Even the greatest filmmakers experience difficulties creating a perfect blend of captivating plot and stunning visuals. But the creators of the movies in this collection did an excellent job and managed to cope with this difficult task brilliantly. These movies hail from different genres, and they have different styles and evoke different moods, but the appeal is the same. They’re all gripping — you definitely won’t forget any of these films.
We here at SmallJoys have selected some of the most memorable movies about life-changing journies. You can be sure that each of them is fully deserving of your time and attention.
1. A Perfect Getaway
A young couple, hoping to make their honeymoon unforgettably romantic, head to a picturesque island. But as soon as the newlyweds arrive, they learn that two killers have murdered several people close to the place where they’re staying. This film keeps viewers intrigued and entertained not only with its mind-bending plot twists but also with its spectacular shots of Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Jamaica.
2. The Edge
As it turns out, Leonardo DiCaprio is not the only man out there who managed to defeat a bear with his bare hands. The main hero of this film practically did the same. But more to the point, what’s cooler than films starring Baldwin or Hopkins? A film with both of them in it! And if to all of this we add awesome views of Alaska, the atmosphere turns into something magical. And there’s one more reason why you have to see this movie – for the way in which the main heroes experience significant changes in their attitudes, behavior, and overall personality throughout the course of their journey in the wilderness.
3. Taken 2
The first instalment in the Taken trilogy tells the story of a man who will stop at nothing to rescue his daughter from the clutches of human traffickers. And now, in the second film, the exact opposite is true — the daughter has to save her parents from certain death. This journey will be hard to forget. A gripping storyline together with the amazing urban landscape of Istanbul make this film a delight to those who love beautiful cinema.
4. Point Break, 2015
A young FBI agent (or, to be more precise, a surfer, climber, extreme cyclist and wingsuit BASE jumper working for FBI) is sent undercover to infiltrate a gang of criminals and to accompany them in their ardous and dangerous journey. Who are these criminals? They’re extreme sports-obsessives attempting to complete eight extreme ordeals and get rich. For the young FBI agent, becoming a member of this team is no picnic. But that is where things get even more interesting. With its spectacular visuals, Point Break is like no other film you’ve ever seen.
5. Cast Away
Starting in 2000, we’ve ceased using the name of Robinson Crusoe as a byword for a castaway. The movie Cast Away itself has introduced a new name to refer to people who are stranded on a desert island – Chuck Noland. The film has both wonderful scenes showing the beauty of the Fiji Islands, and a fascinating plot, telling the story of how a person can change their life after spending years in solitude.
6. Into the Wild
A young man from a rich family abandons his privileged life and lives in his big green bus in the middle of nowhere. Based on a true story, Into the Wild stars a brilliant Emile Hirsch and features an incredible number of amazing scenes shot out in the wilderness. Directed and written by Sean Penn, this sad, dramatic story won’t leave you indifferent. You’ll enjoy every minute of this film.
Now for some more entertaining and light-hearted movies.
7. Leap Year
This is one of the best stories showing how love can appear at the most unexpected time. The breathtaking views and warm yellow-green colors of Ireland make this film a pleasure to watch. But not only this and a captivating storyline work here to grab the viewer’s attention. The film also draws the audience in with its authentic Irish atmosphere, offering every girl the chance to find out something new about leap years.
8. The Painted Veil
This film depicts the challenging story of two people who fell in love with each other only after years of unhappy marriage. With its original plot and stunning panoramic views of China’s mountains, rivers and fields, this one’s definitely worth seeing. You won’t regret watching it.
Based on a true story, Kon-Tiki was shot in Norway, Thailand, the Maldives, Bulgaria, Malta and the USA. The film offers not only rich, stunning visuals, but also tells a thought-provoking and dramatic story about a long raft ride through the Pacific Ocean. An epic adventure.
10. The Physician
The film tells the story of a young man who takes a long and dangerous journey on foot from England to Persia in order to unravel the mystery of ‘gut infection’, and to learn how to treat it. Trying to save other people’s lives, the main hero finds himself on the verge of death, which ultimately changes his own life dramatically.
11. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Some British pensioners go to exotic India to stay in the majestic Marigold Hotel. Did you really think that retirement means time spent doing nothing? Of course it doesn’t! The most exciting adventures of our restless travellers only begin when they arrive at the hotel.
12. Midnight in Paris
You’ll hardly be able to look at the world the same way again after Midnight in Paris. The Academy Award winner for best screenplay, this is a masterful work by director Woody Allen, with Owen Wilson offering a stunning performance as a hopelessly romantic writer. Rest assured, this wonderful melodrama is an absolute must-see movie.
13. To Rome with Love
This is yet another masterpiece by Woody Allen. Most of the action in the film takes place in one of the world’s most beautiful cities – Rome. It tells several stories all at once, showing how the lives of different people – visitors and residents of the Italian capital – are changed forever by various events. Romantic and humorous, this film is full of beautiful views of Rome’s streets and squares. It’s a great movie to watch on a gray rainy day.
14. The Darjeeling Limited
This is not another Bollywood masterpiece, but a quite watchable comedy about three foolish brothers who travel across India on a clapped-out train and find themselves stranded in the middle of a desert. With Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman in it, the film is automatically worth watching.
