“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”
Based on the book of the same name by Jennifer Niven and directed by Brett Haley, All The Bright Places follows two high school students – Theodore Finch (Justice Smith) and Violet Markey (Elle Fanning) – who meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school. At first, it’s unclear who saves whom, but when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
“Some men lash out and leave marks, the black eyes and broken noses that send women to the emergency rooms and from there to the kindly social worker and the battered women’s shelter. But the real devils are the ones who hide the traces, who practice constant psychological abuse until the woman is all but destroyed.”
Directed by Paul Feig and based on Darcey Bell‘s 2017 book of the same name, A Simple Favor follows widow and stay-at-home Mommy blogger Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), who is asked a seemingly simple favour by her best friend, Emily (Blake Lively). Emily asks her to pick up her son after school one day, but when Emily never shows up to collect her son from Stephanie’s house, Stephanie knows that something is terribly wrong – Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, Emily reaches out to Emily’s husband, Sean (Henry Golding), offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. But then, she and Sean receive shocking news: Emily is dead. As Stephanie seeks to uncover the truth, she must dig deeper into Emily’s secret past. Things aren’t as simple as she once thought.
“The world is chaotic. All artists know this, but they try to make sense of it. Sophia has made sense of it for him. She has stitched it together like the most beautiful cloak. Her love has sewn it together and they can wrap it around themselves and be safe from the world. Nobody can reach them.”
Directed by Justin Chadwick and based on the book by Deborah Moggach, Tulip Fever is set in 1630s Amsterdam ablaze with tulip fever, and follows a wealthy merchant, Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz), and his young and beautiful wife, Sophia (Alicia Vikander), the woman he hopes will bring him the joy that not even his considerable fortune can buy, an heir. But so far, Sophia has failed to produce one. In a bid for immortality, he commissions a portrait of them both by the talented young painter Jan van Loos (Dane DeHaan). But as Van Loos begins to capture Sophia’s likeness on canvas, a slow passion begins to burn between the beautiful young wife and the talented artist.
“I watched as that kid died. In his last few seconds, there was pure terror in his eyes. You can’t do that. You can’t do that to a person. I don’t care what anybody tells me, I don’t care how many people go crazy and die, I don’t care if the whole shuck human race ends. Even if that was the only thing that had to happen to find the cure, I’d still be against it.”
Directed by Wes Ball, The Maze Runner: The Death Cure is the third and final film in the adaptations of James Dashner‘s series of Maze Runner novels. As Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet – including Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Frypan (Dexter Darden), Brenda (Rosa Salazar) and Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) – they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all, on a mission to find a cure for a deadly disease known as “The Flare”. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze.
“Maybe each of us was once a complete whole. A clear picture. A single piece. Then something happened to crack and shatter us. Leaving us disconnected, torn and splintered. Some of us lie in a hundred pieces. Some ten thousand. Some are edged with sharp contrast. Some dim shades of grey. Some find they are missing pieces. Some find they have too many. In any case, we are left shaking our heads. It can’t be done. Then someone comes along who mends a tattered edge or returns a lost piece. The process is tedious, painful, and there are no shortcuts.”
Based on the 2011 romance novel by Charles Martin and directed by Hany Abu-Assad, The Mountain Between Us follows Dr Ben Payne (Idris Elba) and writer Ashley Knox (Kate Winslet) – known in the film as Ben Bass and Alex Martin – who are stranded in the High Uintas Wilderness after their charter plane crashes when the pilot has a heart attack mid-flight. Knowing that nobody is coming to their rescue, the couple must trek through the snow-capped mountains against the harsh conditions to find safety. The ordeal leads them to rely on each other to stay alive and, ultimately, brings them closer together.
“I certainly believe we all suffer damage, one way or another. How could we not, except in a world of perfect parents, siblings, neighbours, companions? And then there is the question on which so much depends, of how we react to the damage: whether we admit it or repress it, and how this affects our dealings with others. Some admit the damage, and try to mitigate it; some spend their lives trying to help others who are damaged; and there are those whose main concern is to avoid further damage to themselves, at whatever cost. And those are the ones who are ruthless, and the ones to be careful of.”
Based on the 2011 novel by British author Julian Barnes and directed by Ritesh Batra, The Sense Of An Ending follows Tony Webster (Jim Broadbent), now a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about – until one his closest childhood friends commits suicide and leaves his diary in Tony’s possession. Tony thought he’d left all of this behind as he built a life for himself, but now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. Presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he’d understood all along, Tony is now made to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.
“The answer is that it does not matter what you think, the monster said, because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day. You wanted her to go at the same time you were desperate for me to save her. Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”
Directed by J.A. Bayona and based on the book by Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls follows 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall) who is dealing with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness, a less-than-sympathetic grandmother (Sigourney Weaver), his distant father (Toby Kebbell) and his bullying classmates. Amidst his troubles, he finds a most unlikely ally when a Monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) appears at his bedroom window. Ancient, wild, and relentless, the giant yew tree Monster guides Conor on a journey of courage, faith, and truth through a collection of fables.
