5. The Great Gatsby – Jay Gatsby
Portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio
Crazy enough about the novel, I had a very high expection on the movie. And it did not let me down. Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan was a great choice of cast.
I remember when I read the novel for the first time and could hardly comprehend the whole scene where Gatsby was shot. It happened too fast, and only when Nick Carraway confirmed that Gatsby is dead did I realize what was going on (reading a literature book in English remains a little hard for me!). I felt empty for a while. “How could that happen?” Scott Fitzerald was a cruel genius. He created Gatsby and then killed him off, giving him all the money in the world but not the only girl he wanted. Gatsby tried to hold on to a dream that was already behind him. Don’t we all have some kind of that? We try something that we deeply know it’s just too late.
6. I Am Sam – Sam
Portrayed by Sean Penn
I’ve watched the movie no less than 10 times. I really wonder why they don’t make movies with disabled main characters like this anymore (probably because talents like Sean Penn or Tom Hanks are quite rare).
For you who don’t know about I Am Sam (which is weird, seriously), this is a movie about a father who is prescribed with Down syndrome and Autism. He knocked up a homeless girl (without knowing), and the mother left him with the baby girl right after she gave birth. Sam brought the girl home, named her Lucy after Beatles’ song Lucy Diamond in the sky and took great care of her. The problem is (foreseeably) Lucy grew up with a normal brain, and now at the age of 7, she’s already smarter than her father. The court wants to take her for adoption for fear of Sam’s incapability to father a child. It’s a hard math problem, as Lucy needs her father’s love, but she may need more than that to grow out her potentials.
Sean Penn and Dakota Fanning gave heartbreaking performances. Especially Dakota, this acting of hers is by far the best one ever given by a child actress. Well, about Sean Penn, there’s just no more to talk about this amazing actor. Despite the fact that he’s a violent man in real life, everyone can hardly deny his talent. His eyes alone can win an Oscar.
7. Catch Me If You Can – Frank Abagnale, Jr.
Portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio
Frank Abagnale Jr. was once a happy kid. Then out of the blue, his father went bankrupt, his mother got married to another man, then his whole life turned upside down. Frank, devastated by his mother’s affair with a man much richer than his father, dropped out of school and seeked opportunities to make money to win back mother for his father. However, as a drop-out kid, Frank could earn a lot of money only by commiting frauds. And he turned out to be a genius in this.
Despite playing a financial criminal, Leonardo DiCaprio succeeded in portraying the vulnerable side of Frank Abagnale Jr. He’s just a lost kid who has found his world fall apart, so he tries so hard to pick up the pieces. He’s everyone’s favourite criminal: he’s smart, he’s sweet, he’s handsome, he’s good with women, and he’s a grown-up kid waiting for someone stretching out their arms to save him.
What touches me most in the movie is when Frank escaped from the police (for the countless time!) and ran towards his mother’s new home. He looked from outside the window, and he saw his mother smiling happily in her new clean house, with a new shiny family, and of course without him. That’s the moment he found out the happy family he used to have is now completely just a memory. Then he broke, eventually. I did not expect to cry watching this movie, ever. But I did.
Seriously, why the hell hasn’t Leo won an Oscar?
8. Chaplin – Charlie Chaplin
Portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.
Who is the funniest man in the world? Who is the king of humor? Who is the man that made himself an unbeatable legend in the film industry?
He showed up, and everyone laughed. But that doesn’t mean he laughed when no one was around. As someone says, the one that always make people smile is the one that suffers the most.
Chaplin is the biography of Charlie Chaplin, introducing one of the finest performances I’ve ever seen: Robert Downey Jr. perfectly portrays Charlie Chaplin, from a young 20 year-old man to an old man. Robert Downey Jr. was only 22 years old at the time he was nominated an Oscar for this role, but he lost it to Al Palcino in Scent of a Woman. Well, I haven’t seen Scent of a Woman yet (which I’m sure is spectacular), but I doubt anyone would top Robert’s portrayal of Charlie Chaplin in this movie. He’s a genius playing a genius.
9. Cloud Atlas – Sonmi
Portrayed by Doona Bae
Cloud Atlas is one underrated movie, I have to say. It has one of the most powerful stories, plus a compelling art of storytelling and a wonderful cast. Yet the movie did not receive enough recognition it should have.
It’s really difficult to briefly explain the story of Cloud Atlas (and I have to admit I don’t clearly remember. It’s really complicated and packed with many characters). Let’s just talk about Sonmi, a waitress in Papa’s song restaurant. She’s just one of many waitresses, whose lives completely follow a strict routine; these girls don’t have rights as humans do. They are born to serve humans, and are treated like toys in the surreal world of Cloud Atlas. Sonmi fought for her freedom and the truth. Considering the world of lies we are living in, a person with such spirit is so inspirational.
10. Hachiko, a dog’s story – Hachi
Portrayed by Chico, Layla, Forrest
Hachi is a dog. He waited for his owner at a railway station every day. Then one day, the owner died at work, and he never came back. Hachi still waited for him, until he died years later.
The story alone is heartbreaking. Now, it’s a real story.
I guess that’s enough to melt anyone’s heart.