4 Movies That Tell a Story Within a Story
all synopsis taken from letterboxd[spacer height=”20px;”]
La Vénus à la Fourrure (2013)
directed by Roman Polanski
starring Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric
An enigmatic actress (Emmanuelle Seigner) may have a hidden agenda when she auditions for a part in a misogynistic writer’s (Mathieu Amalric) play.
This is an odd one. Based the play (David Ives) based on the book (Leopold von Sacher-Masoch), Venus in Fur is a play within a movie. As they reenact scenes, the line between the fictional characters of the play and the ones from the movie blur, which makes a very interesting, albeit confusing watch. So there’s plenty of talking, too. I quite liked it, but I can’t recommend it to everyone!
The Story: An actress auditions for a play.
The Story Within the Story: The play itself, as they rehearse it.
The Fall (2006)
directed by Tarsem Singh
starring Lee Pace, Catinca Utaru and Justine Waddelk
In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story about 5 mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality starts to blur as the tale advances.
In truth I can’t remember that much about this? But I do recall creative imagery, impressive costumes, and Lee Pace’s beautiful face, so I recommend.
The Story: A man and a girl bond while staying in the same hospital.
The Story Within the Story: The fictional one he tells her.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
directed by Tom Ford
starring Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon
Susan Morrow receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband – a man she left 20 years earlier – asking for her opinion of his writing. As she reads, she is drawn into the fictional life of Tony Hastings, a mathematics professor whose family vacation turns violent.
Tom Ford directing is everything – a perfectionist with impeccable taste. Nocturnal Animals was divisive for its narrative and execution, but give me an enigmatic plot with stunning visuals and even better acting, and I’m sold. This one begs for more than one watch, but there’s a couple of horrifying scenes I’d rather never see again.
The Story: A woman living in the present, thinking about her failed marriage, reading her ex-husband’s manuscript.
The Story Within the Story: The book her husband wrote.
Finding Neverland (2004)
directed by Marc Forster
starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet and Freddie Highmore
Finding Neverland is an amusing drama about how the story of Peter Pan and Neverland came to be. During a writing slump play writer J.M. Barrie meets the widowed Sylvia and her three children who soon become an important part of Barrie’s life and the inspiration that lead him to create his masterpiece Peter Pan.
This is a sweet and magical movie with plenty of heart, that I genuinely love. It’s perfect for the whole family, and has one the best original scores ever by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek.
The Story: A playwriter’s relationship with a widow and her children.
The Story Within the Story: The story of Peter Pan, as he imagines it when he plays with the kids.
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