• Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

The days surrounding Blue Monday suck. With January’s resolution mentality, distractions still aren’t really permitted, and the memories of past holidays are definitely confined to sepia-toned nostalgia. We’re all about living in the moment so maybe we should accept the half-empty nature of the glass, add a shot of gin, and embrace the melancholy.

Edinburgh has decided to cut us off from the cultural mainline (seriously though, there’s nothing on at the moment). With the majority of theatres still dark post-Christmas, and publishing houses putting finishing touches on their February releases, we’ve had to retreat into the virtually safe space of the internet. Netflix has a magnetic draw at times like this, but we still like to stay on the cultural pulse, so here are our top picks for artsy, theatre-y and literary films to watch when you’ve got the January blues.

1. The Reader – based in post-WWII Germany, this movie about a tumultuous affair built on a shared appreciation for literature is sure to make you cry into your half-price Ben and Jerry’s. We told you this column was going to be depressing.

2. Mr Turner – a slow paced look at the life of the painter William Turner, this Mike Leigh biopic has the most awkward sex scene ever. Great news for anyone out-of-luck in the dating game; it seriously puts you off.

3. Birdman – a surprisingly dark depiction of a once-famous actor struggling to move on from his most famous role. Don’t go too near any ledges after seeing this blockbuster.

4. Girl With A Pearl Earring   fictionalising the life of Vermeer’s most famous painting, this period adaptation leaves you with knots in your throat. Perfect for a Monday night cry. Also Scarlett Johansson is gold in this.

5. On The Road – Great for making you miss the summer more than anything else. As you search, hands numb, for a decent link to this adaptation of Kerouac’s most famous novel, at least the promise that it won’t be January forever is brought to mind by watching this sun-kissed movie.

6. Wolf Hall – with the adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker-winning novel now on iPlayer, there’s no excuse not to watch this period drama set in Tudor England. At least the 21st Century January is better than it was for Henry and his entourage. The central heating is on some of the time, I guess.

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