15. The Good Dinosaur
This cartoon takes its rightful place among the top 15 movies in our collection. This is the story of the life-changing journey undertaken by a small but kind dinosaur. The locations depicted in this animated film are so detailed and realistic that they could rival a wildlife program. Disney’s graphic designers did a perfect job!
Bonus. Movies Every Woman Should see
My Blueberry Nights
The brilliant acting and faultless camera work in this film from Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai give it an unreal, dreamlike quality. It would be impossible to mention this movie and not give due praise to its soundtrack, without which it would lose a great deal of its charm.
’Stepmom’ is a story of strong emotions, motherhood, devotion, and the struggle we often face to take control of our lives in the face of circumstances beyond our control. A complex movie which lays bare the contradictory personalities of the main characters (played to perfection by Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon) for all to see.
The Painted Veil
A sleepy village lost among the mountains of China is struck by a merciless epidemic of cholera. The relationship between the two main charactes who go there, Walter and Kitty (played by Edward Norton and Naomi Watts), is depicted somewhat differently to how it was described by Somerset Maugham, on whose book this movie is based. Yet it’s still fascinating. A great production from start to finish, every detail helps you better comprehend the fact that true love doesn’t simply blossom in a short-lived burst of passion, but gradually takes root in the mutual striving of two individuals to understand each other…and themselves.
’The Hours’ is a deeply complex whirlpool of a film which lets you glimpse something of the mystery hidden in the soul of every woman. Its director hasn’t made any special effort to help the audience understand what’s going on — but that’s no criticism in this case. Instead, it’s for the viewers themselves to ponder the key questions which the movie raises: Why are we so often unhappy? Is happiness actually a whole lot closer than we thought?
Bridget Jones’s Diary
It’s possible to watch the story of Bridget Jones a thousand times and never get tired of it. Preferably, when wrapped in a blanket and with plenty of chocolate by your side.
The Mirror Has Two Faces
A heart-warming and entertaining movie with wonderful acting throughout. Barbra Streisand managed to direct, produce and act in this surprisingly realistic depiction of love.
Love Me If You Dare
A light-hearted but vigorous movie with an unusual plot and intriguing characters. It’s impossible to tell if events unfold the way they do because the characters’ actions are too cruel, or if their feelings are too strong. Don’t spend too much time wondering; just enjoy this film for what it is.
My One and Only
A movie for those who follow their heart rather than their head, filled with a whole host of contrasting but fascinating characters. The story of Ann Deveraux, a less than perfect mother to two sons, is thankfully free of moralising, and instead just shows life as it is.
Sleeping with the Enemy
For some, living in a house by a beautiful lake is a dream; for others, such a place is a gilded cage which they can’t escape from. Thanks to outstanding performances from Julia Roberts and Patrick Bergin, as well as an atmospheric soundtrack, you’ll watch ’Sleeping With the Enemy’ on the edge of your seat.
The English Patient
With ’The English Patient’, director Anthony Minghella didn’t just create an entertaining movie, but also a true guide to life, which doesn’t shy away from depicting the mistakes we’re all capable of making. You’ll be captivated from the first shot: a tiny plane flying over an endless desert. It’s symbolic of the way people glide through the expanse of time and events, trying to find a place to settle down and be happy — but never without experiencing a bumpy landing.
Gone with the Wind
There are good films, and then there are cinematic masterpieces. Gone with the Wind undoubtedly belongs to the latter category. A tale of a strong-willed woman coping with near-insurmountable challenges, you can find something new and intriguing here every time you watch it.
Fried Green Tomatoes
A heart-warming and penetrating story which will leave its mark on you. Here, the monotony of the everyday intertwines with a kind of delight and wonder hidden just below the surface of events. You will enjoy every moment of this movie — we guarantee it.
’The Reader’ is among that small group of movies which you watch in a state of genuine emotion. Personal drama is masterfully weaved into a narrative depicting the problems which confronted whole societies after the Second World War. You see how the fate of millions through the lives of a small number of people. Kate Winslet is, as usual, astounding.
With its troupe of talented actors and powerful soundtrack, ’Atonement’ tells a story of love and hatred, passion and personal ruin, desire and hope, companionship and betrayal. You might not notice it at first, but this is the kind of movie which leaves an indelible mark on you somewhere inside.
Cracks are the small fractures which form on the initially smooth surface of our consciousness, appearing in increasing number as life takes its toll. Sometimes they stay with us forever; on other occasions they thicken and deepen, completely shattering our hearts, our souls, and our lives. This movie is about the latter kind of fateful, life-changing event. Its creators reveal the inner world of women which is normally hidden from outsiders’ eyes — full of expectations, secrets, and desires.
You might stumble across ’White Oleander’ completely by accident, but when you do, it quickly becomes impossible to tear your eyes from the screen; its atmosphere is just so intoxicating. All the relationships between characters in the film are strained, but it’s the interaction of mother and daughter which really stands out — the extremes of their relationship make for captivating viewing.
All About My Mother
With this movie, Pedro Almodóvar provides us with a glimpse of his own unique view of the world, and especially his relationship with women, whom he films in a way which is quiet unlike any other director. And indeed, every female performance in this film is outstanding; the characters simply charm you with their sincerity and naivety.
A movie which makes you think as much as it makes you smile with delight. The interaction of the characters, the thought-provoking dialogue, and the almost palpable emotion have the effect of making you want to reach out to everyone around you. This drama about four people hungering for love reminds us that each and every one of us is a wonderfully complex human being.