Movies Like The Beaches of Agnès (2008)

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Chasing the feel of watching The Beaches of Agnès ? Here are the movies we recommend you watch right after.

It’s a testament to Agnès Varda’s remarkable ability to glean so much raw beauty and truth from the world that this autobiographical documentary is such a rewarding watch, even for people unfamiliar with her. The Beaches finds the pioneering director in reflective mode as she looks back at her work and life, but her artistic impulses are by no means stagnant: she approaches the past with the same — if not more of the — generous candor and youthful spirit that colored her career.It’s also a testament to Varda’s inimitable artistic touch that she turns a usually-bleak subject — mortality — into something this life-affirming. The Beaches was made when she was 81, aware of her own ticking clock and still nursing the decades-long loss of so many loved ones (chiefly, husband Jacques Demy). Just as her grief-stricken reflections don’t overwhelm the film with sadness, the whimsical impulses she indulges here — like constructing a beach on the street in front of her office — don’t blunt the sharpness of her candor. The overall effect is bittersweet and profoundly inspiring: as with the mirrors she places in front of the tide in the film's first scene, she’s showing us it’s possible to face the inescapable with a twinkle in your eye.

While writing the classic novel Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens was also writing Nicholas Nickleby, with volumes released every month. His third novel was adapted in 2002 in a film adaptation that smooths out Dickens’ elaborate plot, with beautiful sets and costumes, and the classic good vs evil themes the classic novelist is known for. There’s a bit of a mismatch with Charlie Hunnam as the titular protagonist, but the rest of the cast slips into their characters well, most notably Christopher Plummer as the incredibly stingy uncle Ralph, and Jamie Bell, whose rendition of Smike makes his dynamic with Nickleby compelling. Nicholas Nickleby isn’t the most transformative adaptation, but it’s one that still works, especially for young viewers wanting a simplified plot for their book reports.

Genre: Adventure, Drama

Actor: Alan Cumming, Andrew Havill, Angela Curran, Angus Wright, Anne Hathaway, Barry Humphries, Bruce Cook, Charlie Hunnam, Christopher Plummer, Daisy Haggard, David Bradley, Edward Fox, Edward Hogg, Eileen Walsh, Gerard Horan, Hugh Mitchell, Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Juliet Stevenson, Kevin McKidd, Lucy Davis, Mark Wells, Nathan Lane, Nicholas Rowe, Phil Davis, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Romola Garai, Sophie Thompson, Stella Gonet, Timothy Spall, Tom Courtenay, William Ash

Director: Douglas McGrath

Rating: PG