A Colin Firth Movie For (Almost) Every Occasion
If Colin Firth had never strolled out of the water all sopping wet and handsome in The BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, would he be as infatuation-worthy as he is today? Just like the answer to the immortal “how many licks does it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” question, the world may never know. What we do know for sure is that he is a brilliant actor, even when he’s fully dry. He is capable of being both stately and sexy, reserved and devilish. He’s been a spy, a grieving lover and the King of England– there truly is nothing the man can’t do, and happily we get to watch him test that theory out over and over again on the big screen.
Recently, it has come to my attention that Colin Firth’s movie oeuvre is now so expansive that there could conceivably be a Firth film for any occasion. After coming to this realization, I had no choice but to compile a list. Below, I’ve selected eight Firth films for eight different occasions (not that one needs an excuse to watch a Firth film, but, just in case, I’ve got you covered).
When some people have a terrible, no good sort of day they resort to retail therapy. I resort to film therapy, and no movie picks me up quite like Love Actually. Now, I know what you’re thinking; there is no way the Laura Linney or Emma Thompson sections of this movie are going to cheer anyone up, and you are absolutely right. That’s why I recommend fast-forwarding through those in favor of Firth’s love transcends language section. Its not the movie’s strongest plot by a long shot (that distinction is held by Liam Neeson‘s grieving step dad), but you get Firth wearing cozy sweaters and babbling like an adorable idiot, which should be more than enough to restore your faith in humanity.
Kids will enjoy Nanny McPhee for its endless supply of hijinks, while you’ll enjoy Nanny McPhee for its Downton Abbey-esque storyline wherein Firth’s widower father must marry in order to continue receiving an allowance for his family to live off of. This leads to a sweet, understated love story that plays out between the father and the family’s young maid Evangeline (Kelly Macdonald). Meanwhile, all ages should be able to enjoy Emma Thompson as a deranged version of Mary Poppins because her performance is just deadpan enough to sell the absurdity of the premise.
Girl with the Pearl Earring
Confession: I have never seen this movie all the way through, although that’s not from lack of trying. Girl with the Pearl Earring is beautifully shot, but it moves at a speed that makes even glaciers say, “hey man, pick up the pace!” My every attempt to watch it has ended with me waking bleary-eyed and confused two-hours later. However, there is an 85% chance that your dreams will feature Firth as an obsessive painter, so there is an upside to the movie’s narcoleptic properties.
Never trust someone who won’t admit they love ABBA. Mamma Mia! is a total cheesefest, but it’s also boppy, gorgeous and joyful, making it perfect for an impromptu movie night/sing-along. Plus, it comes with the added bonus of a singing, dancing Colin Firth (not to mention Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan).
There are some people who don’t understand the appeal of Firth. Now I’ve never met these people personally, but I’ve heard tale of them, so I figure it is best to be prepared in case I encounter one one day. When I do, I won’t bother arguing; I’ll just hand them a copy of Valmont and be on my way. In it, Firth gets up to some very un-Darcy activities, and convincingly pulls off playing one of film history’s sexiest cads.
A Single Man
Again, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t think Firth was brilliant, but lest anyone dares to think he can only pull off romantic comedy leads and period pieces, A Single Man is there to remind us that Firth is a serious actor first. He is absolutely heartbreaking in the role of an aging professor who can’t move on from the grief of losing his lover in a car accident. It’s a raw, aching performance; perhaps the best of Firth’s terrific career.
(If you need backup, you could always go with a double-hitter of The King’s Speech and A Single Man. If they’re still arguing after that they’re just being silly.)
A Summer in Genoa
Again Firth plays a man consumed by grief after losing his partner, only this time he’s left with two young girls to care for all on his own. This quiet, little indie movie sneaks up on you as it slowly builds a somber atmosphere amongst the stunning scenery of Genoa. Watching the fractured family attempt to find closure so that they can move on with their lives is harrowing. Trust me, if you need a good cry, this movie will do the trick within the first 15 minutes.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
If you can’t watch classic Mr. Darcy, then the modern Mr. Darcy is the perfect alternative. There’s no lake scene, but you do get Firth earnestly telling Renee Zellweger, “I like you very much, just as you are,” in one of the swoonworthiest moments of all-time. This is on top of his “It’s Raining Men” brawl with Hugh Grant, his reindeer sweater and that lovely kiss between Bridget and Darcy that caps off the movie– oh, who am I kidding? The only excuse anyone needs for watching Bridget Jones’s Diary is a day that ends in “y.”
Now it’s your turn Firth fans; can you match any other occasions with their perfect Firth film? Add to my list in the comments!
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