After some consideration, I've chosen 12 films to be on my "Best of 2007" list. I've tried to select a diverse variety from the films that Reel Inspiration promoted this past year or films that I didn't get a chance to see while they were in the first run theaters but later ended up on my recommended movies list. All of these films fill Reel Inspiration's criteria of having entertaining, powerful stories that uplift, challenge, give hope or inspire human consciousness. We tend to review more independent films that can benefit from our grassroots promotions. We also promote studio films that aren't high concept blockbusters. Most of all, we promote outstanding films.
This was a great year for outstanding films. All of the films on my list have one thing in common -- something important to say.
If you read my review of The Great Debaters, (below) it will come as no surprise to you that I chose it for the most inspiring, empowering film of the year. The message of this film is that it is our responsibility to speak up against injustice, even unjust laws. In fact, the main character risks his life fighting injustice. Amazing Grace * has this same important theme only presented on a more epic scale. I've chosen The Great Debaters as my number one film because it genuinely moved me. I get teary eyed just watching the trailer. Away from Her is so beautifully written, directed and acted. This truly original movie is about life long love and commitment. The suspense film, The Lives of Others, surprised me with its message that you can find life altering beauty even in the darkest, most suppressed environments. Get past the "clever" dialog and Juno is a very touching, human story with some weighty issues. The Darjeeling Limited is the off the beaten track to spirituality. In Once, a shared passion results in an unexpected kindness. The Namesake is about balancing cultural heritage with discovering yourself. Vitus is an empowering film for every kid that struggles with "less intelligent" adults running their lives. I chose, I'm Not There, for it's director's unique, intelligent vision about the burden and responsibility of fame. Lars and the Real Girl is a heartwarming story about unconditional love for a rubber girl and the man who loves her. Finally, I've included Noelle with it's themes of forgiveness and church community. The quirky characters really grew on me. I want to watch it again for it's powerful ending.
(The Diving Bell and the Butterfly hadn't opened in Tucson when I made my list. But it blew me away how accurately the visual point of view of the paralyzed man was captured.)