Next to fall, winter is my favorite season. So, it goes without saying that I love dark, wintry, snow-laden movies. You know, the kind that make you deliciously shivery and burrow down into the sofa. Here's a list of my favorite frosty films for the season of nights that are extra long and dark. Keep in mind, woolly socks and a warm woolly throw are necessary accoutrements.
Wild and woolly wintry epics:
Doctor Zhivago, 1965
David Lean's winter wonderland makes me run for my furry Zhivago hat, gives me a longing for a sleigh of my own and to dive into those great pools of Sharif's eyes.
Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in this gorgeous epic. I love to lose myself in this wintry world of Shakespeare.
Warren Beatty's epic drama about American Communist John Reed and his relationships with both the Russian Revolution and a writer named Louise Bryant, portrayed by the wonderful Diane Keaton. There's nothing like Russia for winter.
Based on the bestseller by Peter Hoeg, this is a moody mystery that becomes a somewhat overblown, schlock thriller in the second half, but Julia Ormond plus snow is a winning combo in my book.
Smilla's Sense of Snow, 1997
Smilla's Sense of Snow, 1997
Onegin, 2000Martha Fiennes masterful film version of Pushkin's poem Eugene Onegin, a melancholy tale of lost love, starring Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler. Gorgeous film. It's one I pop in on a regular basis.
Pelle the Conqueror, 1987
A poignant Academy Award winning film about a Swedish widower and his son who emigrate to Denmark in the late 1800s to find work and a better life. Max Von Sydow is brilliant, giving the performance of a lifetime.
The Widow of St. Pierre, 2000Set in 1849, on the Island of Saint Pierre off the coast of Canada, this French film is a human drama of love, sin and redemption. Wonderful performances by Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil. Directed by one of my favorites, Patrice Laconte.
Orlando, 1992Tilda Swinton stars in this lush, sexy and wickedly funny film based on the gender-bending novel by Virginia Woolf. I asked Santa for this one.
Snow Falling on Cedars, 2000Based on David Guterson's bestselling novel, set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, it's the story of a young fisherman who was found dead in his own nets. A Japanese American war hero is accused of his murder. Director Scott Hicks paints the story like a gorgeous watercolor.
Birth, 2005In this dark, suspenseful film, Nicole Kidman becomes convinced that a ten-year-old boy is the reincarnation of her dead husband. Delicious Hitchcockian overtones.
A few of my favorite Christmassy flicks:
The Thin Man, 1934I adore the sparkling chemistry of William Powell and Myrna Loy in this three-martini mystery comedy, the first of a delightful series. This one's set during the holidays.
An Affair to Remember, 1957Cary Grant, at his debonair sexiest, and Deborah Kerr meet on an ocean liner and fall in love. Though each is engaged to someone else, they agree to meet six months later at the Empire State Building, but a tragic twist of events prevents the meeting. Make sure you have a box of tissues handy.
Meet John Doe, 1941A Frank Capra masterpiece about a journalistic publicity stunt that turns into a national movement. Barbara Stanwyck is incredible, as well as a stellar cast, including Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan.
A Christmas Carol, 1951Alistair Sim is my all-time favorite Scrooge. Hands down. Everyone needs a generous dose of Dickens this time of year. God bless us, every one.
The Bishop's Wife, 1948Cary Grant is the dreamiest angel ever sent down by the prayers of a new bishop David Niven, but it's Monty Woolley, in the role of the professor, who I fall in love with every year.