Over the last 12 months there have been a huge number of great films released from around the world, many of which were highly-anticipated book adaptations or the latest in popular movie franchises. In addition to these types of top earning films though, recent times have also given moviegoers plenty of memorable under-the-radar indie flicks that were made without the backing of a big studio.
In particular, the last year has been a terrific period for British films. Productions from the U.K. have been a standout on all fronts, with comedies, dramas, and action-packed movies to suit every type of taste. From Oscar-nominated sagas to small yet riveting biopics, the screen has lit up with new films created in Britain.
Whether you're a fan of streaming the latest releases directly to your home device, or prefer to buy new DVDs on a regular basis, there are plenty of top movies from the U.K. you don't want to miss out on seeing. Read on for a rundown on just some of the best the Brits have delivered recently.
The Imitation Game
Nominated for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards, 'The Imitation Game" is a biopic drama about Alan Turing, the English mathematician and logician who famously helped to crack the unbreakable German Enigma code during World War II.
The movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, alongside other British talent such as Keira Knightley (playing Joan Clarke, the only woman on the team working on cracking the code) and Matthew Goode (playing the playboy and previous head of the Enigma project until displaced by Turing.) The U.K. /U.S. film collaboration also has Morten Tyldum in the director's chair and the Weinstein Company producing.
'The Imitation Game" is based on the 1983 biography by Andrew Hodges. It follows the story of Turing, the wartime cryptographer, as he attempts to break the Nazi code that no one has been able to decipher before. When he succeeds, the feat gives the Allied forces an advantage that helps them to defeat Germany in the war, although his contribution was largely kept secret for many years.
Along with his work, the drama also documents many elements of Turing's personal life. The film interweaves three key periods in the man's life, including flashbacks to his school days where he discovered a fascination with cryptography and learned he was gay, as well as a police interrogation later in life by a detective who thinks Turing is a Soviet spy, rather than a homosexual man.
The Theory of Everything
Another Best Picture nominee and biopic about a famous British man, 'The Theory of Everything" looks at the 1960s meeting, and then relationship between internationally-acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife, Jane.
In his Academy Award-winning role for Best Actor, Eddie Redmayne brings Professor Hawking's earlier years to life on the screen, adeptly partnered by Felicity Jones as Jane. The film's script is adapted from Jane Hawking's memoir, 'Travelling to Infinity," and is ably directed by James Marsh.
The story revolves around the love story between Hawking and Jane, from their first meeting at Cambridge University at the beginning of the film, when he is already showing signs of physical illness, to the sweep of their relationship as they deal with his diagnosis of ALS. Not long after they meet, Hawking " just 21 at the time " collapses from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig's disease), and is given only two years to live.
Galvanized by his love of fellow student Jane, Hawking goes on to bravely fight the disease that paralyses him bit by bit over the decades. The professor became one of the most famous names in the world of science, as well as husband to Jane for three decades (until their divorce in 1995), and father to their three children.
Another movie based on a period of time in Britain is 'Pride." The story revolves around the true tale of a group of gay and lesbian activists who decided to raise money to aid the families of striking Welsh miners from the National Union of Mineworkers during the Thatcher years in the 1980s.
While the workers are initially too embarrassed to take any money from the activists, the two groups end up developing a strong bond. Pride is directed by Tony award-winning director Matthew Warchus, and features an ensemble of stars such as Bill Nighy, Dominic West, and Imelda Staunton.
Director Mike Leigh returns with a new period feature, the biopic 'Mr. Turner" of great British painter J.M.W. Turner. The lead character is played by Timothy Spall, who even learnt to paint remarkably well in order to bring as much realism as possible to the role. 'Mr. Turner" explores the last 25 years of the life of the eccentric painter, before his death in 1851. The film looks at his work, his relationships, his painting process, and how he lived.