5 (More) Great Movies I Never Want to Watch Again
Just because I don’t want to doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch them!
Two weeks ago, I published a list of five incredible movies I never wanted to watch again. The response has been incredible, starting great discussions in the comments and providing me with a long list of movies I have not seen yet and already know I will only watch once!
Here is the article I’m talking about:
5 Brilliant Movies I Never Want to Watch Again
And why you should watch them at least once.
Some of the comments also highlighted movies that should have been on my list, but that evaded my memory as I was writing it.
Here is a follow-up set of five movies that will tear your soul apart, never to let it heal again. These are all amazing movies in their respective genre. Two of these movies I would actually put in my TOP 20.
So without further ado, let’s start!
1. United 93 (2006)
This 2006 film directed by Paul Greengrass documents United Airlines flight 93, the fourth hijacked plane in the 9/11 terror attacks. The movie lasts 110 gruelling minutes, just like the doomed flight it portrays. The fact that we know the end of the story makes it all the more harrowing. We see people going about their everyday life when they are suddenly rushed without their consent in one of the most tragic days in history. The passengers try to revolt; they fight for their lives at 30,000 feet.
I think I had forgotten this movie when writing my first article because my mind tried to shut it off. It brought back so many dark memories: the recorded voice messages, the “thuds” of falling bodies, the thousand-yard stares of the first respondents. It is a tough watch.
2. Life is Beautiful (1997)
Roberto Begnini is a comedic genius. You can watch any Jarmusch movie to convince you of that if you have any doubts. You can also watch his interview with Letterman that will, at the same time, give you a crash course in cultural differences between Italy and America.
His talents don’t stop at comedy, though. In this absolutely amazing picture, Begnini delivers one of the most touching stories ever told in the context of WWII. We follow the lovely life of a Jewish man, his wife and their son in Northern Italy as the war breaks. The father and his son end up together in a concentration camp. There, the father does all he can to hide the seriousness of their situation, turning the entire ordeal, to the bitter end, into a joke to make his son laugh, to keep him hopeful.
Begnini shows us the power of humour in the face of pure evil—the power of hope in the face of doom. The love of a father trumps even the worst events in human history. It is brilliant. It is funny. It will make you cry like you never have in front of a movie.
3. Silence (2016)
Few directors have explored the topic of faith as Martin Scorsese has. His entire filmography can be defined as an “obsession with the sacred and profane,” as Vox puts it. Most of his movies address the subject from the profane side of things. A few tackle the sacred head-on. Silence is of the latter category.
Two young Portuguese priests, played amazingly well by Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield, travel to isolationist Japan to find a third cleric, their mentor, who, according to the reports they have heard, has apostatised. They are smuggled in a country where Christians are the victims of relentless persecution whose cruelty would put to shame Torquemada himself.
It is not an action movie, although some scenes will have your heart racing. It is a contemplative movie that asks fundamental questions about faith, religion, who we are, what we seek, and how what we believe defines us. The movie is oftentimes violent and cruel, but never gratuitously. The horror always asks another question: how far can one man go for his faith?
I was left full of questions. My mind raced for weeks after seeing this movie. I will admit I’m cheating you a bit here since I watched it twice as I felt a second viewing was necessary to appreciate all the details. But twice is definitely enough.
4. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Contrary to Silence, The Passion of the Christ does not explore faith in a contemplative manner. It doesn’t go easy on the violence and the gore, either. It shows without mercy the last days of Jesus’ life and the horrors to which he was subjected. Mel Gibson takes us through the fourteen Stations of the Cross and spares us no detail.
I hesitated to put this movie on the list, knowing many of you will say that it is not brilliant; many might argue it is nothing but exploitation. Well, I respectfully disagree. I share Roger Ebert’s experience and opinion. I was brought up by a grandfather who took me regularly to walk the fourteen Stations in the mountains above his village. Woven through forest and rock, a path dotted with actual wooden crosses would lead us to a chapel, and on the way, he would tell me the story of how Jesus died for Humanity’s sins. Watching The Passion, as Ebert wrote it, “provided for me, for the first time in my life, is a visceral idea of what the Passion consisted of.”
I would never watch it again, though. I saw it in the theatre when it came out. Besides the religious and emotional experience it provided me, the most striking memory I have of the movie is a sound: that of broken bones under a mallet.
5. Marriage Story (2019)
The last one on the list isn’t a two-hour-long torture scene, but it hurts just the same. Maybe it does because it reminded me so much of my own life, my own experience as the child of divorced parents in a dysfunctional family. You don’t need to have lived through it to feel the profound pain and sadness emanating from this movie, but it will only hurt more if you have.
Marriage Story follows a couple who was once in love but who has slowly drifted apart. They come to a point where divorce is the only option and swear to go about it in a civil and friendly manner. Then, things get ugly. What you had promised yourself never to do is suddenly the only viable option left on the table.
The movie explores how people who loved each other more than anything can start hating each other more than anything else. It dives into the pettiness, the arrogance, the casual violence of domestic disputes. It is bound to remind you of moments in your life, in your parents' lives. Things you’ve witnessed as a child and didn’t understand. Things you might have told a partner once and regretted.
It broke my heart, and as much as I adore the actors and can never see them enough (they are all brilliantissime, as we say in French when brilliant is not enough), I will never watch this movie again. Never.