Christianity Today will announce its Best Movies of 2011 here online in the coming weeks (and in the February print issue of the magazine), but but in the meantime, here are six off-the-beaten-path indie films that didn't get as much attention as they deserved in 2011. All six are either currently available or coming soon to DVD/Blu-ray.
Paddy Considine's Tyrannosaur (Strand Releasing) [5 stars] is about an unlikely friendship between a petty hoodlum (Peter Mullan as Joseph) and a Christian thrift store operator (Olivia Colman as Hannah). Joseph is initially contemptuous of Hannah's faith, but he is ultimately struck by her sincerity and generosity of spirit. When he learns that Hannah's life is not as free from suffering as he had assumed, Joseph must decide if he is willing to stop raging over his own condition long enough to acknowledge and help those around him.
An audience award winner at a couple of major festivals, Cindy Meehl's Buck (Sundance Selects) [4 stars] is a moving portrait of horse trainer Buck Brannaman. Meehl sensitively documents Brannaman's troubled childhood, including years of beatings from an angry father that left his body battered and his soul bruised. The mystery and majesty of Brannaman's story stems from the fact that while so many victims of abuse perpetuate the cycle, his pain fuels a conviction that gentleness and love are the indispensible tools for breaking horses and building up broken people.
An Encounter with Simone Weil
Julia Haslett's An Encounter with Simone Weil (Breaking Glass) [3 stars] is as much about the director's attempts to document and explain how the French philosopher and Christian mystic's life and teachings have spoken to and influenced her as it is about Weil ...