• Clockwise from top left: Wings Of Desire, Boy, The Straight Story, Carol (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
A collection of films about personal transformations, reinvention and reconciliation for the resolution-making season, all streaming at SBS On Demand.
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SBS Movies

8 Jan 2020 - 4:13 PM  UPDATED 8 Jan 2020 - 4:13 PM

Wings of Desire

PG
Germany, 1987
Genre: Drama, Romance, Fantasy
Language: German
Director: Wim Wenders
Starring: Bruno Ganz, Peter Falk, Solveig Dommartin
What's it about?
Daniel (Ganz), a lonely, trenchcoated angel, watches over Berlin, silently comforting its citizens in their hour of need. But when he is captivated by a beautiful French trapeze artist (Dommartin), Damiel decides to trade his gentle, angelic life for the torturous emotions of the secular world. With his divine position in jeopardy, he must choose to either give up love, or lose his eternal wings forever. A classic film from renowned German director Wim Wenders (Paris, TexasThe Buena Vista Social Club).

Wings of Desire review: A joy from start to finish

I Know Where I'm Going!

G
UK, 1945
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: English
Director: Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell
Starring: Roger Livesey, Wendy Hiller
What's it about?
Joan Webster (Hiller) is a headstrong young woman who knows exactly where she's going. Her dreams of an easy life come to fruition when she becomes engaged to the wealthy Sir Robert Bellinger (Norman Shelley), who is many years her senior and the head of the company for which she works. But Joan's dream future comes to a screaming halt when bad weather prevents her progression to her new home on the remote island of Kiloran. Stranded on a neighbouring isle, she meets a debonair young army naval officer, Torquil (Livesey), and suddenly her plans seem much less definite...

I Know Where I'm Going! Review

A Long Way Down

M
UK, Germany, 2014
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Language: English
Director: Pascal Chaumeil
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots
What's it about?
Four strangers meet unintentionally on the roof of a London high-rise, each with the intent of committing suicide. They agree to call off their plans for six weeks, forming an unconventional, dysfunctional family, becoming media sensations as the Topper House Four and searching together for the reasons to keep on living.

Mug

MA15+
Poland, 2018
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Language: Polish
Director: Małgorzata Szumowska
Starring: Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, Agnieszka Podsiadlik, Malgorzata Gorol
What's it about?
Jacek (Kosciukiewicz) loves heavy metal, his girlfriend and his dog. His family, his small hometown, his fellow parishioners all see him as an amusing freak. He works at the construction site of what it is supposed to become the tallest statue of Jesus in the world. When a severe accident disfigures him completely, all eyes turn to him as he undergoes the first facial transplant in the country. Winner of the Silver Bear (2nd place) at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival.

Diving

M
France, 2017
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Mélanie Laurent
Starring: Gilles Lellouche, María Valverde, Marie Denarnaud, Ibrahim Ahmed
What's it about?
This is the story of a total love between Caesar (Lellouche) and Paz (Valverde). Paz, a Spanish photographer, has a thirst for encounters, experiences and travels, while Caesar, a former war reporter, wishes to retreat from the tumult of the world. Paz is pregnant, this prospect suffocates her. She seems to be getting farther away from Caesar every day, as if obsessed by something that escapes her. Until the day she disappears, leaving her child and Caesar without any real explanation.

Results

M
USA, 2015
Genre: Comedy
Language: English
Director: Andrew Bujalski
Starring: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan, Giovanni Ribisi, Brooklyn Decker
What's it about?
Recently divorced, newly rich, and utterly miserable, Danny (Corrigan) is proof that money can't buy happiness. Danny's well-funded misery is interrupted by a momentous trip to the local gym, where he meets self-styled guru and owner Trevor (Pearce) and irresistibly acerbic trainer Kat (Smulders). Soon, their three lives are inextricably knotted, both professionally and personally.

'Results': Delightfully Eccentric, Fitness-Focused Romcom

Cobie Smulders and Guy Pearce in 2015's 'Results'

The Straight Story

G
USA, 1999
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: David Lynch
Starring: Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Harry Dean Stanton
What's it about?
A retired farmer and widower in his 70s, Alvin Straight (Farnsworth, in an Oscar-nominated performance) learns one day that his distant brother Lyle (Stanton) has suffered a stroke and may not recover. Alvin is determined to make things right with Lyle while he still can, but his brother lives in Wisconsin, while Alvin is stuck in Iowa with no car and no driver's license. Then he hits on the idea of making the trip on his old lawnmower, thus beginning a picturesque and at times deeply spiritual odyssey.

