5. Big Little Lies (2017)
‘Big Little Lies’ is probably one of the best mini-series to have come out on television in a while. Boasting of an enviable, star-studded cast and a master of the craft in Jean-Marc Valle behind the camera, the show became a phenomenon when it first released, and has now prompted a second season despite being a miniseries. Recounted through a non-linear narrative, the central idea of the show revolved around the lives of four women in the town of Monterey. The first episode starts with the murder of an unknown character, and the rest lead up to the last where the tragedy unfolds. Valle’s directorial craft and the immense personal infusion by the actors make the show a special one and definitely one to remember.
4. Wild (2014)
‘Wild’ is a fervent and heartfelt sojourn about self-discovery and man’s tryst with nature. Starring Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl, a character diametrically opposite in personality to her own, ‘Wild’ takes us on an unforgettable trip about Cheryl’s tryst with her identity and the beautiful mountains of the Pacific Trail. Jean-Marc Valle intertwines his impregnable and irresistible style with a captivating and simple story about a confused girl to provide the viewer with a memorable experience.
3. Blue Velvet (1985)
David Lynch’s vague and mystifying cinema isn’t for everyone. Creating extremely complex and intricate narratives, Lynch’s movies are always a challenge for the audience and prompt serious and eclectic introspection about the underlying themes. ‘Blue Velvet’, while falling under the “Lynch” bracket, so to speak, differs slightly with its plot. Jeffrey, a high school student, finds a severed ear in the fields and immediately reports to the authorities. Along with Sandy, his longtime crush and estranged friend, he visits the house of Dorothy Vallens, the prime plank on which the case hinges. That visit offsets a series of threatening and incongruous events in the life of the two novices of life. Lynch’s typical asceticism and absolutism dominate the film and comprehensively makes it one of his best works.
2. Enlightened (2011-13)
‘Enlightened’ was an American comedy-drama that starred Laura Dern as Amy Jellicoe, an ambitious and idealistic yet naïve and socially awkward buyer at Abaddonn Industries. After a humiliating nervous breakdown at her workplace, she goes to rehab and returns to her company with a new mindset but also a much less significant job. She contemplates becoming a whistleblower against Abaddonn, a giant MNC. Centered around its enigmatic main character, much of ‘Enlightened’s humor and melancholy comes from Amy’s precarious and peculiar situations in life. The tough decisions and her eventual choices shape the story and lend to it an inexplicable charm and a banal sense of existence.
1. Rambling Rose (1991)
Dern truly found her mojo as an artist with her stunning portrayal of a confused woman clasped by the moral quandary of her sexuality. Rose gets work as a domestic help for a Southern family during the Great Depression. Trying to lead a positive life, she maintains a healthy relationship with the rest of the members, and soon falls for Hillyer, the man of the household. Rebuffed after her advances don’t get returned, she begins an intimate relationship with Hillyer’s 13-year old son and faces the implications. ‘Rambling Rose’s bluntness and directness is defiant and mirrors the actions of its unsettled protagonist. Dern rules the screen and commands attention with a domineering display.
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