Frequently Recommended Movies

These books are books I find myself referring back to or recommending to others time and again.

A Beautiful Mind

The movie is filmed in chronological sequence which brings the viewer along as John Nash (played by Russell Crowe), a brilliant mathematician, develops and  battles schizophrenia.  It provides a very clear portrayal of the subjective experience of a man who is becoming/has become delusional and how difficult it is to tell what is real and […]

As Good As It Gets

This movie is the story of an obsessive-compulsive curmudgeon Melvin (Jack Nicholson) and the development of his relationships with Simon (his neighbor, played by Greg Kinnear) and Carol, (a waitress, played by Helen Hunt).   Although it seems to be a remake of Beauty and the Beast, this movie depicts a person with obsessive compulsive […]

Clean and Sober

Daryl Poynter (played by Michael Keaton) is in a lot of trouble – he is a cocaine addict and an alcoholic, and has stolen $90,000 to make a stock market play that went bad.  He also picks up a girl and she overdoses in his bed.  However, his biggest problem is that he doesn’t know […]

Days of Wine and Roses

Although there are certainly more recently made movies about the ravages of alcoholism (such as the Lost Week-end and Leaving Las Vegas), this film has some of the most powerful portrayals of alcoholism.  Joe Clay (played by Jack Lemon) is in public relations and has a hard time having fun without alcohol.  He meets and […]

Hope Springs

Kay (played by Meryl Streep) and Arnold (played by Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for 31 years.  They love each other very much but have not been very affectionate or intimate with each other for years.  They go to see Dr. Fields (played by Steve Carrell) for couples counseling.  The story and acting are […]

On Golden Pond

This movie is about an elderly couple, Norman (played by Henry Fonda) and Ethel (played by Katherine Hepburn), spending their 48th year at their favorite spot, Golden Pond.  They are joined by their estranged daughter, Chelsea (played by Jane Fonda, who had some well publicized issues with her real-life father, Henry), her fiancé  Bill Sr. […]

Ordinary People

This story revolves around a family in which the oldest (and arguably favorite) son drowned in a boating accident and could not be rescued by his brother. Beth (played by Mary Tyler Moore) pretty much defines the term, “cold mother.”  Calvin (played by Donald Sutherland) is a caring and conflicted character caught in the middle […]


The movie is based upon a fairly simple but not easy question:  who killed the man whose body was found in the forest?  Witnesses are interviewed and their stories differ a great deal, making it difficult to come to a clear conclusion about what happened.  The viewer is led into a number of unanswered questions, […]

The Bucket List

The story begins in a hospital room where two mis-matched strangers (played by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) meet as patients with terminal diagnoses.  This film explores some of the issues that arise for these patients and their families, especially the question of what is best of for the patients (and who gets to make […]

The Notebook

This is a story about a devoted and loving husband telling his wife stories about their past while waiting for his wife to break out of the memory-stealing grip of senile dementia.  Although it is one of the most compassionate and accurate movies about this condition, it is also a very strong portrayal of what […]

The Wizard of Oz

This classic movie begins in a black and white filmed Kansas, just before a severe tornado strikes.  During the storm, Dorothy (played by Judy Garland) is transported to Oz (and the movie changes to color film), where she quickly finds herself stranded and in trouble.  She makes three friends, each believing that they have a […]

This Boy’s Life

This movie is based upon an autobiography written by the teenager in the story, Toby (Leonardo DiCaprio), about his adolescence in rural Washington State. After going through a divorce, his mother (played by Ellen Barkin) marries Dwight (Robert De Niro) who alternates between being charming and charismatic and angry and abusive.  Toby tries to “be […]

Tyler Perry’s Why Did We Get Married?

Tyler Perry movies tend to be exquisitely well written and acted intense stories that deal with a great deal of complexity and honesty while being also being very funny.  This movie is about four couples who met in college and vacation together once a year.  In this movie, each of the couples are living with […]

When A Man Loves A Woman

This movie is a compelling and accurate depiction of the relationship between an alcoholic (played by Meg Ryan) and her husband (played by Andy Garcia), as they recognize the severity of her alcoholism.  She recognizes she has a problem when she nearly dies in the shower, begins sobriety, and enters recovery.  He was focused upon […]