The power of a good movie is that it can leave us with a little something to ponder about, something that changes us a little bit, and connects us emotionally. Fast and Furious movies have gotten us to learn more about cars and Miss Congeniality got us developing our self-defense techniques. However, the biggest impact that we have felt is with how we pick destinations when we are traveling.
And with recent events, we have been leaning increasingly towards finding films where food, culture, and, more importantly, new destinations are a huge part of the film. So important that they are almost like a character or a storytelling device in the film.
Here are our favorite films that have deliciously dished some of our favorite destinations:
Before Sunrise (and the whole Before trilogy)
If you love to travel and all the wonderful things that come with it, including mystery and romance, Before Sunrise will whisk you off your feet. On a train through Europe, Jesse (Ethan Hawk), meets a French woman (Julie Delpy) and talks her into getting off in Austria to spend his last hours with her as they wander the streets and discover the beautiful European splendor and curiosities together.
Director: Richard Linklater
Audrey Hepburn is a dream in this classic film that makes you fall in love with Rome. She’s stuck in her luxurious bedroom and escapes from her guardians, falling in love with an American news reporter. Off they journey on a whirlwind tour of Rome. Theirs is a delicious tale through the Italian capital with the glory of the city as its backdrop.
Director: William Wyler
Under the Tuscan Sun
This movie is the dream–drop everything and move to a Tuscan villa. And even if it’s not possible we can let ourselves escape there through this beautiful tale. The movie is about catharsis and new adventures. As Frances turns around the villa, she finds the destination changing opening her to new adventures too!
Director: Audrey Wells
To Rome With Love
Four tales unfold in the Eternal City, this is an easy to watch love story: To Rome with wit. Quirky characters, color, and always a little romance.
Director: Woody Allen
La Dolce Vita
Fellini’s lauded Italian film is so eloquently shot. It follows the wealthy set as they drift through the beautiful life in Rome. The decor, people, and settings are impeccable but there is a deeper philosophical question being asked through the moments of quiet reflection. It is a surprising twist to superimpose on la dolce vita!
Call Me By Your Name
Set in a 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy the precocious 17 yr old Elio is spending the summer with his intellectual family and soon meets a handsome doctoral student working as an intern for Elio’s father. Their beautiful summer love affair unfolds amidst the majestic Italian landscape for a story that takes your breath away.
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Amelie – depicts Parisian life.
This is the ultimate quirky classic of a French girl caught up in her imaginative world in Montmartre. The art direction and music with the backdrop of cinematic Paris makes this film one that will transport you there with all of the charm and eccentricity of this artists’ neighborhood.
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Midnight in Paris
A writer (Owen Wilson) arrives in Paris for a family vacation as he’s working on a book and is transported through its vibrant, enchanting history.
Director: Woody Allen
Silent Film stars falling in love in Paris, and the most precocious dog, this film noir is charming and sumptuously French.
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Sofia Coppola’s modern gaze on Marie Antoinette’s marriage to the King of France and her royal life is spectacularly entertaining. The costumes, culture, and outrageous luxury lure you into their life at the Chateau de Versailles until the gory demise of their rule.
Director: Sofia Coppola
There are many films on the life of Yves Saint Laurent but this documentary is so moving. It examines the life and work of the late fashion designer and his partner Pierre Bergé. Included in the footage are his recounts of depression and frailty but also profound genius as a fashion prodigy.
Director: Pierre Thoretton
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Julian Schnabel makes the most stunning films and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly feels like a visual poem. It follows the story of a French editor of Elle who has a stroke and becomes ‘locked in’ his body, learning to communicate with the blinking of his eye, he comes to grips with his life. The movie is set by the sea in the North of France, adding to its dreary, romantic notion.
Director: Julian Schnabel
The best feel-good romantic comedy that makes you want to close up shop and move to Surrey. It’s charming cottages and lovely accents can help you cozy up in confinement. A perfect contrast to the glamorous suburban homes in Hollywood where Kate Winslet finds herself in. Two ladies swap houses and we wonder if we should have done that before our quarantine.
Director: Nancy Meyers
Like Chocolate for Water
A gripping tale about family and tradition and unrequited love in the backdrop of colorful Mexico.
Director: Alfonso Arau
This cinematic gem gives insight into Mexico’s history, culture and gender divide with an unlikely friendship that crosses social divides to deliver love and hope.
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras, The Lover is set in 1920s colonial Indochina with a romantic play on the interesting moment in history. A French teenager strikes up an illicit affair with a wealthy Chinese businessman in a seedy Saigon neighborhood.
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Crazy Rich Asians
This movie captures the layered nature of culture and how even within the same culture you can experience this clash. We loved learning about the interesting customs and traditions of Singapore in this romantic comedy.
Director: Jon M. Chu
Lost In Translation
If one movie captures the total immersion in a foreign land, it’s Lost in Translation. It’s a celebration of Tokyo, travel and the unlikely friendships that form from experiencing other cultures.
Director: Sofia Coppola
The Darjeeling Limited
Wes Anderson’s unique point of view pulls you through a beautiful train journey across India with three brothers as they reconnect over the loss of their father. As they use this trip to bond unwillingly and navigate through the pain of losing a loved one, they discover the lightness of their relationship and come out to form tighter bonds. After all, isn’t that also the point of traveling?
Director: Wes Anderson
With so many amazing options for films, we will never want to leave the couch! We hope that you can enjoy traveling and culture immersion through film watching with us, be sure to let us know if you have any other great movie picks at firstname.lastname@example.org!