5 Best Movies to Watch by Gillian Anderson

Staff & contributors

From the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, and courtesy of Studio Ghibli, which also brought you Spirited Away, comes this epic whirlwind of a story. Set during a fantastical late Muromachi period, the medieval era of Japan, in a time when many humans were still living among nature, while others set out to conquer and tame it, the movie follows a young man named Ashitaka, who he seeks cure for the curse of a boar god, giving him superhuman powers but eventually killing him. He rides west on a fantastic beast, where he eventually sees a young woman named San, also known as Princess Mononoke. What unfolds from here, is an epic tale of mythical war on many fronts, between the nature gods and humans. While this may sound like a dichotomy, it never is that morally simplistic. The story is action-packed and fast-paced, drawing freely from Japanese mythology as well as modern hot-topic political issues. Add to this the fantastic visuals: Hayao Miyazaki uses a mixture of hand drawings and 3D rendering that are nothing short of spectacular. In short, Princess Mononoke is movie history. If you haven't seen it yet, do it now.

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Fantasy

Actor: Akihiro Miwa, Akira Nagoya, Akira Sakamoto, Alex Fernandez, Billy Bob Thornton, Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Corey Burton, Daikichi Sugawara, Debi Derryberry, Gillian Anderson, Hisaya Morishige, Ikuko Yamamoto, Jada Pinkett Smith, John DeMita, John DiMaggio, Kaoru Kobayashi, Keith David, Kiho Iinuma, Makoto Satō, Masahiko Nishimura, Minnie Driver, Mitsuko Mori, Mitsuru Satô, Shiro Saito, Sumi Shimamoto, Takako Katou, Tara Strong, Tetsu Watanabe, Tsunehiko Kamijo, Yayoi Kazuki, Yôji Matsuda, Yoshimasa Kondô, Youji Matsuda, Yûko Tanaka, Yuriko Ishida

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Rating: PG-13

You might have to wipe some sweat from your forehead once you've finished watching this blistering political thriller. It doesn't make any sense to us that this 2006 movie by documentary director Kevin Macdonald made less than 20 million in box office revenue when it came out, but that makes it even more A Good Movie to Watch material. In addition to being thrilling entertainment, it offers insight into an easily overlooked chapter of recent world history and taut moral dilemmas. The dramatization of Giles Foden's novel features two intense performances: James McAvoy plays the sometimes naive (and maybe a bit too enthralled by power) Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan, who becomes the personal physician of none other than Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Nicknamed “The Butcher of Uganda”, Amin is played by Academy Award-winning character actor Forest Whitaker, who perfectly captures his mood-swinging, crazy brutality. He also completely nails his Ugandan-English accent. An amazing watch!

Genre: Drama

Actor: Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga, Adam Kotz, Barbara Rafferty, David Ashton, David Oyelowo, Devon Diep, Dick Stockley, Forest Whitaker, Giles Foden, Gillian Anderson, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Martina Amati, Sam Okelo, Simon McBurney, Stephen Rwangyezi

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Rating: R

, 2024

To the untrained eye, a TV interview is just that: an interview, a simple (and at times rehearsed) back-to-back between a reporter and a subject. But Scoop is a thrilling reminder of how complex the process actually is, from the legwork to the questioning and even after airing. In the UK, that quest for truth is complicated by stringent palace rules and the fact that the BBC, which McAlister and her colleagues work for, is a publicly funded institution. How free is the free press when a Royal can call off a story, and how far are reporters willing to go to protect it? Scoop is bolstered by a smart script and a wealth of strong performance—Sewell is almost unrecognizable as Prince Andrew and Gillian Anderson is commanding as anchor Emily Maitlis. But the movie won’t be as strong as it is without Piper leading it; she’s relatable and entrancing as she works her way from underestimated underdog to compelling champion.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Alex Waldmann, Amanda Redman, Andrew MacBean, Aoife Hinds, Billie Piper, Charity Wakefield, Charlie Roe, Charlotte Avery, Christopher Fairbank, Colin Wells, Connor Swindells, Gillian Anderson, Gordon Warnecke, Harriet Benson, Jonathan Rhodes, Jordan Kouamé, Kate Fleetwood, Keeley Hawes, Lia Williams, Mark Noble, Mia Threapleton, Nicholas A. Newman, Nicholas Murchie, Paul Popplewell, Raffaello Degruttola, Richard Goulding, Romola Garai, Rufus Sewell, Tim Bentinck, Vangelis Christodoulou, Zach Colton

Director: Philip Martin