Movies to Watch: when you’re feeling lost

As a young adult who has (essentially) no idea what she’s doing with her life, I am very partial to movies about people who don’t quite have their, um, shit together. Ones with characters who feel lost and out of place. Maybe some of you guys will like this sort of thing. Here are some recommendations of films about people who feel lost that perhaps you can relate to.

Giant-Mechanical-Man-DVD-F1. The Giant Mechanical Man (2012) 

I’m a huge fan of The Office (US version), so I wanted to watch this simply because Jenna Fischer (Pam) stars in it. She and Chris Medina are both wonderful in their roles as Janice and Tim, 30-somethings whose lives haven’t quite worked out the way they’d hoped. Both are at a standstill. The story really tugs on those feelings that most (if not all?) of us have: that we’re behind and need to catch up, that we’re just aimlessly floating through life, that we are missing meaningful connections with people. It’s a film that really speaks to me, and I think it will speak to anyone who is lost, intimidated by adulthood, and doesn’t know what to do next.

Lost_in_Translation_poster2. Lost in Translation (2003)

I mean, the word ‘lost’ is right in the title. It’s about questioning how you’ve ended up where you are, wondering if you’ve made the right choices, and feeling disconnected from what, and who, is around you. It features fantastic performances by Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray, who portray characters in very different stages of their lives, but who connect through their being lonely and having lost their way. It is quiet, understated, and visually stunning.

MV5BMjc5MDE0NjkxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzA0NTkyMw@@._V1_SY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_3. Garden State (2004)

This classic romantic comedy/drama stars Zach Braff and Natalie Portman. Main character Andrew (Braff) is a depressed and detached 20-something who returns home after his mother’s death. He meets an eccentric girl named Sam (Portman), and they find solace in each other. The film confronts the difficulty of moving on from the past and opening up to people. It also has a wonderful soundtrack featuring The Shins and Frou Frou. I’m a sucker for movies with great soundtracks.

MV5BMTI3MzYxMTA4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDE4ODg3Mg@@._V1_SY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_4. Up in the Air (2009)

This is a thoughtful film about human connections, questioning your priorities, and reevaluating your direction in life. It stars George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick. Clooney plays 40-something Ryan who is a professional corporate ‘downsizer,’ meaning he fires people for a living. He travels all the time and has few real attachments, following his philosophy that it is best to have as few burdens as possible in the form of things and relationships. Spending time with Natalie (Kendrick) and Alex (Farmiga) makes him reassess the trajectory of his life. This film is certainly one to reflect on.

I hope you guys enjoy this list! Let me know if you’ve seen any of these or whether you have any recommendations for me.

Happy endings

I watched Into the Woods a few days ago with two friends of mine. Despite being unfamiliar with the original broadway musical–knowing only that it has to do with Little Red Riding Hood and a few other fairy tales–I was really loving it. Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick are both flawless, the songs are fantastic, and the cinematography is beautiful. I was loving the direction in which the story was going. And then… everything went to shit. Not the film, but the lives of the main characters. While other moviegoers seemed completely aware of what was going to happen, I was suddenly and unapologetically torn away from the hope of a happy ending.

I was expecting a Disney-fied fairy tale mashup that still somehow ends with most of the characters getting what they wanted. And I know this isn’t how life is, but it’s what I wanted, and it made me uneasy when it strayed from the typical formula. And the fact that this made me uneasy also made me feel guilty. I should be completely okay with less-than-happy endings. In fact, I should have been celebrating it! After all, I’ve read sections of the original fairy tales, and they can be pretty gruesome. I read books all the time that leave me sobbing, and they are some of my all-time favorites! TFioS, anyone? Heck, I usually love watching sad movies, too. Maybe the difference is that I’m usually somewhat prepared for the sad parts. Certain types of stories are pretty much guaranteed to have death and tragedy. With Into the Woods, I went into it blindly, with only the Disney-fied notion of fairy tales to guide me. I was clueless.

I have nothing profound to say, really. I’m just trying to make sense of my need for happy endings.