THREE RECENT FILMS I WAS SURPRISED TO LOVE

(sorry for the slightly generous interpretation of "recent" and sorry these are all somewhat similar)
  1. Manchester By The Sea (2016)
    I did see this with a bit of bias; admittedly it's full of stuff I'm a sucker for (an Affleck brother, Michelle Williams, distinctly New England landscapes). But this film was far beyond what I expected—intimate and quiet and achingly somber. I found myself frequently teary-eyed for the smallest reasons and left feeling profoundly impacted, though unresolved.
  2. Whiplash (2014)
    My dislike of Miles Teller kept me away until this year. But this film ended up being impressive on all fronts! I now understand why it was raved about so often.
  3. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)
    The previews gave me the impression that the film's "indie" aesthetic was a bit heavy-handed. Maybe so. But I really liked this small film, full of sadness sure but also so full of the distinctive uncertainties that accompany being a teenager and negotiating your identity and your place in the world.