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Firework for Your Screen

Hello again, fellow movie lovers!
The year is coming to an end, and we are all busy with our exam preparations, thesis writing and navigating through the swamp of deadlines, essay requirements and feedback. In such times it is very important to take a deep breath, sit down in front of the TV and pop in a good relaxing film. After all, breaks are important because they help you rejuvenate and then you can tackle the mountain of work with a fresh perspective (or so we tell ourselves while procrastinating)!

As you might know, New Year’s Eve is not exactly a large theme in most films. Most motion pictures use a “New Year’s Eve scene” to indicate change; which usually is a breakthrough in the character development. Despite the fact that many films and series hover around Christmas and New Year’s, good films with a true New Year’s theme were difficult to locate. In an effort to find three films relevant to this theme I had to limit my search to films containing a memorable New Year’s scene, and revert to the classics (to avoid the mountain of clichés that occur in most newer, mass produced, cinema). My selection covers two good oldies and one newer film – all with a memorable New Year’s Eve scene

About a Boy (2002)
The cynical Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) lives a comfortable rich life on the fortune of his deceased father’s royalties, when he decides to start dating single moms – as he is under the impression they are easier to “catch”. He invents a son, and starts going to single-parent meetings looking for easy hook-ups he can abandon the second things get too serious. Soon he meets the single-mother Fiona, or maybe more important; her son Marcus (Nicholas Hoult). Marcus’ personality is the complete opposite of Will’s; he is selfless and giving and maybe a little bit weird, where Will is selfish, cynical and cool. Marcus has problems at school because the bullies single him out as an easy target. Slowly at first, but with increasing warmth and affection between the boys, Will and Marcus band together and help each other grow up. Will learns a thing or two about appreciating others, and Marcus is shown how to fit in while still remaining true to himself.

This film is truly touching, and invokes a lot of feeling. It has funny moments and bitter-sweet moments. I like the pace of how the story is told, and how the tender man-to-man relationship grows between Will and Marcus. The two boys really need each other to get to a better place in their lives. This is definitely a hit if you are looking for a family-film which skirts many different categories, but in the end manages to hit home with most of us.

Forrest Gump (1994)
This masterpiece of a film follows the life of Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) and the viewer is privy to his various adventures. Most of the film consists of long flashbacks “narrated” by Forrest, as he sits at a bus stop in Georgia. He tells of his life to various people waiting for their bus on the same bench as he occupies, some react favourably and others in disbelief. The covert main focus of his stories is Jenny (Robin Wright), his elusive love, and her life is constantly linear to Forrest’s life with various encounters here and there, always re-kindling the spark in Forrest’s heart. Forrest and Jenny are counterparts in most of the story: Forrest, being an outcast of sorts due to his low IQ, finds his place in the army, where a rigid scheme and life suits him perfectly. Whereas Jenny runs with the hippie crowd, preaching non-violence, free sex and flower power. We follow Forrest’s narrative up until present time, where the movie shifts to a real-time perspective, and we are brought along for the ride.

I never get tired of this movie! The way Forrest is present at almost every large historical event, but is always overlooked in some way, is so touching. His relationship with Jenny is so very pure, and he is always there for her when it counts. For those who have yet to see this film, it is very much recommended as it is one of the films which succeeds the most in capturing the time-period it plays out in – especially the New Year’s Eve scene. And if we look away from the story; Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Forrest is well worth the Academy Award for “Best Actor” he received for the role in 1994.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)
The final film on the list is a classic love story. Quoted countless of times, and loved by many, this good oldie has earned its high place on several “chick-flick” lists. Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) have been friends for a long time. During their lives they keep falling back on one another as good friends after several failed relationships. Central stands the question: can a single man and a single woman be friends without sex getting in the way..?

This love-story revolves around the ageold idea that true love finds its own time and place. You cannot force it to happen when it is not meant to be, but eventually everyone will end up with the one they are destined for. The film is very touching, and really captures how difficult, yet rewarding, the search for love can be.

This final movie on the list will let it go out with a bang! The film’s crescendo falls around the New Year’s Eve scene – and what happens should remain a secret as I do not wish to spoil the fun for anyone!

Enjoy Watching!
I can highly recommend all of these films for those who haven’t seen them yet, or those wishing to revisit a nostalgic past. In any case, these three films are perfect for filling the gap between Christmas and New Year’s. Happy holidays all!

By Benny Baumann