If like me you’re sick of big budget blockbusters, then there is hope! Although the best (critically speaking) films are reserved primarily for Oscar season, there are some fascinating and worthwhile art films slipping through the cracks. You needn’t subject yourself to the never-ending release of sequels, prequels, reboots, superhero, and action films if you don’t want to. So, for those of you looking for some relief this summer, I’ve compiled a list of 5 alternative summer films that I feel are worth a watch.
My Cousin Rachel
This maybe isn’t poised to be quite as much of a controversial classic as Les Cousins Dangereux, but this film looks to be an absorbing flick. With a strong pair of leads in Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin and an intriguing gothic tale of love and murder based on source material by one of the greatest ever writers, Daphne du Maurier, this should be a worthwhile movie. Though slightly too early to properly gauge the consensus on this film, I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised by this one.
Release date: June 9th, UK & US
Metacritic: 64 Rotten Tomatoes: 80 IMDb: N/A
My Life as a Courgette
Alternative animation is having a renaissance, with movies like Anomalisa and Kubo and the Two Strings examples of recent films using the traditionally child-oriented genre to deliver visually and narratively striking tales. My Life as a Courgette, an Oscar-nominated movie, looks to be another example of an animated film on the surface designed for children, but full of deeper undertones. Whilst not a long film runtime wise, this seems to have a bucketful of emotional depth and is bolstered by beautiful, seamless stop-motion.
Release date: In Cinemas
Metacritic: 85 Rotten Tomatoes: 100 IMDb: 7.8
A Ghost Story
Often filmmakers who make the leap from relative obscurity to big budget recognition abandon their filmmaking roots, but David Lowery seems adamant on retaining his artistic origins. Despite taking on Disney projects, Lowery here has crafted a strange tale of lingering grief, in which a man lives on as a sheet with eyeholes. With huge talents Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck at the acting helm, a talented director, and an original and unique narrative, this one looks to be well worth your time.
Release date: US 7th July, UK 11th August
Metacritic: 89 Rotten Tomatoes: 93 IMDb: 7.8
Sofia Coppola is an awesome, inspiring woman. It would’ve been easy to simply leech off of her father Francis Ford Coppola, arguably the greatest ever director. Nope, she wasn’t content to do that though. Instead, she has crafted her own unique brand of cinema and has become a successful director in her own right. After becoming the second woman to win the best director award at Cannes this year, The Beguiled seems to be a continuation of Sofia’s prolific filmmaking form and a demonstration of her power. This Civil War set drama piece has won acclaim and looks like being a riveting ride.
Release Date: US widespread release 30th June, UK 14th July
Metacritic: 76 Rotten Tomatoes: 75 IMDb: 7.6
The fantastic Ethan Hawke alone should be enough to make you want to watch this film, but when you chuck the talented Sally Hawkins into the mix then this looks even better. Hawke has proved in the Before trilogy that he is the man for romantic dramas, and this tender looking movie looks to be one that pulls at the heart strings. Already touted as a film with two early Oscar worthy performances, this tale of an arthritic yet artistic housekeeper turned aspiring artist finding acceptance and love despite her shortcomings is one I’m sure will captivate audiences.
Release date: US June 16th, UK 4th August
Metacritic: 60 Rotten Tomatoes: 93 IMDb: 7.7