Every summer movie goers are treated to big-budget blockbusters, apocalyptic action and superhero team-ups. Sprinkled in among the doomsday narratives and comic book adaptations are some great films that, sadly, get lost in the shuffle. We've chosen a few of those meaningful movies that are must-sees this summer. From a tale about a forgetful fish to a Civil War drama, from a friendly giant's adventure and to a quirky young heroine's love story, here are 10 films that should be on your radar.
If you’re a fan of British author Jojo Moyes, you already know that Me Before You is going to be an emotional rollercoaster. The story of a quirky, free-spirited middle-class girl who helps a wealthy young man learn to live again, after a tragic accident leaves him paralyzed, is the stuff tear-jerking rom-coms are made of. More than the romance, Moyes’ story is about following your dreams and learning to let go. With Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke and Hunger Games actor Sam Claflin as its leads, the movie looks to be one you shouldn’t miss this summer.
Me Before You hits theaters June 3rd.
One of the best parts of the 2003 nautical Pixar movie Finding Nemo was the cheery albeit forgetful fish named Dory, so it’s only fitting that she get her own movie this summer. Ellen DeGeneres is returning to voice the finned heroine who embarks on a quest to reunite with her family with a little help from some familiar faces.
Finding Dory swims into theaters June 17th.
Matthew McConaughey tackles another inspiring true story when he graces the screen as Newton Knight in Free State of Jones. Knight was a Civil War soldier and deserter who led a rebellion against the Confederacy in 1864. Besides its heavy, historical themes, the film boasts a talented cast which includes McConaughey, Keri Russell and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. With that formula, it’s likely to be Oscar bait come next year’s award season.
Free State of Jones lands in theaters June 24th.
Anything with director Steven Spielberg’s name attached is going to be good but his latest fantasy adventure film The Big Friendly Giant will have you longing for the days of childhood. The movie, based on the 1982 children’s book by Roald Dahl, follows a young girl as she goes on the adventure of a lifetime when she meets a gentle giant in need of a friend.
The BFG comes to theaters July 1st.
There are people who prefer to live a simpler life and then there’s Ben (Viggo Mortensen), a husband and father raising his family in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Their off-the-grid lifestyle doesn’t sit well with the people that know them best, and when Ben’s wife falls ill, his family’s existence is put in jeopardy. Quirky and emotionally riveting, Captain Fantastic is a film that examines the power of a father’s love and the lengths he’ll go to to keep his family together.
Captain Fantastic is in theaters July 8th.
Based on a novel by Philip Roth, Indignation is the story of a young Jewish teen from New Jersey (Logan Lerman) who must adapt to a new way of life when he attends college in a small Ohio town. Set in the 1950s, this movie brings to mind another coming of age tale (Saoirse Ronan’s Brooklyn) and it’s already being hailed the indie flick of the summer.
Indignation hits theaters July 29th.
Michael Keaton has been making a dramatic comeback these past few years, first with Birdman then Spotlight, but it’s his turn as McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc in The Founder that might finally nab him his overdue Oscar win. The story centers on how Kroc transformed a chain of family-owned restaurants into a multibillion dollar business through what may be some questionable choices.
The Founder opens in theaters August 5th.
In 1977, Disney gave children everywhere the dream that they could befriend a dragon and they’re doing it again with their latest remake of Pete’s Dragon, flying into theaters this summer. The story’s the same -- a young orphan boy bonds with a lonely dragon named Elliot and the two have fantastic adventures together – but this version is live-action.
Pete's Dragon lands in theaters August 12th.
Meryl Streep may be known for her dramatic acting chops but she's got comedy chops too. Case in point: the actress’ latest film Florence Foster Jenkins, which stars Hugh Grant and sees Streep embodying a New York heiress with dreams of performing at Carnegie Hall. The only problem? She can’t sing.
Florence Foster Jenkins opens in theaters August 12th.
Another remake landing in theaters this summer is the historical epic Ben Hur. The film follows an accused Jewish nobleman (Jack Huston) as he suffers through years of slavery in order to get revenge on the friend who betrayed him. Judging by the trailer alone, this action-packed take might just give Charlton Heston’s version a run for its money.
Ben Hur opens in theaters August 19th.
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