“There are still more days to travel in this life. And he knows that the man who makes the journey has been shaped by every day and every person along the way. Scars are just another kind of memory. Isabel is part of him, wherever she is, just like the war and the light and the ocean. Soon enough the days will close over their lives, the grass will grow over their graves, until their story is just an unvisited headstone. He watches the ocean surrender to the night, knowing that the light will reappear.”
Based on M.L. Stedman‘s 2012 debut novel and directed by Derek Cianfrance, The Light Between Oceans follows war veteran Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender), who returns home to Western Australia after fighting in the western trenches of World War I in Europe. After meeting and quickly falling in love with the young Isabel (Alicia Vikander), the newly married couple move to an isolated island where Tom maintains the upkeep of a working lighthouse, and Isabel gets used to married life away from her family. But as Tom struggles with his numb emotions from serving in the war, and after the heartache of not being able to start a family of their own, the couple rescue a baby girl who has washed up on an adrift rowboat.
Believing their prayers may have finally been answered, Isabel encourages Tom to informally adopt her as their own but, as a man of principle, Tom is torn between reporting the lost child and pleasing the woman he loves. Against his better judgment, he agrees to let Isabel keep the child, naming her Lucy and informing their families that she is their own. But when Tom and Isabel return to the mainland a few years later, they soon discover that their actions may have had devastating consequences for the lives of others.
“This place was truly the highest and the lowest of all worlds – the most beautiful senses, the most exquisite emotions…the most malevolent desires, the darkest deeds. Perhaps it was meant to be so. Perhaps without the lows, the highs could not be reached.”
Adapted from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer‘s science fiction romance novel of the same name, The Host introduces an unseen alien race known as Souls, which take over Earth and its inhabitants’ bodies. Directed by Andrew Niccol, the film follows 17-year-old Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) who has been taken over by a Soul known as Wanderer. Melanie refuses to just fade away, however. When Wanderer starts hearing Melanie’s voice inside her head and experiencing memories of her brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury) and boyfriend Jared (Max Irons), she sets out to risk everything to find Melanie’s loved ones, as she struggles to put aside the strong human emotions that are refusing to let her cooperate.
“In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of the three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.”
From the amazing Japanese animation film studio, Studio Ghibli, and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Howl’s Moving Castle is based on British author Diana Wynne Jones‘ 1986 fantasy novel, the first in a series of three, that follows a young, unconfident girl called Sophie Hatter (voiced by Emily Mortimer) from the fairytale land of Ingary.
“I’d love to tell you the story of this evening, the night you’re conceived, but the right time to do that would be when you’re ready to have children of your own, and we’ll never get that chance.”
Based on the short story, Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, which is a part of his Stories of Your Life and Others collection, Arrival is directed by Denis Villeneuve and is premised during an alien invasion after multiple mysterious spacecrafts touch down across the globe. Recruited by the military alongside mathematician Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and US Army Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker), linguist Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) must assist in translating communications with an alien race known as Heptapods. As mankind scrambles for answers as to why these aliens are here, Banks tries to distinguish between their two distinct forms of language – the Heptapods’ spoken language, which has a free word order, and their written language, which has a complex structure that a single semantic symbol cannot be excluded without changing the entire meaning of a sentence – a vital study to maintain peace with this mysterious race.
“I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts. Who was it said that following your heart is a good thing? It is pure egotism, a selfishness to conquer all.”
Directed by by Tate Taylor and based on the book by British Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train follows an alcohol divorcee, Rachel (Emily Blunt), who takes the same train to work every single day. As Rachel passes by the same houses, she comes to recognise the people she sees and begins fantasising about the relationships and lives of those that reside there. One of these houses belongs to her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux), who now lives with Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), who he cheated on Rachel with, and their baby daughter. A few doors down, Rachel spends most of her commute fantasising about the seemingly happy lives of Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett). But everything changes when Rachel witnesses something from the train window and Megan is later found to be missing, presumed dead. Becoming entangled in a missing person’s investigation, Rachel’s involvement promises to send shockwaves throughout both her past and future.
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”
Based on Ransom Riggs‘s debut book and directed by Tim Burton, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children follows teenager Jacob (Asa Butterfield), who sets off to a mysterious Welsh island, using clues from his grandpa’s old photographs, to find out who his grandpa really was after his unexplained death. Led to a large, abandoned orphanage, run by the mystical Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), Jacob begins an adventure that spans different worlds and times. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and about their special powers, as well as the powers of their enemies. Chosen to protect the Peculiar Children, Jacob must discover his own power to save his new friends from the nightmarish Hollows and Wights, who are led by the mysterious Mr Barron (Samuel L Jackson).
“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”
Based on Jojo Moyes‘ 2012 best-selling book and directed by Thea Sharrock, Me Before You tells the story of a 26-year-old girl from a small English town, Lou Clarke (Emilia Clarke), who has just lost her job in her local cafe. With only one option left at the job centre, Lou is employed as a carer by the wealthy Traynor family, despite having no skills or experience, to help support her struggling family. Here, Lou is placed in charge of Will (Sam Claflin), a once successful man who enjoyed all aspects of his life, who is now a quadriplegic, paralysed from the neck down after being involved in an accident. As Lou attempts to show Will what life can be like if he opens his mind, Will encourages Lou to live her life to the fullest as an unexpected relationship blossoms.
