Rain has been pouring endlessly and the air has grown colder and it's this phase of the year that I like to call "sleep weather." Whatever it brings, though, be it rain or snow, depending on where you live, we can't deny that December is a perfect month for cocooning in our own bedrooms. Wrapped up in our thick blankets, closing the curtains, turning the night light on, a warm drink in hand, occupying ourselves with a good movie or a good book.

I've watched many movies this year and although I couldn't possibly remember all of them, I've watched several within this past few weeks that turned out to be incredible. Splayed across different genres, listed below, in no particular order, are all the films I've watched recently that for me, left a very lasting impact.

(Click the photos to see the trailers!)

"Some of us get dipped in flat. Some in satin, some in gloss. But every once in a while, you find someone who's iridescent, and when you do, nothing will ever compare."

I've never been an advocate of cheesy romances, but this one was just too adorable to forget. I know I'm about 7 years late to watching this movie, but I fell in love with it almost instantly. It follows the story of two kids, Julie Baker, and Bryce Loski, also described as her "first love." Because he resents Julie for she is quite the creative, smart-and-gutsy oddball compared to the other prim-perfect girls in school, things start to get complicated as he has no choice but to encounter her on a daily basis, since they're neighbors. 

The film doesn't solely dive into the romance aspect, but also highlights another important value which is family. The story is told from both sides, so I loved seeing that boy-vs-girl perspective on how silly, ambiguous, and helplessly devoted young, unrequited love can be. The 1957 setting also won my heart, for sure. This movie is not only timeless, but also very sweet and endearing. Heart eyes all over.

"No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."

dead poet's society
Glorious. Just, everything about it. This has to be one of the best and most inspiring movies I've seen in my entire life (and that's really saying something.) The production actually aired in 1989 but if there's one thing I always seem to have faith in, it's old Hollywood films. Dead Poet's Society tells an exciting, engaging story of an English teacher (played by the late iconic Robin Williams) in a highly esteemed prep school, educating his law-and-med-school-ready boys to "seize the day" and follow their heart. 

The life lessons gained from watching this film is irreplaceable. It stretched the scope of literature to use it to teach us of passion, love, courage, and the beauty of pursuing our dreams. Personally, as someone with a deep love for writing, and a firm belief that words and ideas can, in fact, change the world, this film also strengthened my sense of purpose. Also, Neil Perry is gorgeous. That's all.

"Do your duty, come what may. Never tolerate any injustice, and never compromise on self-respect."

Before anyone ridicules me for choosing a Bollywood film, I implore you, friends, to give this one a chance. I know films from India have a bad rep for "too much" of the dancing or passionate love affairs, but this is not one of them. Based on a true story, it features the heroic act of one Neerja Bhanot (played exquisitely by the beautiful Sonam Kapoor), an air hostess who saved hundreds of passengers on a plane terrorist hijacking that took place in Pakistan, September 1986.

I applaud the directors, cast and crew of this film for creating such a vivid display of courage and endurance, especially through the main character. We need to make more room for films that feature strong female characters, and this is one of those films. I feel like most of the world clearly doesn't know about this story, or movie, but it deserves so much more recognition. Also, I may or may not have cried more than once through the duration of this movie. Just, turn on those subtitles and I promise, you won't regret it.

"Can you imagine a world in which we end up together?"

the big sick
As I'd mentioned before, it's very rare that I find a love-story-centered film to be enjoyable. But I gotta admit that sometimes, I can be a total sucker for good and witty rom-coms. For the first movie I've seen that highlights a story of an interracial relationship, The Big Sick did not disappoint. Based on a true story, it follows the life of Kumail, a stand-up comedian, and Pakistani, trying to "make it" in America. Along the way, he meets Emily, a blonde, sweet grad student, and obviously, they fall in love. 

In many ways entertaining and eye-opening, I got addicted to watching their chemistry develop and how utterly honest they are when they're together. They're both so clever, and sarcastic, and it just made the movie that much more likable. However, with this new relationship, Kumail faces the risk of disappointing his traditional Muslim parents. And when Emily falls into a coma with an unknown illness, Kumail has no choice but to bond with her parents, and tell the truth to his. As a comedy, it's hilarious, as a romance, it's charming, and as a rom-com, it holds more depth and authenticity than any others I've seen.

"In women, courage is often mistaken for insanity."

iron jawed angels
As a non-American, I clearly don't have my fair share of knowledge in American history. But if it's got something to do with female empowerment, bravery, and women bringing change, I'm totally here for it. Released in 2004, Iron Jawed Angels is a historical docudrama/indie film following the American women's suffrage movement during the 1910s. We're shown how these women activists risked their lives and fought (literally) for their American right to vote, but not always in the submissive, well-mannered way women were expected to be during those times.

Some of the scenes are touching, and some are still graphic enough to make the audience shift in their seats. The storyline is vigorous and focused, solely revolving around the main goal; women's suffrage. Also, I was especially awed by the irresistible Hilary Swank-Julia Ormond dynamic. Overall, whether it's from behind a desk or inside prison cells, the film incredibly embodies the spirit of their protest; an inconvenient, continuous resistance.

"In whatever people say, there is right, there is wrong. There is nothing in between."

murder on the orient express
Give me an old-fashioned English setting, a good detective story, and a bunch of rich folks being accused of murder, and you'll definitely capture my attention. Moving on to the newly released movies this time, this has to be one of my favorites. Based on one of Agatha Christie's bestselling mystery novels, Murder on the Orient Express places "probably-the-greatest-detective-in-the-world" Hercule Poirot on the famous European train heading to London. Seeking rest, Poirot encounters an unexpected case; a man has been murdered on the Orient Express. (Because of course, in every detective story, a cold-blooded murder is always found right in the center of their supposed "holiday".)

The plot takes a turn and the scene grows dark as everyone on the train becomes a suspect to the killing. With a brilliantly complex and fascinating set of characters, the plot is increasingly compelling. The audience feels invited to make guesses and judgements on the characters alongside the detective. Compared to Sherlock, I've found that Poirot has slightly less of the arrogance and more of that grandfather-like wisdom. Both, however, carry equally great wit and finesse in their work. The one thing that made me latch onto this movie was the visuals. Astounding, to say the least. Every frame a cinematic artwork, I'd push this for Oscar's Best Picture at any given day. If you have a soft spot for mystery novels, this movie is worth a shot.

"We may have our differences, but nothing's more important than family."

Last but not least, the animated movie of the year. The most amazing Pixar production in 2017, if not all time, is the movie Coco, released only a few weeks ago. Despite the fact that we had to enjoy this after sitting through a lousy Frozen "holiday special" short film (FOR 30 MINUTES), my, Coco was worth the wait. Where do I begin to describe the love I have for this movie? Shown through some breathtaking animation work and a heartwarming story, it's like Disney and Pixar closed the year by saying, "Hey! We can still make animated movies that don't suck!" 

And the ultimate comeback it was, indeed. The story follows Miguel, a young Mexican boy born in a family of shoemakers, trying desperately to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. Different and never before seen in any of their other movies, I adored Disney's take on Mexico as its main setting, and Dia de los Muertos, a rich embodiment of the culture itself. Also, let's face it, we totally enjoyed the mariachi background music. For a Disney movie, it's a very fresh, new experience. Every aspect of it was captivating, including some tear-jerking moments along the way as well. Frankly, I'm undebatably emotionally attached to this film. And I think anyone who has a heart would love it just the same.


I've decided that I won't write movie reviews anymore unless I have very strong feelings about them, so the movies listed above are, in fact, very close to my heart. I hope this gives some references and insight, and I hope everyone has a good December.

See you around?