US bishops choose their top ten movies

 While the race for the Oscars has begun in Hollywood, the US Bishops' have issued their own list of the ten best movies for 2003.

In a statement, Gerri Pare, Director the US Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting (OFB) said: "Although 2003 saw its share of over-hyped sequels and pointless remakes, mindless action pictures and witless comedies, there were some truly exceptional films, reminding us that movies have the power to inspire and uplift rather than just dehumanize and debase."

In alphabetical order, the Top Ten of 2003 are:

* Big Fish - An enchanting fable about a father and his estranged son and the power of storytelling to engender a magical sense of life's wonder.

* In America - Director Jim Sheridan's life-affirming, semi-autobiographical drama set in the 1980s about an impoverished Irish immigrant family struggling to survive in New York City and heal the emotional wounds inflicted by the loss of a young child.

* Mystic River - A gripping, well-acted drama set in a working-class Boston suburb about an unspeakable crime, the devastating effects of which come full circle only years later, as three childhood friends are reunited by a brutal murder.

* The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The final and shining jewel in the crown of Tolkien's epic good vs. evil fantasy trilogy, completing the quest of the tale's unlikely Hobbit hero to destroy the Ring of power, and save Middle-Earth.

* Seabiscuit - A feel good, fact-based Depression-era film about an undersized bargain-basement racehorse with the heart of a champion who transforms the lives of its owner, trainer and jockey while lifting the sagging spirits of a nation.

* Secret Lives: Hidden Children - An inspirational documentary chronicling the bitter-sweet war stories of Jewish children saved from the Nazis by the heroism of non-Jewish families who, at great personal risk, took them into their own homes.
* Spellbound - An uplifting documentary celebrating the kaleidoscope of the American experience about eight students from diverse backgrounds competing for all the marbles at the National Spelling Bee in Washington DC.

* Together - A beautifully crafted film from China about a young violin prodigy and his simple-minded father whose travels from a backwater town to Beijing teach them valuable lessons about the bonds of love and family.

* Whale Rider - A touching coming-of-age story set among contemporary New Zealand Maoris, which explores the role of community and change through the relationship of a determined 12-year-old girl and her tradition-bound grandfather.

* Winged Migration - An awe-inspiring documentary, which, thanks to spectacular photography, charts the annual journey of various migratory birds over stretches of thousands of miles from the tropics to the Arctic.

Since 1965 OFB has compiled a list honouring the top ten films produced each year. These films ­ which include both features and documentaries ­ are chosen for not only their obvious artistic merit, but for the positive messages they impart and how they enlighten as well as entertain.
WASHINGTON DC - 29 January 2004 - 490 words

Share this story