Before I list my own five favorite films of 2007, I’d like to point out that think it would be wonderful, and more honest, if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (commonly referred to as The Academy as in “I’d like to thank The Academy”), of which I am a member, changed the characterization of awards from “best” to “favorite”. After all, both the film’s and the individual’s overall popularity always factor into Academy voting anyway, whether members want to admit it or not. Using “best” in regards to the art form of film is not only unfair to all concerned but also simply impossible to gauge. I have no idea what “best” means in films. My own list of favorite films of 2007 consists of films that personally moved me, inspired me, and made me feel better about being human. Since we posted these choices on the message boards for subscribers to the Spiritual Cinema Circle, our community has been sharing some passionate opinions and disagreements of their own. That’s the fun of it. Let the discussions continue!!
1) Reign Over Me
With bravura performances from both Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle, the film is a beautiful paean to the powers of love, friendship, and, most importantly, healing. Sandler, in particular, is brilliant beyond words. Unfortunately, like Jim Carrey in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” in 2004 and Will Ferrell in “Stranger than Fiction” in 2006, Sandler is seen as, and I’m afraid somewhat resented for, being a successful comedian, and his incredible performance has been unjustly ignored.
What a delightful, whimsical, and hilarious film! Putting some of Disney’s classic fairy tale characters into a modern day context works so well that my whole family just sat there smiling, laughing, and applauding throughout the film. Amy Adams’ fairy tale princess, separated from her prince and sent to modern day New York by an evil queen, is so pitch perfect that we were repeating her lines for days.
3) The Great Debaters
This film is a powerful and moving tribute to the courage of the African-American Wiley College debating team and its coach in 1930s Texas. Denzel Washington directs and stars in a film that reminds us of what we can accomplish when we decide that it is we, not the world around us, who define ourselves.
This searingly honest and loving story of a teenager’s unwelcome pregnancy and her search for both herself and the most appropriate adoptive parents is both funny and poignant. Ellen Page is simply brilliant as the title character and the film has much to say about love, life, and responsibility. It also has one of the sweetest and most touching final scenes in recent memory.
An offbeat, often hilarious, and sometimes harrowing story about a small town waitress and her unique talent for baking every kind of pie imaginable is heartwarming. Keri Russell achieves superstar actress status with her complex and nuanced portrait of a woman in an emotionally abusive marriage that she yearns to escape. The film is also a loving tribute to Adrienne Shelly, its writer/director/costar who was tragically killed after the completion of the film.