July in Scotland is kind of like November in Scotland: wet, windy and incredibly grey. This, and being hit by my first ever bout of migraines, meant I spent much of this month in a cream fleece curled up on the couch at my parent’s house watching movies. If I wasn’t there I was buried under a tartan blanket eating snacks in Edinburgh. As miserable as this might sound, I was able to enjoy more films than usual – and a questionably large amount of chocolate. When life gives you lemons, y’know.
I had a horrible migraine, I had lost (and found) my favourite leather jacket, and I just wanted a pizza with macaroni balls. This was my situation when I locked eyes with a giant pig who reminded me a little of Falkor the Luck Dragon from The NeverEnding Story. Okja was a film I’d heard of recently at the Edinburgh Film Festival, yet here it was on my Netflix dashboard begging to be watched.
While the film hasn’t transformed me into a vegetarian overnight, it has yet again opened my eyes to the doom and gloom world that is a reality for millions of animals every day – even though Okja isn’t a real pig. The story would have scared me as a child, kind of like Watership Down did, but it’s also massively uplifting thanks to the friendship between Okja and Mija, an amazingly determined young girl from South Korea.
Watch this if: You’re feeling a bit lonely, wish you had a pet or are curious about animal activism.
My favourite film this year, Hidden Figures tells the stories of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson who were pivotal to the launch of John Glen into orbit during the Space Race of the 1960s. What I loved about this film was how these woman crossed the seemingly endless race and gender hurdles thrown at them, including the half a mile long run to the “coloured bathrooms” that NASA had tucked away in the computer building (a computer being a female mathematician).
I watched this film beside my Mum who was disturbed at how recent these events were, especially as she remembers watching John Glen on a black and white slot-television (a coin operated TV) at the time, yet had no idea of the bathroom and coffee pot politics ongoing in segregated Virginia across the Atlantic. Racism wasn’t something my Mum, eleven years old at the time, had ever encountered in her small Scottish hometown. Little did she know that the astronaut she was watching in space had been put there thanks to the intelligence and perseverance of these women.
Watch this if: You’re a living, breathing human.
James McAvoy plays the the part of twenty plus identities in this thriller which begins with the abduction of three teenage girls by Kevin, a character with dissociative identity disorder. The slightly more unusual aspect of Kevin’s disorder is that it can manifest in different physical attributes too, meaning that one identity might have diabetes, while another may not.
As someone who finds the subject of mental health and psychology fascinating, I thought this concept was exciting, even if far-fetched. It was undoubtedly thrilling, as it featured plenty fury-inducing scenes as the teenage girls attempted and failed repeatedly to escape their prison. It was Bruce Willis’ cameo appearance at the end of the movie that left me most intrigued however…
Watch this if: You like James McAvoy or your nails have gotten a little too long.
A quarter pounder, a diet coke and a Dairy Milk McFlurry is what I order whenever I go to McDonalds, but little did I know then the brutal business story that preceded the massive franchise. This movie was on my watch list thanks to its amazing director John Lee Hancock who did one of my all time favourite movies, Saving Mr. Banks
Ray Kroc is massively unlikable, but he understands that persistence is the key to success. Without him, McDonalds wouldn’t be what it is today. But without the McDonald brothers, milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc would not have become the successful American businessman that he did. I loved the look and feel of this film, and it’s the most red and yellow you’ll see outside of a Wes Anderson movie. I just can’t help thinking about the parallels between Ray’s determination to have McDonalds, and his desire to be with Linda Cardellini with her yellow hair and red dress. Brilliant.
Watch this if: You’ve ever eaten a McDonalds or you’re thinking of starting a fast-food business.