4 Best Movies to Watch by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

Staff & contributors

With a premise as insane as this—a high school coming-of-age film adapted from 410 consecutive tweets from a real, random Thai girl under the username @marylony—you would expect Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy to be some sort of incoherent commentary about social media. What director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit gives us instead is a completely original and surprisingly affecting portrait of a young woman in her senior year trying to come to terms with the fact that her life may only ever be a mess of incongruous parts without a definite identity. It's as whimsical as it is bittersweet, with the film flitting back and forth between the absurd and the melancholic.

Thamrongrattanarit structures his film as a series of loosely connected vignettes, with every single one of @marylony's tweets appearing on screen. The effect is one-of-a-kind—as if we're watching different layers of meaning constantly interacting with each other, our understanding of what we're supposed to think of as serious or tongue-in-cheek always changing. And through the film's deliberately lo-fi aesthetics, the experience of watching it is like flipping through a scrapbook of memories mundane and precious.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Awat Ratanapintha, Boonsong Nakphoo, Chonnikan Netjui, Kongdej Jaturanrasmee, Krissada Sukosol Clapp, Patcha Poonpiriya, Prabda Yoon, Thanapob Leeratanakachorn, Wasupol Kriangprapakit

Director: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

Rating: 0

An interior designer comes back from Sweden to her birthplace in Thailand where she tries to declutter her family home to make it a minimalist, Marie Kondo-type house. “Minimalism is like a Buddhist philosophy. It’s about letting go,” she tells her mother as she tries to convince her. “Are you nuts?” The woman replies.

Jean insists and she embarks on a journey of touching what hasn’t been touched in decades: traces of an absent father and a past lover among the old Nokias and VHS tape recorders.

Happy Old Year is a contemporary exploration of the age-old resistance to throwing things away. Decluttering is a costly act, one of rejecting and discarding memories. The film was Thailand’s official submission to the Oscars.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Aokbab Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Apasiri Nitibhon, Bhumibhat Thavornsiri, Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Natda Chawawanid, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Neennara Boonnithipaisit, Patcha Kitchaicharoen, Puangsoi Aksornsawang, Sarika Sartsilpsupa, Sarika Sathsilpsupa, Sunny Suwanmethanon, Sunny Suwanmethanont, Thirawat Ngosawang, Um Apasiri Nitibhon, Wasu Pluemsakulthai

Director: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

Rating: N/A

Heart Attack is a romantic comedy, but instead of the hijinks being caused by the usual dating, miscommunication, and wooing, Yoon’s struggle here is to finally get a hold of his overbearing schedule and figure out how to relax and recover from burnout, and it’s all inspired by wanting to impress his doctor Imm. It’s funny, but it’s also all too real. Writer-director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit recreates the overwhelming frenzy to complete a job through a magnificent jazz soundscape and Sunny Suwanmethanon’s internalized monologue, and it’s such an effective cinematic translation that the moments of rest, the moments where Yoon and Imm finally take a break feels like a relief. Heart Attack works precisely because it empathizes and understands the experience of workers in today’s gig economy.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Adisorn Trisirikasem, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Chatcharin Saetan, Chonlasit Upanigkit, Davika Hoorne, Morakot Liu, Natda Chawawanid, Nottapon Boonprakob, Sunny Suwanmethanon, Surattanavee Suviporn, Thanapob Leeratanakachorn, Torpong Chantabubpha, Violette Wautier

Director: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

After the devastating Happy Old Year, we were excited to see the next of what Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit has to offer. Fast & Feel Love is a surprising one, purely because of how silly and unserious the entire film is. The satirical film follows a sport stacker whose passion to be the fastest blinds him to all the day-to-day tasks and life goals that have been pushed towards his girlfriend, and the film plays this basic conflict as dramatically as other action films would, with dynamic cinematography, an over-the-top soundtrack, and dramatic voice overs. The joke does get stretched a tad too long, but it humorously pokes fun at the infantile ways men in action films act, while still recognizing how this mindset is the way we cope in adulthood.

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Anusara Korsamphan, Keetapat Pongruea, Napak Traicharoendetch, Nat Kitcharit, Urassaya Sperbund, Wipawee Patnasiri

Director: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit