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Five Unusual but Charming Friendship Movies · TMP
Friendship Movies E.T.
this post is part of Thursday Movie Picks, a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e’re back with a new Thursday Movie Picks, this week with the wonderful theme of Friendship MoviesI picked relationships that can be seen as unusual or having a rough start, because I always find those to be the more charming ones. And so all friendships in this list blossomed from initial feelings of intolerance, fear or jealousy. Some are between fictional people or beings, while others are between people who in real life you’d think they would never be friends, but actually were.

They’re mostly from very popular movies so I’m sure you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about! As always, I hope you share your picks below, and if you have a blog and want to take part in this weekly feature, please visit the official page.

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Five Unusual but Charming Friendship Movies

· thursday movie picks ·
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Finding Neverland Friendship Movies
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05. Finding Neverland (2004)

directed by Marc Forster
starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet and Freddie Highmore

This adorable and moving film has at its core the real life relationship between Peter Pan writer J. M. Barrie and the four sons of a widow – particularly the middle son named Peter, played by Freddie Highmore.

Peter is not very accepting of Barrie for feeling he is replacing his late father, but slowly he comes around and they develop a really beautiful friendship. It’s one of the most wonderfully subtle roles from Depp, and a really honest and heartfelt role for Highmore that is quite impressive considering how young he was.

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E.T. Friendship Movies
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04. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

directed by Steven Spielberg
starring Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore and Peter Coyote

In one of Spielberg’s most popular and beloved movies, a young boy named Elliot befriends an alien who is hiding in his tool shed. Though the creature is visibly scared, Elliot tries his best to lure E.T. and let him know that he is safe with him. The two develop a deep connection, the kind of open and intense friendship only kids have.

The best part however, is the selflessness of the final act. Upon finding out that E.T. is growing sick and needs desperately to go home, Elliot and his siblings do their best to return E.T. to his people. They let him go because it’s the right thing to do, but even light years apart, their friendship will always be remembered and cherished.

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The Lady in the Van Friendship Movies
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03. The Lady in The Van (2015)

directed by Nicholas Hytner
starring Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings and Jim Broadbent

This little known comedy has that very specific, peculiar charm of British filmmaking. This is another real life story, this time of a homeless woman, Mary Shepherd (Maggie Smith) who, after a series of bittersweet events, ends up parking the van she was living in, in a man’s driveway. The man was Alan Bennet, played by Jennings, and from whose memoir the film is adapted.

Due to their opposite personalities and messy circumstances, it was not an easy friendship. But the way it comes about, and the truth we find about Mary’s identity and life, is so incredible that it really is one of those stranger than fiction stories.

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About a Boy Friendship Movies
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02. About a Boy (2002)

directed by Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
starring Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult and Toni Collette

See Also

In second to last comes a friendship that might actually be my favourite, from a movie I’m pretty sure every single one of you has seen more than once: About a Boy. In this widely popular 2002 comedy, Hugh Grant plays William, a 30 something year old bachelor living off of royalties from a Christmas song his father wrote. He has never worked a day in his life, and is generally pretty selfish and lazy. But he is self-aware, so when offbeat twelve year old Marcus(Nicholas Hoult) comes into his life, Williams starts to – slowly – questioning his lifestyle.

Again, this is one of those bittersweet British comedies that is funny, but benefits from a set of quirky characters and circumstances that have a real, dark shade to them. Marcus’s mother is an eccentric woman with suicidal tendencies, something which heavily influences his life and, consequently, his friendship with Will. It really is one of those relationships where you clearly see what they learned from – and gave to – each other.

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Toy Story Friendship Movies
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01. Toy Story (1995)

directed by John Lasseter
starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Don Rickles

Finally, coming in number one is the ultimate childhood friendship movie, and one of Disney’s all time best: the ever lovable Toy Story. When spaceman Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) becomes Andy’s new favourite toy, his former number one, Woody (Tom Hanks), becomes insanely jealous and fears being forgotten. Whilst trying to get rid of Buzz, the two get lost and most work together to return home.

Despite this being about toys, the fear of being replaced, forgotten or cast out – of losing a friend – is very real. And besides the core hate-to-love friendship between Woody and Buzz, there’s Woody’s relationship with Andy, and even a wonderful narrative about dreams and potential, where Buzz doesn’t believe he is, in fact, just a toy. It’s a deceptively deep and complex movie that has a whole song dedicated to friends, so it could only be the perfect pick for this week. And one that is definitely worth revisiting, at any age.

What are some of your favourite friendship movies?
View Comments (17)
  • I’ve yet to see Lady in a Van but its on my list.

    Of the others I LOVE, love, love Finding Neverland and the relationships in it are all so wonderful. It’s the last time I really enjoyed Depp on screen. He seems to be phoning it in from this point on. I really liked About a Boy and E.T. is a lovely touching film. I know I’m in the minority with this but I loathe Toy Story and all its followups (though to be honest the only one I’ve ever seen any part of is TS3.)

    Since the choices were so vast I did a small theme within the theme of female friendship films even if they too are thick on the ground. But I’m a fan of these three.

    The Women (1939)-Wealthy happily married Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) spends her days in the company of a circle of equally well-heeled women friends whose main distraction is gossiping about each other. The worst offender is Mary’s cousin Sylvia Fowler (Rosalind Russell) a smiling Judas with a vicious streak. When Sylvia finds out at the beauty parlor that Mary’s husband is stepping out on her with a cheap piece of baggage named Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford) she makes sure Mary finds out protesting all the time she’s doing it for her own good. It’s off to Reno and back where new complications await Mary and her buddies both old and new. Witty comedy has an entirely female cast (down to the animals) and great dialog. Musicalized (pleasantly if unmemorably) in the 50’s as The Opposite Sex with Joan Collins stepping in for Crawford and shredded in 2008 with an abysmal redo.

