Thea Sharrock, who began her career in theater, directed the Me Before You and the new Disney+ movie The One and Only Ivan. Read about her transition from stage to screen here.
Watching a lot of movies with my family has been a silver lining of lockdown. The choices have been pretty wide-ranging, but the tendency has been to turn to the classics. There is a lot of Coppola on my list, and not enough female directors, but I don’t mind that—women are definitely changing how history will look soon enough. And every movie list should include Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford. Now mine does too. Phew.
Thelma and Louise
My favorite Ridley Scott movie. Hard to believe it’s nearly 30 years old. Exceptional screenplay by Callie Khouri. Remarkable ensemble cast led by two of the most inspirational performances ever: from Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. The music is outstanding, the cinematography breathtakingly simple and accessible—clinched by that final shot. All of this and welcome, Brad Pitt, please come in.
The Godfather (and The Godfather II)
(They both won the Oscar for Best Picture so I’m hoping I can sneak them in together as a 2-for-1.) Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Talia Shire, Diane Keaton, James Caan all at the top of their game. The young Pacino in particular is a breath of fresh air, although Robert Duvall as Tom is probably my favorite. Narratively so powerful, this is filmmaking at its very best. The complexities of human nature and the tensions of family and how society works are brutally beautiful. Inescapably brilliant.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Probably the best family movie ever made, and one that I carried with me during the making of The One and Only Ivan. A profoundly moving story of friendship and loyalty and courage.
Lost in Translation
Unexpected love story of two fish out of water who allow each other to find themselves again. Like all great movies, the whole thing slowly builds to the final moment that leaves the viewer to make up their own mind: What does he whisper to her?
The Deer Hunter
Timely, and uncompromisingly brave. A simply brilliant window into a generation that in many ways lost its voice. This movie gave it back. Exceptional performances all around. The Russian roulette scene is magnificent. And the fact that John Cazale was dying of cancer, so director Michael Cimino shot all of his scenes first and protected him in every way he could, is somehow symbolic of the love, dedication, and strength at the heart of this movie.