5 quirky films that you really should have seen

For those of you who just can’t watch another true-love-affirming Katherine Heigl movie, or simply can’t bare to stare into the emotionless pit that is James Franco’s best acting

For those of you who just can’t watch another true-love-affirming Katherine Heigl movie, or simply can’t bare to stare into the emotionless pit that is James Franco’s best acting face, here is a list of 5 quirky and alternative films you should probably see before taking your own life in a frenzy of Hollywood gloss and predictability-induced despair:

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

This 1988 film follows the bohemian life of a Czechoslovakian brain surgeon under Communism in the 1960s. Played by Daniel Day-Lewis, the character of Tomas is a seasoned womaniser. Although conducting an ongoing relationship with free spirited artist Sabina, exquisitely portrayed by Lena Olin, a chance encounter with a waitress (Juliet Binoche) soon sets his fate on another path. Drawn to Tomas, Binoche’s Tereza becomes entangled in the complicated web of affairs of a man whose dark brooding leaves her helplessly and utterly in his power. But the complications of liberal bohemia under Soviet rule mean that it is only a matter of time before Tomas and his social group find their lifestyles and beliefs under intense scrutiny from a faceless, unforgiving power; forcing them to question the very essence of what it is to live and how it is to ‘be.’


Recently released in the UK, ‘Stoker’ is a tour-de-force by South Korean director Park Chan-Wook. As his debut in the English Language, this is a true piece of cinematic art that combines on-screen beauty with deeply troubling psychological themes. Chan-Wook’s interest in filmic aesthetics is clear, making this one of the most truly mesmerising cinema experiences. And yet, it is the female lead Mia Wasikowska who dazzles and shocks as the intense India, superbly supported by a fragile and haunting Nicole Kidman as her mother, and the dangerously seductive Matthew Goode as India’s estranged uncle. When her father is killed in a seemingly freak accident, India’s uncle skulks into her life and soon she finds herself irreversibly drawn into his web of lies and deception. Brimming with sexual tension and moments of true horror, this is not a film for the faint hearted.

Hotel New Hampshire

Written and directed by Academy Award winner Tony Richardson, ‘Hotel New Hampshire’ is an adaptation of the 1981 novel by John Irving. The film follows the Berry family, whose journey towards achieving their collective dream of running their own hotel is fraught along the way with tragedy and mishaps. Covering everything from racial equality to incest, hospitality to rape, and Freud to issue-ridden lesbians dressed as grizzly bears, this film meanders through the chaos and sorrow of one American family. A daunting and sometimes shocking film, ‘Hotel New Hampshire’ achieves a peculiarly humorous tone and through the sheer madness and scope of its plot and themes, manages to set itself apart as a truly must-see film for anyone looking to avoid Hollywood cliché and refresh themselves with something thought-provoking.

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine is a satirical comedy that follows a highly dysfunctional family, amongst which are a suicidal uncle, a foul-mouthed grandfather and a teenager who has taken a vow of silence, as they cross the continental US in order for their youngest member, Olive, to take part in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. But as their increasingly decrepit yet delightfully retro Volkswagen bus begins to come apart at the hinges, so do they. Faced with the promise of achievement, the threat of disappointment, broken hearts and the forces of life and death, this unusual family race again time and seemingly the laws of the universe itself to make it in time for Olive to have her moment in the spotlight. Expect intelligent wit from Steve Carell as Uncle Frank and an Academy Award-winning performance by Alan Arkin as Grandpa Hoover, as well as an enlightened and uplifting ending that not only makes you laugh, but says something truly worth listening to.

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom is a juggernaut of masterful direction from Wes Anderson, and with a cast bursting at the seams with talent and artistically perfected oddity, this movie easily takes the title of ‘Best Alternative and Quirky Film.’ Delving into the childhood minds of two star-crossed lovers and would-be runaways Suzy and Sam, the film follows the two young characters as they pitch themselves against the adults on the fictional island of New Penzance. Armed with imagination, the camping skills of the Kaki Scouts and a whole lot of unresolved anger, the two children find themselves facing a grown-up cast headed by Bill Murray and Frances McDormand and including such Hollywood crème as Edward Norton as Scout Master Ward and Tilda Swinton as Social Services. Moonrise Kingdom takes you on a delightfully quirky journey across both the island and the lives of its inhabitants. With exceptional photography and intriguing camera work, this is not one to be missed.

What do you think? What would you add to the list? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.