    Old Acquaintance (1943)-Serious minded Kit Marlowe (Bette Davis) and flighty Millie Drake (Miriam Hopkins) have been best friends since college. Several years on Kit is now an acclaimed, respected but not terribly profitable authoress while Millie has married and is expecting a child. During a visit Millie confides to Kit that she’s written a book as well, a romance novel, which Kit passes along to her publisher and which becomes an enormous hit followed year after year by one frothy concoction after another making Millie fantastically rich and successful. However Millie remains envious of Kit as her marriage fails and her daughter turns to Kit as a mother figure and their friendship is strained but never breaks. High class soap opera was notorious at the time for the behind the scenes feud between Davis and talented but legendarily difficult Hopkins-a shameless upstager. At one point Davis had to shake Hopkins hard in a scene and when she finished the crew broke into applause!

    Beaches (1988)-On the Atlantic City beach in the 50’s child performer CC Bloom (Mayim Bialik) meets lost rich kid Hillary Whitney (Marcie Leeds) and they strike up what turns out to be a deep lifelong friendship as they grow up to be Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. Except for a brief break their kinship endures just about every obstacle under the sun leading to a teary conclusion. Though there is solid work from Lainie Kazan as Midler’s overbearing mother and John Heard as a director both women fall for this is Midler and Hershey’s show and their powerful chemistry carries the movie.

    • Hope you enjoy The Lady in the Van when you get to see it, Joel ☺️ So glad you like Finding Neverland too, it’s true – Depp is wonderful in it.

      You loathe Toy Story, why??? 😯 Haven’t seen any of your picks, but I’m down for anything with Bette Davis!

    • If you love Bette Davis (and who doesn’t?) and you haven’t seen it you might want to do a double feature of Old Acquaintance along with Bette & Miriam Hopkins’s first pairing The Old Maid. They really did have a great chemistry on film, they just fought like demons behind the scenes. But that was a common situation with Hopkins and ultimately damaged her career.

  • Awesome picks! I’ve seen all but The Lady in the Van, and all four were wonderful. Finding Neverland is my favorite Johnny Depp performance; it’s heartfelt, and a kind of performance that Depp no longer gives. ET is quite timeless. About a Boy is one of my favorite Hugh Grant movies, I liked his whole banter with a young Nicholas Hoult. Toy Story is quite dark for a children’s movie, but nonetheless really great.

    • Thanks! So true about Depp, it’s a shame he doesn’t deliver / they don’t cast him in subtle roles anymore. Maybe soon they’ll realise everyone is tired of that recycled eccentricity.

      Toy Story IS dark, I was quite scared of Sid when I was a kid. Disney was a lot darker back then, but I liked it. I mean, I think I’m okay 😂

  • I have been wanting to see Finding Neverland for a long time so I need to see this one! ET..when that came out I saw it 4 times…3 too many but other people wanted to see it and I had to go with them. I always remember my mom laughing when they tried to revive ET because she said how would they know where his organs are…she found it u realistic. I thought we would ge5 pelted by other in the theatre. I have seen About A Boy but I don’t remember much. The Lady in the Van is quite good and amazing that it is a true story…well acted. Toy Story is perfect since it is all about friendship

    • You really do need to see Finding Neverland, it’s such a lovely film.

      Oh that E.T. memory is fun. 😂 Me and my friends were called out once in theatres for being loud (should’ve been a lot more times, we could be pretty annoying teens…), but funnily I can’t remember what the movie was. Something we thought was pretty bad for sure, haha.

  • I’m so glad you mentioned Finding Neverland in this post because it’s one of my favourites and I don’t think enough people have seen it. It’s such an underrated movie (in my opinion, at least). I remember crying like a baby the first time I saw it.

    • I think it’s underrated, too! It’s so charming and beautiful, I don’t see how anyone can not love it to bits. And it’s so emotional yes – little Freddie Highmore did a wonderful job of breaking my heart.

  • I’ve seen three.. but I loved both. About a Boy is probably my favourite.. because I’ve never been a hardcore fan of Toy Story (I’m sorry).
    I think I have seen bits of Finding Neverland but definitely not the entire movie.

    • Wish I could put in here my Cary Grant GET OUT gif because really? How can one not like Toy Story?! (anything short of hardcore fan is not liking 😝)

      You should watch Finding Neverland, it’s actually good!

  • Finding Neverland – Didn’t it like as everyone else did. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but it was probably because of Depp, I don’t think I’ve liked him in anything in the last decade or two.

    E.T. – Yes love this. Had wanted to pick this too.

    The Lady in The Van – I don’t know if it was friendship. The guy was just too polite and not assertive enough to not let her stay on his driveway. And did she really treat him as a friend? I can’t remember?

    About a Boy – Love this one and wished I thought of it.

    Toy Story – Love. Was this the one with the friend song? I thought it was the second one?

    • That’s too bad, but I actually think Depp is wonderful in Finding Neverland!

      I felt like they did become friends – well, as friendly as they knew how to be as they were both troubled for different reasons. She stayed in his driveway for 15 years in real life, and he did try to help her multiple times, so yes! Unusual Friendship for sure.

      It’s the first film, when Andy is playing with Woody in his bedroom? He comes down the stairs, etc. I think it’s actually the very first scene in the movie.

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