“The reason the beasts give among themselves is that Man is the weakest and most defenceless of all living things.”
Based on Rudyard Kipling‘s classic collection of stories and a re-imagining of the 1967 Disney animation, directed by Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book tells the story of Mowgli (Neel Sethi), an orphaned human living in the remote jungle of India. Guided by his guardians – Raksha the wolf (Lupita Nyong’o), Baloo the bear (Bill Murray), and Bagheera the black panther (Ben Kingsley) – Mowgli sets out on a journey of self-discovery, meeting monsters of the jungle – including Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and King Louie (Christopher Walken) – while evading the threatening Shere Khan (Idris Elba).
“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life. That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”
Based on the final book in Veronica Roth‘s young adult dystopian Divergent trilogy, The Divergent Series: Allegiant is the third instalment in The Divergent Series of films and is the first in a two-part adaptation of the final book.
Directed by Robert Schwentke and set in the aftermath of Insurgent after the release of a video that revealed the truth about the faction system, announcing that the Divergent are needed outside the borders of the city. Tired of waiting for the self-appointed leaders of a now factionless city to make a decision, Allegiant sees Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) venture outside of the walls that enclose the only world they know, a futuristic Chicago in ruins, for the first time ever. Once outside, old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless with the revelation of shocking new truths. Taken into protective custody by a mysterious agency known as the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, Tris and Four must quickly decide who they can trust, as a ruthless battle ignites. In order to survive, Tris is forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, and sacrifice.
“I felt hollowed out. My mom’s death was not useful. I felt a shot of rage at her, and then imagined those last bloody moments in the house, when she realised it had gone wrong, when Debby lay dying, and it was all over, her unsterling life. My anger gave way to a strange tenderness, what a mother might feel for her child, and I thought, at least she tried. She tried, on that final day, as hard as anyone could have tried. And I would try to find peace in that.”
The second adaptation of a Gillian Flynn novel to make it onto the big screen, the first being the hugely successful Gone Girl which was directed by David Fincher and released last year, Dark Places is a crime mystery based on Flynn’s second novel of the same name, which was originally published in 2009. Dark Places follows Libby Day (Charlize Theron) who, at the age of eight, witnessed the brutal murder of her family in their rural Kansas farmhouse, for which her brother was convicted for at the time. 30 years later, running out of money and with doubts beginning to creep up, Libby agrees to revisit the crime in an attempt to uncover the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.
“We told the stories of our lives before the Arrival. We cried openly over the ones we lost. We wept secretly for our smartphones, our cars, our microwave ovens, and the Internet.”
Based on Rick Yancey‘s 2013 young adult dystopia of the same name and directed by J. Blakeson, The 5th Wave centres on 16-year-old Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz), and is premised during an alien invasion after an unknown species have executed four waves of increasingly deadly attacks, leaving most of Earth decimated. The first wave saw an EMP wave take out all electronics and technology, the second saw massive tsunamis around the world take out every coastline, the third saw an infection kill off most of the remaining survivors, and the fourth saw “the people in charge” turn their guns onto those left. But there’s still another wave to come, and it’s bound to be lethal. On the run, Cassie teams up with a young man who may be her final hope – if she can trust him – in a desperate attempt to save her younger brother.
“In the world I notice persons are nearly always stressed and have no time… In Room, me and Ma had time for everything. I guess the time gets spread very thin like butter over all the world, the roads and houses and playgrounds and stores, so there’s only a little smear of time on each place, then everyone has to hurry on to the next bit.”
Based on Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel, and directed by Lenny Abrahamson, Room is told from the perspective of five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay), who has been brought up by his mother (Brie Larson) in a single room, having been held captive for Jack’s whole life. Ma has created a whole universe in ‘Room’ for Jack, who knows nothing of the outside world, but when Ma decides it’s time to escape, she risks everything to give Jack the chance to make a thrilling discovery: the outside world. Room is a story about the unparalleled bond between parent and child, and how light can be found in the worst of situations when seen through a child’s eyes.
“I had all the characteristics of a human being—flesh, blood, skin, hair—but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning.”
Directed by Mary Harron and based on Bret Easton Ellis‘ 1991 book of the same name, American Psycho follows 26-year-old Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a young, handsome and wealthy investment banking executive from New York, who has a beautiful fiancée, Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon), a secretary who’s in love with him, Jean (Chloë Sevigny), and everything a man of his age could only dream of. Yet Bateman remains indistinguishable from his Wall Street colleague – Timothy Bryce (Justin Theroux), Craig McDermott (Josh Lucas), David Van Patten (Bill Sage), Luis Carruthers (Matt Ross), and Paul Allen (Jared Leto). That is, apart from one thing: Bateman is a psychotic serial killer, delving deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies as his everyday routine becomes more and more mundane. Fueled by materialism and envy, Bateman’s murderous impulses are sharpened as he steps up his homicidal activities to a frenzied pitch. But how much can he get away with?