to move us along, but it is really hard to make a viewer feel something.  For example, I saw Avatar, and while it is an extraordinary movie from  technical and creative perspectives, it left me cold.  But as the highest box office in history, it has resonated with many.

Considering your favourite film, is an exploration of who you are as an individual. It reflects ourselves, in a small way, just like your preferred food or places. It says things about us that sometimes we are too shy to say.

So if  you have a chance this week, think about what is your ideal flick and why. You never know, you may learn something about yourself.

Bon cinema.


  1. I would have loved to have been at the dinner. Strange how that is - you would think that would be something that couples would share early on - their fave films. In any case - Mine fave is Cinema Paradiso (all about love and a valentine to movie making itself). BUT I also love Amelie (she brings out the sprite in all of us) and Run Lola Run (because Lola makes you believe you can do anything) and The Usual Suspects (because every time I watch it I marvel at how clever it is). And lots of other films too! ;) Cheers!

  2. I just saw Avatar yesterday for the first time, and I was very moved by several parts in the movie. I love fantasy, so the fictional world becomes more real to me than the one I'm in every day, all day.

    My favorite film of all is an impossible choice. For flipping my life around, that would be Star Wars. For giving me goosebumps during the opening sequence because it was so perfect, that would be Lord of the Rings. For taking me where I didn't know I wanted to go, the Russian urban fantasy Night Watch (Nochnoy dozor.) And for the pure enjoyment of the small film that did it all despite how hard it is to make a film the way it should be made, that would be Everything is Illuminated.

    I too wish I could have been at your dinner table to watch the couples discover things about one another.

  3. It actually should not be a shock that couples wouldn't know each other's favourite film. From my own observations, you begin to realise that the longer they are together the more they don't know all that much about each other.

    My takeaway regarding Avatar - it had the feel of a done-many-times-before story that was visually stunning. In a sea of mediocre movies, this was a cut above that level. Nothing more than that.

    That party must have made for some very interesting conversation.

  4. I can never pick favorites, unless it's a favorite of the moment. This weekend I saw Avatar and loved it, so it's a current fav. :) Yes, it was formulaic, but the characters' journey was wonderful, especially Jake Sully, who was literally liberated from a broken body only when he allowed himself to open his heart and risk everything.
    But again, depends on my mood. Sometimes I like quirky movies like Elizabethtown and The Darjeeling Limited (unlimited? aarrggh, the middle-aged brain), or romantic like Kate and Leopold or Australia or PS I Love You, and offbeat movies like Dogma and Wanted and The Ten (hilarious!). During the holidays, I repeatedly watch movies like Home for the Holidays, The Family Stone and Wonderful Life.
    If I had to pick a theme or two, it would be redemption and/or finding oneself.

  5. Thanks for this! Thought-provoking for sure... For me, a favorite comes and goes. I have been known to love 'A River Runs Through It' through my twenties, as it resonated with something I obviously connected with. Nature, family bonds and discipline vs. going wild. Then 'Monsoon Wedding' became the film I would turn to for a good cry, which always came at a different point in the story. These days, because of a weird sideways connection I have with one of the stars in the film, I can't even watch it... It's so hard to pick just one and they fluctuate so often, depending on what I need in my films at the moment: a good cry, to learn something or simply be reminded that love does exist. Thanks for bringing all this to the surface in your piece, Kelly Ann!

  6. We just saw Avatar in IMAX and 3D. WOW! Its is now my fave film. Maybe becasue of all the special effects, I don't know but I was suprised when it ended and fond I'd sat there for almost 3 hours.
    Any way my fave film depends on what I just saw and liked.

  7. Hi Kelly Ann!

    I'm with Cate, my 'favorite' can be mood-dependent. Though, like many here, I would have LOVED to joined that dinner party. *grin*

    For me, favorite films are all about either being able to slip away into another world--a serious case of "What if...?"

    Or, the acting and writing is just so superb that I can't resist. Like with the movie The Philadelphia Story with Katherine, Cary, and Jimmy. Such a great story, such fabulous acting, and the lines are so memorable I can be downright annoying as I say them along with the actors.

    Jimmy Stewart, the writer (picks up a silver spoon while eyeing the loot, aka wedding gifts, piling up on a table): You couldn't pay me to live in a dump like this.

    Ruth Hussey, the photographer (lifts one eyebrow and says sardonically): They won't.

    Love it, love it, love it!!

    But then if I'm in a how cool would it be to form a rock band mood, then I might say A Hard Days Night is my favorite, along with That Thing You Do.

    Catch me when I'm really feeling wacky and I'll swear up and down that the Rocky Horror Picture Show is the greatest ever. (Damn it, Janet, I love you!!!)

    To me the truest test of what the faves are is based on how many times you've seen the movies. :-D And can watch them over and over again.

    Great article, I really enjoyed it!!



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