Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014 Most Memorable Movie Scenes

Instead of a top ten list I'm writing about my most memorable scenes. Some of the films I love,some I only liked elements of but the scenes stayed with me.

What makes a movie scene memorable? A recognized reflection; an image that moves you; a witty and smart line of dialogue. Sometimes you get all in one scene. Sometimes a scene encapsulates the movie or it can stand out separately and still be memorable.Sometimes it can be a performance or a piece of music that sticks in the mind. Here are few of my most memorable scenes from 2014 movies in no particular order.

Beware spoilers aplenty ahead.

Two Days One Night

Setup: A woman, deeply depressed, is at the end of her rope. Against all her instincts she found a way to fight for her job and here at last she's been given the good news. Except the price is to betray the solidarity of the community that has been behind her recent strength. She refuses and walks away.

Why: What a whopper of an ending from the Dardenne brothers. At once optimistic, sad, believing in the strength and innate goodness of people while accepting the utter awfulness of the economic reality of our cruel world. And Marion Cotillard walks out defiantly with new strength. For the last hour and half we watched her defeated, resigned with her shoulders hunched, now finally she found the fire within and is walking tall.What a performance.


Setup : Dave Schultz is the real coach of the Foxcatcher wrestling team. Yet he's being asked to pretend that the man who pays his salary is his mentor and coach. The cameras are on. He tries to say the words. He fails. He can't lie.

Why : Foxcatcher is a movie about details while being economical in its storytelling. The actors, the set design, the costumes, the frame give you a lot of details while the screenplay and direction are austere, minimal and not fussy. In this scene it's all about Ruffalo, he makes us understand who Dave is, why everybody respects him, why he made the choices he made and later on at the end why his fate was inevitable.

Gone Girl

Setup: Amazing Amy wants to get back to her husband, Nick Dunne. In her way is her current beau, Desi, who's been crowding her lately. An elaborate scheme ensues. Seduction, sex, slit throat.

Why: I read the book so I knew what was coming. Yet it still got me big time. The soundtrack, the steely gaze on Rosamund Pike's face just before she reaches out for that razor. Then the blood, copious amounts of blood. The most thrilling scene of the year and once again in this movie completely turns the plot upside down.


Setup : Two old friends are preparing sandwiches for their fellow protesters. The man comes out to his friend. The woman acknowledges with love and understanding while getting on with the job at hand.

Why : I feel I've seen a version of this scene before. There's nothing new. But the easy rapport and deep love that Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton bring to their characters is what makes it unique.

Mr Turner

Setup: The housekeeper goes in search of her missing master. Even though he's been abusing and ignoring her, she misses his company. She finds him keeping house with another woman. She leaves without announcing herself.

Why: What a heartbreaker! Dorothy Atkinson's quiet acknowledgement and sad acceptance of her loneliness got to me. It's a crescendo of a performance that she builds by being a silent observer, mostly in the background of scenes. Until she hits this final big sad moment.

Into the Woods

Setup : The Baker's wife is seduced the Prince. They kiss. She sings of her joy, confusion and guilt.

Why : All those emotions mentioned above appear simultaneously on Emily Blunt's beautiful expressive face. And those fantastic Sondheim words :
One peculiar moment
Must it all be either less or more
Either plain or grand
Is it always "or"
Is it never "and"

Under the Skin is my favorite 2014 movie however there is no one scene that is memorable. That whole movie still haunts me.

What are some of your most memorable scenes? Do you agree with mine? Tell all in the comments.

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