In the mood to crank up the AC, ignore civilization, and watch a good movie during your time off this summer? Never fear! As much as it’s fun to go see movies in the theatre, sometimes nothing beats staying home, microwaving popcorn, and watching a movie from your couch—whether it’s old or new. If that’s what you’re looking for, here are 12 underrated movies you should watch this summer.
He’s Just Not That Into You
Quite possibly the most underrated romantic comedy ever made, He’s Just Not That Into You follows a large ensemble cast including Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson, and Drew Barrymore in a poignant look into the life of modern dating: are you the exception, or the rule?
Starring Brittany Murphy and Dakota Fanning as an unlikely pair of rich girl out of money forced to take a job as a nanny for a spoiled, uptight young girl, Uptown Girls asks all two very important questions: what does it mean to grow up, and what does it mean to be family?
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Isolation, bitterness, and literary humor. What’s not to love? In an Academy Award-nominated performance as biographer-turned-literary forger Lee Israel, Melissa McCarthy delivers some of the most intense and best work of her career in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, a dark but heartwarming look into what it means to lose and what it means to be fulfilled.
The Edge of Seventeen
All hail future EGOT winner, her majesty Hailee Steinfeld, in a charming and relevant teen comedy film like no other. Co-starring Kyra Sedgwick, Woody Harrelson, and Haley Lu Richardson, The Edge of Seventeen reminds us all that we’re only young once—is it over yet? Now available to stream on Netflix Canada.
Hello, My Name is Doris
Who are you when you’ve spent most of your life being ignored and catering to others? In what can only be described as Sally Field’s most underrated and loveable role to date, Hello, My Name is Doris teaches us that we’re never too old to try something new, and we’re never too old to go after what we want—because we’re worth it. Currently streaming on Netflix Canada.
Goodbye Christopher Robin
Ever wondered how Winnie-the-Pooh really came to be? In the vein of Finding Neverland or Saving Mr. Banks, Goodbye Christopher Robins offers an insightful look into the lives of A.A. Milne and his son—the world they created together, and how everything fell apart when they shared it with the rest of the world. The amount of sadness and dysfunction that ended up creating one of the happiest and most beloved children’s stories of all-time is remarkable, but Goodbye Christopher Robin nonetheless delivers a compelling and powerful narrative behind probably the most famous children’s books of our time.
How to Make an American Quilt
In one of the most celebrated women’s narratives of the ‘90s, based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Whitney Otto, How to Make an American Quilt weaves together its own quilt of what it meant to be a woman in the twentieth century—the dreams that were put together by imagination, stomped on by expectation, and suffocated by limitation. But no matter how old you get, you never forget what it’s like to be young and indecisive with the whole rest of your life laid out in front of you—and stories like those never go out of style. Featuring an ensemble cast with Winona Ryder, Anne Bancroft, Dermot Mulroney, and Maya Angelou, How to Make an American Quilt teaches us how to make a narrative that binds us all: there are no rules you can follow, you have to go by instinct, and you have to be brave.
A Star is Born (1954)
As much as we’ve rightfully celebrated the subsequent remakes of this film classic starring Barbra Streisand and Lady Gaga, it feels as though the original remake of A Star is Born—and the most significant—has been somewhat lost to history. The 1954 version, starring Judy Garland and James Mason, offers a colorful journey to the past to the Golden Age of Hollywood and what it took to be a star—sometimes sacrificing who we are and who we love in the process. All versions of A Star is Born have their merits, but Judy’s version will always be my favorite.
I recently saw this movie for the first time and I’m mad at myself for not watching it sooner. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in their second onscreen pairing since Titanic (they also reunite with Kathy Bates, who co-stars), Revolutionary Road is a powerful look into the world of 1950s conformity: the desire to conform, the anxiety of complacence, and the yearning to—and the cost of—breaking free. “If being crazy means living life as if it matters, then I don’t care if we’re completely insane.”
Director Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction) delivers a steamy erotic thriller like only he can. Starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane, Unfaithful asks us to question the root of lust and desire: can we be in love with one person forever, but still come to crave the touch of someone else? One of my all-time favorite movies.
Mona Lisa Smile
It might not be Julia Roberts’ best role, but Mona Lisa Smile still offers an insightful look into the traditional but restrictive values of ‘50s womanhood, and how one teacher can always make a world of difference. Co-starring Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mona Lisa Smile asks us to remember that there is always more out there for us, if only we have the courage to look. Now streaming on Netflix Canada.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
In this simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? looks into the life and work of Fred Rogers: his passion for children, his enthusiasm with emotions, and his love of television—and how he managed to bring them all together to create a legacy that no other public figure has come close to matching. In preparation for the Mister Rogers biopic hitting theatres later this year (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks), Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is a required watch. PSA: don’t watch unless you are in the mood to sob until your eyes swell shut. Available to stream on Netflix Canada.
Which underrated movies do you have to recommend?