In May, dk villas published a blog with a list of some of our favourite travel movies, all of which are based and filmed in extraordinary destinations around the world. From Italy in Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) and Spain in Vicky, Christina, Barcelona (2008) to India in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) and Thailand in The Beach (2000), these movies, for us, really evoke the countries in which they are filmed. And since a visit to these stunning places is, for at least the foreseeable future, off the table, we’re continuing to live vicariously through the characters in these beautiful films….
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus
Amélie is a fanciful and off-the-wall comedy about a young woman who discretely orchestrates the lives of the people around her, creating a world exclusively of her own making. Shot in over 80 Parisian locations, acclaimed director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen; The City of Lost Children) invokes his incomparable visionary style to capture the exquisite charm and mystery of modern-day Paris through the eyes of a beautiful ingenue.
Why we loved it: Beautifully filmed, completely captivating (and funny), and the most tender love story.
Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
Starring: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, James Franco
Based upon the exquisite real life story of author Elizabeth Gilbert, Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) thought she had everything she wanted in life: a home, a husband, and a successful career. Now, newly divorced and facing a turning point, she finds that she is confused about what is important to her. Daring to step out of her comfort zone, Liz embarks on a quest of self-discovery that takes her on a whirlwind journey through Italy, India, and Bali.
Why we loved it: Knowing that this is a real life story makes the movie even more captivating and the idea of uprooting your life to discover yourself and what’s really important, so inspiring.
Fly Away Home (1996)
Starring: Anna Paquin, Jeff Daniels, Dana Delany
After Amy (Anna Paquin) loses her mother in a car accident, she must uproot her life and move to Canada to live with her father, Thomas, (Jeff Daniels), an oddball inventor with whom she has no relationship. She initially struggles to find her place in her new home, but things change when she stumbles upon a collection of abandoned goose eggs. When the eggs hatch, Amy and her dad work together teaching the motherless birds to fly south for the winter, and their relationship blooms.
Why we loved it: Who doesn’t love a good animal movie with a happy ending? (Oops…spoiler alert).
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Sean Penn
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), an employee at Life magazine, spends day after monotonous day developing photos for the publication. To escape the tedium, Walter inhabits a world of exciting daydreams in which he is the undeniable hero. Walter fancies a fellow employee named Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) and would love to date her, but he feels unworthy. However, he gets a chance to have a real adventure when Life's new owners send him on a mission to obtain the perfect photo for the final print issue.
Why we loved it: Quirky and funny without overstepping the boundary with slapstick, we loved this movie because of its truly entertaining performances and stunning portrayal of the “land of fire and ice”, Iceland!
Midnight in Paris (2011)
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates
Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a screenwriter and aspiring novelist. Vacationing in Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams), he has taken to touring the city alone. On one such late-night excursion, Gil encounters a group of strange, yet familiar revellers, who sweep him along, apparently back in time, for a night with some of the Jazz Age's icons of art and literature. The more time Gil spends with these cultural heroes of the past, the more dissatisfied he becomes with the present.
Why we loved it: Given the chance, who wouldn’t travel back in time in Paris to meet such famous people as Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway? We loved the way these characters were brought to life! And, of course, Paris is heartbreakingly beautiful.
Whale Rider (2002)
Starring: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Vicky Haughton, Grant Roa, Rawiri Paratene
Only males are allowed to ascend to chiefdom in a Maori tribe in New Zealand. This ancient custom is upset when the child selected to be the next chief dies at birth. However his twin sister, Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes), survives. At age 12, she enlists the help of her grandmother (Vicky Haughton) and the training of her uncle (Grant Roa) to claim her birthright. But to break with convention, she'll have to do the impossible: win over her ultra-traditional grandfather (Rawiri Paratene).
Why we loved it: This heartfelt movie provides audiences with a rare glimpse into the culture and heritage of New Zealand’s Maori people. It’s an exquisite and beautifully filmed movie too.
In Bruges (2008)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy
After a particularly difficult job, hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) head to Belgium to hide out until things cool down. Ray hates the medieval city they land in, but Ken finds its beauty and peacefulness enchanting. Their experiences become increasingly surreal and possibly life-changing as they encounter tourists, locals, an American dwarf, and a potential romance for Ray.
Why we loved it: In Bruges has a wonderful, wicked, and dry sense of humour that we love; but also, together with the characters, it takes you on a tour of this beguiling historic city that we have now added to our bucket list.
Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade (1989)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, River Phoenix, Julian Glover
The intrepid explorer Indiana Jones sets out to rescue his father, a medievalist who has vanished while searching for the Holy Grail. Following clues in the old man's notebook, Indy arrives in Venice, where he enlists the help of a beautiful academic, but they are not the only ones who are on the trail, and some sinister old enemies soon come out of the woodwork. The final part of the movie shoots at the famous Petra rock-cut temple in Jordan, a bucket list destination if there ever were one!
Why we loved it: They simply don’t make swashbuckling adventures like this anymore! And the fact that the movie is filmed in several beautiful international destinations, like Italy and Jordan, really satisfies the wanderlust.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce, Bill Hunter
When drag queen Anthony (Hugo Weaving) agrees to take his act on the road, he invites fellow queens Adam (Guy Pearce) and Bernadette (Terence Stamp) to come along. In their colourful bus, named Priscilla, the three performers travel across the Australian Outback performing for enthusiastic crowds and homophobic locals. But when the other two performers learn the truth about why Anthony took the job, it threatens their act and their friendship.
Why we loved it: We laughed at the outrageous characters, costumes, and performances in this movie; and it was a fascinating romp through miles and miles of hostile Australian Outback, and getting to meet the people of Alice Springs.
A Good Year (2006)
Starring: Russell Crowe, Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Freddie Highmore
Successful but arrogant London banker Max Skinner (Russell Crowe) inherits his uncle's (Albert Finney) vineyard in Provence, where he spent many childhood holidays. He travels to France to sell off the property but soon falls in love with the place, discovering a new laid-back lifestyle as he tries to renovate the estate to be sold. Upon his arrival, he also meets a woman from California who tells Max she is his long-lost cousin and that the property is hers.
Why we loved it: Travel, wine, and a feel-good love story…need we say more?