An American Abroad: 8 Expat Films That Scratch the Itch to Travel
Diane Keaton stars in IFC Films' family drama Hampstead, releasing today (June 14). Keaton plays an American woman living in London, who lost her husband a year ago. She's "mum" to her grown son, Philip (James Norton).
Her life gets a refreshing jolt of energy when meeting an Irish man (Brendan Gleeson) living in shed on Hampstead Heath. She works with him to retain his right to live on the public land.
For a lot of us Anglophiles, living abroad is the ultimate dream, because anything is possible.
If you're feeling that summer wanderlust and are in daydream mode, here's a mix of films featuring expat Americans all looking for something but with different results:
1. The Talented Mr. Ripley
Patricia Highsmith's 1955 The Talented Mr. Ripley was turned into a movie in 1999. Matt Damon took on the title role of Tom Ripley, opposite Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf. Tom meets Dickie's father in passing. The elder Greenleaf believes the two to be friends and hires Tom to follow Dickie to Italy and persuade his son to return home. There's one flaw in Mr. Greenleaf's plan... Tom grows accustom to the lavish lifestyle beset on him by his wealthy target. You can also look for the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett.
2. The Beach
In Danny Boyle's The Beach, hitting theaters in 2010, we find twenty-something Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) in search of excitement. He lands himself in Bangkok, Thailand, and soon realizes he's like ever other backpacker who just got off the plane. Everyone is looking for and doing the same thing. But then he learns of a secret beach, promising the fulfillment he's been so desperately wanting.
3. Lost in Translation
In 2003's Lost in Translation, we find two Americans living in Tokyo, Japan. Billy Murray plays a famous actor, in town filming a commercial to make a quick buck ($2 million to be exact). Scarlett Johansson takes on the role of a young wife, tagging along with her photographer husband who is on assignment. She's feeling a little abandoned. He's feeling a little unneeded. The two rely on each other to make the best of it and enjoy the vibrant city.
4. Under the Tuscan Sun
Diane Lane plays a recent divorcee in the 2003 romantic comedy drama Under the Tuscan Sun. Frances (Lane) had no idea this divorce was coming, and she loses her focus as a writer. Her best friend Patti (Killing Eve's Sandra Oh) convinces Frances to go on vacation to Italy. Once there, what does Frances do? She decides to stay and renovate a run-down chateau. This is the ultimate expat daydream turned true.
5. Midnight in Paris (2011)
2011's Midnight in Paris is a nice mix of armchair travel with a bit of sci-fi. Owen Wilson's character Gil is in Paris, France, with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her family. One fateful night, he goes for a stroll alone after dinner. After a short cab ride, he finds himself in 1920s France, rubbing elbows with the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) and his wife, Zelda (Aliso Pill). He didn't just travel across the ocean... but back in time.
6. Eat, Pray, Love
2010's Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts, is based on Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir of the same name. Roberts takes on the role of Liz, a happily married woman, successful in life and her career, but ultimately feeling... empty. She presses the pause button on her life as she knows it and sets out on a journey with the hope that there's more out there. Her travels take her to Italy, India and Indonesia, resulting in a spiritual awakening.
7. Vicky Christina Barcelona
In 2008's Vicky Christina Barcelona, two close friends travel to Barcelona for the summer. Vicky (Rebecca Hall) is practical and keeps her guard up, while Christina (Scarlett Johansson) is much more adventurous. When the two girls meet a local artist, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), their differences are magnified. One thing leads to another and a love triangle develops between the girls and their new acquaintance. Not to mention, Antonio's ex-wife (real wife Penélope Cruz) is still in the picture. It's definitely a summer to remember.
8. Romancing the Stone
Going back to 1984, Romancing the Stone's Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) is living the life in Columbia. He works for himself, he has no one to answer to and not a care in the world. That's until... Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) shows up. She is not on vacation, but is in need of a tour guide. Shockingly, her sister has been kidnapped and is being held ransom. The NYC-based romance writer has turned up to save the day and asks Colton for his help. Wild's plan goes a little haywire, but her adventure definitely results in enough material for her next novel.
Does this list give you any fun ideas for summer plans!?