(Photo by Andrew Goodman/Getty Images)
Irish actor Colin Farrell is a tough man to pin down artistically (it’s how he keeps our relationship with him fresh). With a career that ranges from big box office popcorn flicks like Minority Report to independent ventures like In Bruges, he exhibits an adventurous spirit that is directly reflected in his choice of favorite films. He next appears in the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, alongside Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston. We spoke to Farrell about this Five Favorite Films, which you can find below:
The whole feel of this film was something that woke me up to cinema in a way. Before this film it was very much an Amblin world for me. Lots of Indiana Jones and John Hughes and Willy Wonka (the original) and Van Damme action movies and Richard Pryor comedies like Brewster’s Millions, etc. Then a friend introduced me to Paris, Texas. The aching loneliness and sense of lost love that pervades the film from the arid desolation of the desert landscape to the haunting strings of Ry Cooder’s soundtrack just blew me away. Maybe I was 17 or 18 when I saw it, but it stayed with me, and I go back to it about once a year. It also has one of the most honest portrayals of the loss of love between a couple, and the inherent danger within the nature of obsession. This lost love is broken down for the audience in what, to me, is possibly most quietly powerful monologue ever delivered in any film I’ve seen; when Harry Dean Stanton’s character, Travis, finally sits with the woman he loved and lost, and he recounts their story to her. Travis has to turn the chair around, so he’s facing away from her while he speaks. I assume because it’s too much to look at her while he’s expressing where and how such love disintegrated. Yeah, it’s a beautiful, beautiful film.
Oh man, is there a funnier and more poignant film that captures the anarchic irreverence of that period? It’s just perfect, from start to finish, in my book. Ridiculously quotable with mad, perfect performances across the board. Richard E Grant is pure genius, but everyone in the film gives amazing and hilarious and heartbreaking performances. Again, I think loneliness and isolation, and a desire to belong play big parts in this one. The story is as much a love story between the two leads as anything, with a very sad break-up of sorts taking place at the very end; with Withnail left out in the rain.
This was where I fell in love for the first time. As a boy of maybe nine, or so. Marilyn really nailed my little, tentative heart. Something about her insane beauty, mixed with that self doubt and sensitivity she portrayed, was so effecting. The performances from Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are hilarious. Again, like most great films, this one has some quotes and moments that just stay in the mind and resonate. It’s a film about love and friendship and second chances, I think. Will never get tired of watching this, as long as I’ve got days on my calendar.
This is just maddeningly brilliant. At once sweeping and epic, and yet searingly personal, thanks to the incredible work of Peter O’Toole. It’s such a long film, which I love, and yet there’s not a moment in it that seems like it’s played too long. Everything from the rich orchestral score, to the extraordinary photography of F.A Young, and David Lean at the peak of his powers make this a timeless film, and one that remains, sadly, as relevant today as when it was shot. It’s about political and financial power and about the subjugation of a people, the fight for freedom and the power of the individual to make a stand against the imperial. All the performances are fantastic, from Sir Alec Guinness to Omar Sharif and on. Again, this feels like a perfect piece of cinema to me.
This one. A nostalgia that will never go away. I went back and forth between this, and BIG with Tom Hanks but I ultimately chose this film for sheer entertainment, and for how outlandish the story is, and just how much fun the whole thing is. I saw it recently again, and it just doesn’t date. Michael J Fox, who I loved already from Family Ties, was the coolest thing on two heels for me. I just wanted to be him. The DeLorean. Doc Brown. Time Travel. A bit of young love. All these things played out with such light. A true classic.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens on November 18.