There’s something about a rainy day that makes you want to curl up under the covers, put on a movie, and get lost in introspection and artistic entertainment. Perhaps you get a batch of popcorn going, or order Chinese takeout, or both. Maybe you invite a friend or choose to dive into a solo cinematic experience. Whatever your rainy day style is, I’ve got a list of films to satisfy your craving for rainy day reflection. As an avid film lover, I present to you a list of my top five movies for a rainy day.
A moody coming-of-age dramedy with a dark sense of humor and a quirky charm, this little gem is the perfect pairing for a rainy day. The film follows fifteen-year-old Oliver (Craig Roberts) as he navigates his way through his first romance as well as his parents’ failing marriage. Its gorgeous shots are beautifully composed with a blue-permeated color palette, oceanic symbolism, and the occasional hint of surrealist imagery. The lovely cinematography is accompanied by a gentle soundtrack, written and crooned by none other than Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys. Ultimately, what makes this movie so great viewing after viewing is the script. Oliver narrates from time to time throughout the film, and his self-aware, vulnerable thoughts are the crux of this film’s appeal. It’s a contemplative piece of cinema good for gloomy days.
Adult World (2013)
Star-studded with leading actors Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, and John Cusack, Adult World is an unusual dramedy that I dug up on Netflix a few years ago. Roberts plays Amy, who’s eagerly pursuing a career in poetry after graduating from college, only to end up working at a sex shop after draining all her money on submission fees. Amy befriends the young shop manager, Alex ( Peters), who just so happens to be handsome and fun. Amy also meets a trans woman named Rubia (Armando Riesco) and convinces her favorite poet, Rat Billings (Cusack), to let her work for him while she finds her way in the adult world. The film is at once an earnest and sympathetic portrayal of a young woman’s pained disillusionment with her lack of poetic success after college as well as satirical and snarky about the wide-eyed nature of the somewhat entitled youth who except to be one of the few who make it in the arts. By the end of the film, however, Amy and Alex embrace their romantic connection, and Amy seems to find contentment in the possibilities of a life different from the one she envisioned for herself. Another introspective film that’s well-suited for rainy days.
Lost in Translation (2003)
Lost in Translation is another comedy-drama, this time with a romantic tint, written and directed by Sofia Coppola. Bill Murray plays an older actor named Bob Harris and Scarlett Johansson plays a college graduate named Charlotte. Their friendship unfolds in a Tokyo hotel where they are both staying. Charlotte’s photographer boyfriend has brought her along while he works in the city. Bob is in town to film an advertisement with a whisky brand. Brought together by their mutual loneliness, strained relationships, existential ennui, and inability to sleep, the two end up exploring the Tokyo nightlife together one evening with some of Bob’s Japanese friends. By the end of the film, their relationship has accrued a more ambiguous feeling, resulting in a poignant comment on the human inevitability of aging, breaking down, and finding a way to carry on throughout life. This film, like the others in this list, is a subtle rumination on the human existence, this one through Coppola’s unmistakable aesthetic lens.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
This classic drama is classic for a reason. With Robin Williams as a passionate poetry professor at a fictional Vermont college, and Ethan Hawke as our undergraduate protagonist, this film keeps audiences enraptured with exceptional performances and inspiring philosophical musings as portrayed through the students’ life-changing experience with poetry. Williams’s character, John Keating, changes the lives of his students through his unique approach to teaching and to life. The class reignites an unofficial college club, the Dead Poets Society, in which they sneak into the forest at night to read from the deceased writers who spearheaded poetry. This is an emotional movie that will brighten a drizzly day of inclement weather while offering the food for thought that suits a gloomy day.
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
One of the darker dramas on this list, Girl, Interrupted is based on Susanna Keysen’s memoir. It takes place in the 60s, a decade so ripe with cultural shifts, and has a star-studded cast. Winona Ryder is Susanna, an eighteen-year-old who ends up in a psychiatric hospital. Angelina is the magnetic Lisa, a psychopath and longtime resident of the hospital. Brittany Murphy, Jared Leto, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeffrey Tambor, Misha Collins, and Clea DuVall also contribute riveting performances. Immerse yourself in the intriguing world of the mind and of human consciousness with this slightly spooky tale of the complicated nature of female friendship as well as the difficulty of overcoming psychological suffering. Vividly entertaining with a dark subject and a color palette to match, this movie is another apt choice for those gray rainy days.