Hollywood produces a lot of big budget movies. However, it is also worth watching independent films. These titles are given a greater amount of artistic freedom. They also tend to depict life in a much more realistic way than blockbusters do.
Over the past ten years there has been an increase in the amount of indie films that have gotten widespread distribution. It is now at the point where some of these movies are almost indistinguishable from the large studio ones. Modern indie films often hire big name actors. There are several good examples of this from the past decade.
The most impressive thing about Boyhood is that it took twelve years to make. It chronicles the early life of a boy up until he starts university. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke star as the boy’s parents. The people involved in the production would meet up every year to shoot the actors as they aged. Praise has been given to the filmmakers due to the long term commitment needed when filming Boyhood.
Saoirse Ronan stars as an opinionated teenager in this coming of age drama. After her father loses his job, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson sees tensions grow inside her family. Meanwhile she is forced to get involved in extracurricular activities at school. Set in 2002, Lady Bird perfectly recreates American life just after 9/11. It mixes heartwarming intimacy with relatable humour.
Whiplash is about a young man who dreams of becoming a professional drummer. He is accepted into a prestigious music school. Here he is pushed to his limits by an extreme teacher played by J. K. Simmons. The film is about how greatness can only be achieved through sacrifice and pain. It was directed by Damien Chazelle, who would go on to make the popular musical La La Land.
Manchester By The Sea
Manchester By The Sea is one of the bleakest indie films produced in recent years. Casey Affleck plays Lee who goes back to his hometown after the death of his brother. Through a series of flashbacks the audience learns of Lee’s tragic life that forced him into exile. He ends up reluctantly looking after his nephew who helps him rediscover his humanity. Manchester By The Sea was nominated for several Oscars.
In this harrowing true story, a hiker played by James Franco gets his arm wedged between a canyon rock face. He is trapped for days and faces the prospect of dying from dehydration. After surviving for an impressive amount of time he has to contemplate cutting off his own arm. 127 Hours is based on the real ordeal faced by Aron Ralston. He has described the film as very accurate.