We’ve always told stories, since the beginning of humanity, about who we are, who we were and who we want to be, and when that can reach into your home or to a movie screen, you get exposed to and learn about different people in all sorts of places in the world. That’s so important for kids and for people who aren’t exposed to a lot of things. I’m an only child, raised by a single mom who worked a lot, so I was very much raised by TV and movies in a lot of senses.
Movies changed my life in every single way. The fact that I get to do this for a living is so incredible to me because I know how impactful it can be. I know that not only can they keep you company, but they can illuminate you, they can inspire you, and they can make you learn things about yourself and about the world and about other people. It’s always been a vital part of our society as humans to tell stories, but the way that movies do that with beautiful visuals and sound and everything that goes into making a piece of art … That is truly magical.
Actor and director Natalie Morales made her first two features during lockdown in 2020. Somehow, she still had time to watch a few movies on her own; she shares those picks below. Learn more about the making of Natalie’s second film, Language Lessons, here.
This one’s obvious. I watched this before we shot Language Lessons because I wanted to get a sense of what it would be like to act one-on-one with Mark Duplass. It ended up being one of my favorite movies and one of the more beautiful and interesting stories I’ve seen.
Although I love the genre and the emotions it’s capable of producing in people, I’m not generally a fan of horror because I am a real scaredy-cat. I become too invested and too scared. I do love a psychological thriller, and the idea of a horror movie set in broad daylight was something that felt accessible to me. Florence Pugh is just incredible.
These are three movies, I know—but I watched the whole trilogy. I had seen Before Sunrise, but not the others. I think these are the kind of movies that have a different effect on you depending on where you are in your life, and I feel maybe that’s their intent. Language Lessons is perhaps the 2021 platonic version of this? (One can hope.)
It’s my favorite Buster Keaton movie (although it is hard for me to choose) and I like to watch it before I direct anything that makes me nervous. It reminds me of all the things I love about getting to make movies.
Rewatching this movie is almost a better experience than watching it for the first time. You get to see the mastery and thought behind every shot, not to mention the incredible acting. It’s just superb (and funny!!).