3 Best Movies to Watch by Juliet Stevenson

Staff & contributors

Don’t be fooled by its obvious parallels to Ghost (not a bad film, but a very different one): Truly, Madly, Deeply isn’t much concerned with the supernatural logistics of its back-from-the-dead-boyfriend premise, and it doesn’t feature any psychics or murders, either. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that everything that takes place here happens in its protagonist's imagination — that’s how much it ignores the ‘how’ of it all.

Instead, this deeply warm rom-com from the great Anthony Minghella grapples head-on with the emotional challenges of grief and moving on. Juliet Stevenson’s performance as the bereft Nina is up there as one of the most moving portrayals of loss the screen has seen, and not just because of how believable her intense cry-acting is. When she realizes her deceased boyfriend Jamie (Alan Rickman, as seductive and sardonic as always) has returned to the land of the living, her euphoria brings to aching life the dream that everyone who’s ever lost a loved one must surely have dreamt: how joyous it would be to see them again. Blending such raw observations with wry humor — and anchored by two leads with genuine chemistry — this is a profoundly moving and rewarding movie.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, TV Movie

Actor: Alan Rickman, Arturo Venegas, Bill Paterson, Christopher Rozycki, David Ryall, Deborah Findlay, Eddie Vincent, Frank Baker, Heather Williams, Jenny Howe, Juliet Stevenson, Keith Bartlett, Mark Long, Michael Maloney, Nitin Ganatra, Richard Syms, Stella Maris, Teddy Kempner, Terry Molloy, Tony Bluto, Vania Vilers

Director: Anthony Minghella

Murdering your spouse is bad, so it’s slightly bizarre how Drowning by Numbers has an unbothered, even amused, attitude towards its murders. Moments seem randomly placed, like the first scene of a girl jumping rope while listing the stars by name, and the film can be hard to follow, even if the production design and cinematography keep you drawn in. But as the film progresses, and Madgett’s son Smut enumerates the fictional games as if he was a historian of sorts, writer-director Peter Greenaway meticulously crafts a quirky, twisty crime comedy, where, like children’s games and the men in their lives, the murdering wives do what they do because they can get away with it. Drowning by Numbers cleverly plays with the way we treat folklore, structure, and rules, even down to the very medium Greenaway works with.

Genre: Comedy, Crime

Actor: Arthur Spreckley, Bernard Hill, Bryan Pringle, David Morrissey, Edward Tudor-Pole, Ian Talbot, Jane Gurnett, Janine Duvitski, Jason Edwards, Joan Plowright, Joanna Dickens, Joely Richardson, John Rogan, Juliet Stevenson, Kenny Ireland, Michael Fitzgerald, Michael Percival, Natalie Morse, Paul Mooney, Roderic Leigh, Trevor Cooper, Vanni Corbellini

Director: Peter Greenaway

Rating: R

It’s difficult to try to capture the truth of who a person really is, especially when there’s already preconceived notions or previous depictions about said person. Released a year after Capote (2005), Infamous inevitably drew comparisons to the biopic, especially with the stark difference between their tones. It starts off with a more gossipy, idle tone, introducing novelist Truman Capote first through documentary-like interviews, just before Toby Jones as Capote charms his way through droll chatter about some famous people. It seems much more vapid than Philip Seymour Hoffman’s depiction, but much more warm too, making Capote’s tendencies to gab and tell other people’s stories, in part due to fame, but also due to a certain joie de vivre of storytelling, once that inevitably breaks him when he finds the story of what his life could have been. Infamous might not be as acclaimed as its preceding Capote depiction, nor is it more truthful, but it’s certainly a fascinating portrayal of a fascinating man.

Genre: Crime, Drama

Actor: Brady Coleman, Brady Hender, Brent A. McCoy, Brett Brock, Brian Shoop, Daniel Craig, Dennis Letts, Gabriel Folse, Gail Cronauer, Grant James, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hope Davis, Isabella Rossellini, Jeff Daniels, Joey Basham, John Benjamin Hickey, Juliet Stevenson, Lee Pace, Lee Ritchey, Leticia Trejo, Libby Villari, Marco Perella, Michael Panes, Mitch Baker, Norman Bennett, Peter Bogdanovich, Richard Andrew Jones, Richard Dillard, Sandra Bullock, Sheila Bailey, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Jones, Turk Pipkin

Director: Douglas McGrath

Rating: R