By Frank and Mary Frost
In nine parish seasons of Movie Moments of Grace and three film retreats, we have screened and discussed more than 70 films. If during this coronavirus hiatus you are surfing Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime and to find something worth watching, we offer the following list of 25 films for your consideration.
If there is a common thread that weaves through all these movies, it is the road to self-discovery, to love, and to redemption. Whether it tells a story that makes us laugh or one that makes us cry (as many of these movies did), it is a new realization of what it means to be human—to “be loved into being,” in the phrase of Mr. Rogers—that makes these movies so special.
The Apostle After his happy life spins out of control, a preacher from Texas changes his name, goes to Louisiana and starts preaching on the radio. Directed by Robert Duvall.
Chocolat A woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village that shakes up the rigid morality of the community. Directed by Lasse Hallström.
Coming Home Lu and Feng are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner during the Cultural Revolution. He finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife no longer recognizes him. Directed by Yimou Zhang.
Departures A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals. Directed by Yôjirô Takita.
The Grand Seduction To survive, a dying Newfoundland fishing village must convince a young doctor to take up residence by any means necessary. Directed by Don McKellar.
Groundhog Day (Classic) Bill Murray What does it take to break free from a time prison? A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again. Directed by Harold Ramis.
In America A family of Irish immigrants adjust to life on the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen while also grieving the death of a child. Directed by Jim Sheridan.
Lars and the Real Girl A delusional young man strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet. Directed by Craig Gillespie.
Life as a House When a man is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he takes custody of his misanthropic teenage son, for whom quality time means getting high, engaging in small-time prostitution, and avoiding his father. Directed by Irwin Winkler.
The Lives of Others In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives. Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.
Michael Clayton A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit. Directed by Tony Gilroy.
Monsieur Lazhar At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed. Directed by Philippe Falardeau.
Moonstruck Loretta Castorini, a bookkeeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she has agreed to marry. Directed by Norman Jewison.
Mostly Martha When a headstrong chef takes charge of her equally stubborn 8-year-old niece, the tensions between them mount... until an Italian sous-chef arrives to lighten the mood. Directed by Sandra Nettelbeck.
The Other Son Two young men, one Israeli and one Palestinian, discover they were accidentally switched at birth. Directed by Lorraine Lévy.
Pieces of April A wayward daughter invites her dying mother and the rest of her estranged family to her apartment for Thanksgiving dinner. Directed by Peter Hedges.
The Sea Inside The factual story of Spaniard Ramon Sampedro, who fought a thirty-year campaign in favor of euthanasia and his own right to die. Directed by Alejandro Amenábar.
Shirley Valentine Shirley Valentine is a middle aged housewife, taken for granted by her husband Joe and spending her days cooking, cleaning and quite literally talking to the kitchen wall. She longs for some adventure and thinks back to her days as a carefree and rebellious teenager. Directed by Lewis Gilber.
Smoke Signals Victor, a young man who Director Chris Eyre describes as "trying to forgive his father." The movie gives us a glimpse into the contemporary Native American world, and is created by an almost exclusively Native American cast. Directed by Chris Eyre.
The Station Agent When his only friend dies, a man born with dwarfism moves to rural New Jersey to live a life of solitude, only to meet a chatty hot dog vendor and a woman dealing with her own personal loss. Directed by Tom McCarthy.
Still Alice A linguistics professor and her family find their bonds tested when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland.
Two for the Road A couple in the south of France non-sequentially spin down the highways of infidelity in their troubled ten-year marriage. Directed by Stanley Donen.
Sweet Land In 1920, Inge, a German national, travels from Norway to rural Minnesota for her arranged marriage to Olaf, a Norwegian farmer; bureaucracy and prejudice cause major complications. Directed by Ali Selim.
Unfinished Song Grumpy pensioner Arthur honors his recently deceased wife's passion for performing by joining the unconventional local choir to which she used to belong, a process that helps him build bridges with his estranged son, James. Directed by Paul Andrew Williams.