5 amazing animation movies you must watch

7 Nov

A still from Spirited Away – Chihiro and Haku.

A still from Spirited Away – Chihiro and Haku.

Does animation only mean cartoons to you? A genre you’ve outgrown like braces? Well, it’s a way more nuanced medium than that. And after you’ve been through the movies on this list, you’ll understand exactly what we mean.

The beauty of animation is that it allows a story to be told in infinite ways with nothing to limit the director’s imagination! And there are no rules for the subject – a grieving widower getting a new lease of life, a young girl’s coming of age story set against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution, or the dreams of a rat in the world of fine dining, all is within animation’s scope.

You can tell we love animation, and after you’ve watched the amazing films on our list, we feel strongly that you will too.

1) Spirited Away

For us, and for many of those who care, this is the best animated film of all time because of its immersive imaginative experience. The movie starts as a cautionary tale when a young girl, Chihiro, enters a magical realm and her parents become pigs.

After that the movie becomes unlike anything you’re ever likely to watch. It avoids neat categories of black and white, or the typical plot of a family genre. If, like us, you were raised on the western imagination, the movie will be an unforgettable experience. Watch!

2) Inside Out

What goes on inside the preteen brain? The movie offers us a quirky, emotional, and fun insight. An 11 year-old, Riley Andersen, moves with her parents from Minnesota to San Francisco, and this move becomes a major challenge for her. The movie charts the changes in her inner landscape through personifying her emotions- Anger, Fear, Joy, Sadness and Disgust.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film is, “[i]nventive, gorgeously animated and powerfully moving…” We think it a compelling, funny and insightful narrative of the tortuous process that is growing up!

3) Up!

While fans adored the Carl and Ellie vignette at the start of the film, for us it is the relationship between old grump Carl and boy scout Russell, or even between Carl and Dug the dog, that makes the movie deliciously funny and moving.

Carl’s journey to Paradise Falls, and his evolution as a character are really inspiring to watch. Granted, the plot is not the most unpredictable, and we’re glad to anticipate that all is going to end well, but the characters have you by their side all the way to South America and back!

4) Ratatouille

The hero of this film is – a rat!

Remy is your regular sewer-variety rat with an enhanced sense of smell who dreams of becoming a chef in Paris. His idol is the celebrated chef Anton Gusteau – a man who declares that anyone can cook!

After a series of twists, Remy befriends by Alfredo Linguini, a sub-talented human, working as a cleaner in the late great Gusteau’s kitchen. They team up and the clumsy Linguini rises quickly through the ranks, impressing and exasperating his fellow chefs.

But how long can this weird partnership work? Watch the film to find out!

The unique animation style, and the truly whimsical plot elevate this feel-good feature to another class for us.

5) Persepolis

The only black and white animation film on our list, Persepolis is based on author Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel. The film is her coming of age story set in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. As a young girl, Marji wants to be a prophet and a disciple of Bruce Lee. She is a rebel. But her rebellion is not as much against her parents as against the new, reactionary government. So, she is sent to liberal France where it is assumed she will be safe. Abroad, Marji faces new challenges, familiar to all who travel and study abroad.

It is a beautifully told story – and often ranked as not just one of the best animation but also international films.

Wondering what to do over the weekend? Here are some of our recommendations!


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