5 Movies Like All My Life (2020)

Staff & contributors

This lovely comedy-romance from Ireland is about a closeted gay teen and his lesbian schoolmate who pretend to be in a relationship to avoid being bullied at their school.

This premise makes Dating Amber an original story in a genre in which that's increasingly rare. This is added to the setting, in 1995 rural Ireland, which is executed to gorgeous perfection in everything from the clothes to the music. 

Dating Amber ends up being more coming-of-age than a comedy-romance. It's a tale of friendship and self-acceptance.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Adam Carolan, Ally Ni Chiarain, Anastasia Blake, Andrew Bennett, Arian Nik, Art Campion, Barry Ward, Corey Millar, Emma Willis, Eva O'Connor, Evan O'Connor, Fionn O'Shea, Fionn O'Shea, Ian O'Reilly, Ian O'Reilly, Jonny Woo, Karl Rice, Lauryn Canny, Lola Petticrew, Peter Campion, Sharon Horgan, Shauna Higgins, Simone Kirby, Tara Flynn

Director: David Freyne

, 2021

Palmer may not be treading new ground, but it does tackle relevant themes with impressive sensitivity. With Palmer (Justin Timberlake), it reveals the stigma that haunts ex-convicts well after they’ve redeemed themselves. And with Sam (a charming Ryder Allen), it brings to light the heartbreaking and often dangerous bigotry queer children face. These are heavy issues, but Palmer takes them on with the utmost care and compassion. Though it reads cheesy at times, the sweetness is a welcome note considering the more tragic turns narratives like this tend to take. Empathetic and hopeful, Palmer is a pleasant enough film about second chances and found families.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Alisha Wainwright, Carson Minniear, Charmin Lee, Craig Sheffer, Dane Rhodes, Dean Winters, Fisher Stevens, Hero Hunter, J.D. Evermore, Jake Brennan, Jesse C. Boyd, June Squibb, Juno Temple, Justin Timberlake, Lance E. Nichols, Molly Sue Harrison, Nicholas X. Parsons, Ray Gaspard, Ryder Allen, Stacie Davis, Stephen Louis Grush, Theodus Crane, Wynn Everett

Director: Fisher Stevens

Rating: R

Let me just preface this by saying The Best of Youth is 6 hours long. Yes, that's 358 minutes of run time, and it puts off a lot of people. But if you're into unusual movie premises like me and up for the challenge - the reward is tremendous. The Best of Youth tells the story of four friends through a period of 30 years; what they go through how they develop their personalities, their worldviews, etc. And because it spans such an extended period of time, it acts as a highlight reel of moments from the characters' lives (so the long run-time actually feels short). It wouldn't be an understatement to say that you'll probably never know characters of any movie as well as you will in The Best of Youth. A perfect illustration of the genius of Italian cinema that gave us The Great Beauty and other amazing movies.

Genre: Drama, History, Romance

Actor: Adriana Asti, Alberto Pozzo, Alessio Boni, Andrea Tidona, Angelo Costabile, Antonello Puglisi, Camilla Filippi, Claudia Fiorentini, Claudio Gioè, Danilo Maria Valli, Dario Veca, Domenico Centamore, Enzo Marcelli, Fabio Camilli, Fabrizio Gifuni, Fausto Maria Sciarappa, Giorgio Crisafi, Giovanni Martorana, Giovanni Scifoni, Giuseppe Gandini, Jasmine Trinca, Juana Jimenez, Kristine M. Opheim, Krum De Nicola, Lidia Vitale, Luigi Lo Cascio, Marcello Prayer, Maria Grazia Bon, Massimiliano Petrucci, Maurizio Di Carmine, Maya Sansa, Michele Melega, Mimmo Mignemi, Nanni Tormen, Paolo Bonanni, Paolo De Vita, Patrizia Punzo, Riccardo Scamarcio, Roberto Accornero, Sonia Bergamasco, Stefano Abbati, Valentina Carnelutti

Director: Marco Tullio Giordana

Rating: R

Lighthearted, inspirational, and warm, True Spirit is the real life story of how the young Jessica Watson circumnavigated the world. Through YouTube-esque vlogs and scribbled out title cards, the film follows the real-life journey, alternating between the sailor with the situation back home, as her mentor and family keep track of her current progress. Inspired by the book, the film fairly sticks to the facts written in her travelogue, but True Spirit mostly plays out the same way a Disney Channel Original Movie would, with its young protagonist setting out for a whimsical adventure, just for the sake of it. It makes for a beautiful film with stunning views and heartwarming messages about perseverance, but it’s more an easy cruise than a daring adventure, as it plays out without any courage in its approach.

Genre: Adventure, Drama, History

Actor: Alice Tate, Alyla Browne, Anna Paquin, Bridget Webb, Chris Hillier, Cliff Curtis, James McGrady, Jessica Watson, Joey Vieira, Josephine Flynn, Josh Lawson, Ling Cooper Tang, Molly Belle Wright, Nikhil Singh, Shanyn Asmar, Stacy Clausen, Teagan Croft, Todd Lasance, Vivien Turner

Director: Sarah Spillane

Rating: PG

Unfortunately, it isn't enough to have cartoonishly attractive people do silly things in the name of love for an entire feature film. This premise is undeniably fun at first: the pace is snappy, the locations are pretty, and there are more than a few intentional laughs buried within the film's fast-paced dialogue. But the longer Love Tactics 2 goes on, the more idiotic its characters seem and the more it feels like they don't actually deserve the love they supposedly earned in the previous movie. It greatly underestimates how frustrating it is to watch people fail to communicate over and over again, not out of any goodwill, but out of pure pride and jealousy. Sure, the leads provide plenty of eye candy, but after seeing how little they actually get to work with, watching them becomes an act of secondhand embarrassment.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Atakan Çelik, Bora Akkaş, Ceyhun Mengiroğlu, Demet Özdemir, Deniz Baydar, Hande Yılmaz, İpek Tuzcuoğlu, Kerem Atabeyoğlu, Melisa Döngel, Şükrü Özyıldız

Director: Recai Karagöz

Rating: PG-13