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Movies That Make You Think

Today’s Booking Through Thursday question, which I answered HERE, asked, “Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?” I quickly answered that, basically, books require you to think (using your imagination and so forth), while movies do not require the audience to be interactive.

Lesley didn’t agree, and at first I didn’t agree with HER (aren’t I always right??), but on thinking about it, I have to say she’s right. I don’t think I agree with her 100%, but I think she has a good point, and it got me thinking about movies that have really stretched my brain.


This movie is done like a play. There’s a few props, but the ‘houses’ are only chalk marks on the stage. When someone closes a door, they can’t actually close a door because there is no door to close, but you hear the sound effect. My ex-boyfriend rented this movie, and I wanted no part of it. But he sat down to watch it and lo and behold, I got sucked in! For THREE HOURS. Yeah, this is a long one. Here’s Amazon’s synopsis:

Dogville uses ingenious theatricality to tell the Depression-era story of Grace (Nicole Kidman, The Others), a beautiful fugitive who stumbles onto a tiny town in the Rocky Mountains. Spurred on by Tom (Paul Bettany, Master and Commander), who fancies himself the town’s moral guide, the citizens of Dogville first resist Grace, then embrace her, then resent and torment her–little realizing they will pay a price for their selfish brutality. The town is indicated by fragments of building and chalk outlines on a soundstage floor, stylishly pointing to the movie’s roots in classic plays (particularly Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Friedrich Durrenmatt’s The Visit). Several critics have stridently attacked Dogville as anti-American, but the movie’s dark, compelling view applies as easily to Rwanda, Bosnia, the Middle East, or pretty much anywhere in the world. Also featuring Lauren Bacall, Patricia Clarkson, Jeremy Davies, Stellan Skarsgârd, Chloe Sevigny, and many more. –Bret Fetzer

I couldn’t stop thinking about this movie for WEEKS. I can’t believe it has less than 5 stars on Amazon. It’s easily one of my favorite movies of all time.

Frankly, I haven’t seen many movies in a long time, but when my ex-boyfriend and I were dating, there were some indy films that just had my head reeling as the credits rolled. Not from shock or horror but because my mind couldn’t think fast enough on what I’d just seen.

So…my question to you is: What movies have you seen that made you think? That you thought required some sort of brain power?

I’m attributing my inability to come up with more than one movie to wedding brain (which is kinda like baby brain…but not).

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5 Responses to “Movies That Make You Think”

  1. Stephanie

    Brokeback Mountain, In the Bedroom and Mystic River were all thought-provoking movies.


  2. The Biblio Brat

    Mulholland Drive. I still haven’t figured it all out. Have many theories.

    I am not a movie person, and not even a huge David Lynch fan, but this film is so…jeez, for the lack of a better term – “deep”.

    You absolutely HAVE to concentrate when watching. Every moment seems important. I have rarely watched a file which truly forces me to think, dissect, interpret – simply stunning.

    Great question! I think I’m going to pop the DVD into the laptop and give it another go today.


  3. Kim L

    Children of Men. I watched it, and afterwards I could not get that movie out of my head! I still think about it, trying to untangle the different themes of the movie.


  4. Elizabeth

    Dogville is on my list also. I told a couple of friends about it – you have to watch this movie!! – now they won’t ever take movie advice from me again. I think you either “get” that movie or you don’t. Did you watch the sequel? Also interesting.


  5. Nymeth

    I feel the exact same way as you about Dogville, Trish!

    Also on my list: Memento, The Secret Life of Words, and I know there are more even though I can’t think of any right now.


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