"Sleepless Nights" and "This Is Not a Film" were two of the highest-grossing independent films of 2012. Once viewed as quirky films that few people saw, the indie world changed in recent years. Films like "Black Swan" grossed millions at the box office and made its actors and director award-winners. Though 2013 just started, some reviewers are already talking about the hottest indie films of the new year.
Richard Linklater released the hit indie drama "Before Sunrise" in 1995. The film told the story of Jesse (Ethan Hawke, "Reality Bites") and Celine (Julie Delpy, "2 Days in Paris"), two characters who meet on a train and spend a few hours together. Linklater released a sequel, "Before Sunset," in 2004, which continued the story of the couple. At the end of the first film, Jesse and Celine made plans to meet again in six months, but the second film showed the two meeting nine years later.
Delpy received an Oscar nomination for writing the script of "Before Sunset," and she credits the first film for launching her career. Both films were critic and box office hits, but Hawke admitted in interviews that he couldn't imagine making a third film. Linklater approached the actors with a solid script that picks up several years after the last film and moves the setting to Greece. The last film ended with the two sitting in Celine's apartment, and many fans hope that this film will see the two finally get a happy ending.
Nicole Kidman ("The Hours") hasn't appeared in a horror film since "The Others," but she returns to the genre in the upcoming "Stoker." Kidman portrays Evelyn, an unstable woman who lives with her daughter India (Mia Wasikowska, "Lawless"). The two find their worlds flipped upside down when Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode, "Watchmen") moves into their home. Described as a family drama with horror elements, the dark film features a screenplay by actor Wentworth Miller ("Resident Evil: Afterlife").
Miller wrote the screenplay and a prequel, but he shopped the script around Hollywood under a fictitious name. In 2010, the script landed on the list of the best unproduced scripts in Hollywood. Chan-Wook Park ("Oldboy") directed the film, making it his first English-speaking film. With a hot script and top-notch acting, fans can't wait for "Stoker" to land in theaters.
Doris Lessing's best-selling book, "Two Grandmothers," created controversy when it landed on store shelves in 2003, and many expect the same controversy to follow the film adaptation "Two Mothers." Naomi Watts ("21 Grams") and Robin Wright ("Moneyball") star as two childhood friends who find love with the other's son. Also starring Ben Mendelsohn ("The Dark Knight Rises"), the film raised a few eyebrows when stills hit the news. The photos, which showed both actresses in a state of undress, drew ire from the public.
Watts doesn't seem to care what people think, claiming that she only cared about the strong script. The original story focused on two older women who began dating each friend's teenage son. "Two Mothers" relies heavily on the original script, but it primarily focuses on the early stages of those relationships. Though it had a limited release in 2012, it lands in mainstream theaters in 2013.
"Don Jon's Addiction"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt seemingly went from a teen star to a respected actor overnight. Roles in "The Dark Night Rises," "Inception," and "Looper" established him as an adult actor, and now he wants to make his mark behind the camera. Gordon-Levitt wrote and directed "Don Jon's Addiction," and he takes on the lead role of Don Jon. Don Jon is a man who has everything he could want. He takes home a different woman every night of the week and never lacks for attention.
When he discovers that an addiction to pornography changes how he views women, he sets off on a journey to better himself. The film also stars Scarlett Johansson ("The Avengers") and Julianne Moore ("The Kids Are All Right") as two of the women he meets along the way. The film has its premier at the Sundance Film Festival, and early reports praise Gordon-Levitt's talent on and off screen.
With so many independent films coming out, 2013 looks like it will be a stellar year for film lovers. These films only represent a few of the top releases, and the films show that the world of independent film keeps expanding. Horror fans, comedy lovers, and those who enjoy heart-wrenching dramas will find something appealing in 2013.