Interview with David Lynch, director of The Straight Story (The Movie Show, Episode 08, 2000)
Margaret and David review The Straight Story (The Movie Show, Episode 08, 2000)

Wadjda

M
Saudi Arabia, 2012
Genre: Drama
Language: Arabic
Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Starring: Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Reem Abdullah
What's it about?
A rebellious Saudi girl (Mohammed) enters a Koran recitation competition at her school and hopes to win enough money to buy her own bicycle. The story is tailored to highlight the pressures and difficulties faced by women in Saudi Arabia, with a rare glimpse into the lives of women behind closed doors and the warm relationships between mothers and daughters. Nominated for a 2013 BAFTA award for Best Film Not In The English Language.

Wadjda: Haifaa Al-Mansour interview
Wadjda review: A film about female triumph

Hector and the Search for Happiness

M
UK, 2014
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Comedy
Language: German, English, French
Director: Peter Chelsom
Starring: Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgård, Christopher Plummer, Jean Reno
What's it about?
Hector (Pegg) is an eccentric psychiatrist who has become increasingly tired of his humdrum life. As he tells his girlfriend, Clara (Pike), he feels like a fraud: he hasn’t really tasted life, and yet he’s offering advice to patients who are just not getting any happier. So Hector decides to break out of his deluded and routine driven life. Armed with buckets of courage and child-like curiosity, he embarks on a global quest in hopes of uncovering the elusive secret formula for true happiness.

My Brilliant Career

G
Australia, 1979
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: English
Director: Gillian Armstrong
Starring: Judy Davis, Wendy Hughes, Sam Neill
What's it about?
Sybylla (Davis), a headstrong girl growing up in early 20th century Australia, has the opportunity of marriage to a wealthy young man whom she loves, but rejects it in order to maintain her independence, preferring to take a job as governess/housekeeper to the family of an illiterate neighbor to whom her father owes money. The debut feature from director Gilliam Armstrong (StarstruckThe Last Days of Chez Nous, High Tide, Little Women).

Director of My Brilliant Career, Little Woman, Oscar and Lucinda and Charlotte Grey talks to Marc Fennell.

Carol

M
USA, UK, 2015
Genre: Drama, Romance, LGBTIQ+
Language: English
Director: Todd Haynes
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler
What's it about?
Based on Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel 'The Price of Salt', the 1950s-set romantic drama from acclaimed director Todd Haynes (Far From HeavenI'm Not There) follows Carol (Blanchett), a Manhattan socialite trapped in a loveless marriage of convenience with Harge (Chandler), whose life is forever changed when she meets a department store clerk (Mara). Nominated for five Academy awards, including Best Actress (Blanchett), Supporting Actress (Mara), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Score and Costume Design.

Carol review: A magnificent, mesmerising account of mid-century desire

Tony Takitani

PG
Japan, 2004 
Genre: Drama
Language: Japanese
Director: Jun Ichikawa
Starring: Issei Ogata, Rie Miyazawa, Shinohara Takahumi
What's it about?
Tony Takitani (Ogata) had a solitary childhood. At school he studied art, but while his sketches are accurate and detailed, they lack feeling. Used to being self-sufficient, Tony finds himself becoming more irrational and instinctive. After finding his true vocation as a technical illustrator, he becomes fascinated by Eiko (Miyazawa), a client who in turn is fascinated by high end fashion. Based on the novel by Haruki Murakami.

Rust and Bone

MA15+
France, 2012
Genre: Drama, romance
Language: French
Director: Jacques Audiard
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts
What's it about?

Audiard’s Palme d'Or-nominated triumph depicts two lost souls inexorably drawn together after a horrendous accident at a sea park that leaves Cottilard’s Stéphanie disabled, with single dad Ali (Schoenaerts) taking on a rehabilitative role in more ways than one. An incendiary screen pairing, this heart-swollen film is brutal and beautiful in equal measure, a testament to life rebuilt stronger.

Boy

M
New Zealand, 2010
Genre: Comedy, drama
Language: English
Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: James Rolleston, Taika Waititi
What's it about?

Sometimes when our heroes let us down, we have to step up to the plate and become our own hero. That’s the case with the luminescent Rolleston’s screen debut as 11-year-old Boy, a young lad who worships his recently released from prison, deadbeat dad (Waititi) until he doesn’t. The Thor: Ragnarok director’s sophomore feature is a hilarious and heartfelt comic drama about resilience. 

Sink or Swim

M
Belgium, France, 2018
Genre: Comedy
Language: French
Director: Gilles Lellouche
Starring: Mathieu Amalric, Guillaume Canet, Marina Fois, Benoit Poelvoorde
What's it about?
40-year-old Bertrand (Amalric) has been suffering from depression for the last two years and is barely able to keep his head above water. Despite the medication he gulps down all day, every day, and his wife's encouragement, he is unable to find any meaning in his life. Curiously, he will end up finding this sense of purpose at the swimming pool, by joining an all-male synchronised swimming team.

French star Gilles Lellouche makes a directorial splash with 'Sink or Swim'