Plugged In Movie Awards: Best Movie for Adults

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PIMA Best Movie for Adults

We’ve come to one of our most prickly categories now, picking through the best films Hollywood offered this year and deciding what’s truly praise-worthy in terms of both its messages and content. These aren’t films that the whole family will necessarily want to sit down and watch. But these films resonated with us.

Again, we’d love to know what you think, too. Pick your favorite among our nominees or, if you think we whiffed on one, choose your own. Let us know your own favorites down below, on our Facebook page or on Twitter, if you’re so inclined. You’ll have until Feb. 21 to vote. Winners will be announced March 2.

Darkest hourDarkest Hour: The Miracle of Dunkirk was a surprisingly popular theme in 2017. We’ve already talked about one Oscar-nominated take on the tale, rooted in the very sand and salty sea where the action took place. Meanwhile this film, Darkest Hour, takes us off the beach and into the halls of power—across the English Channel to London, where the blustering and controversial politician Winston Churchill has been elevated to Prime Minister. His unenviable task is to lead and inspire a country facing the greatest threat to its autonomy since Napoleon: Nazi Germany. Darkest Hour doesn’t stint on showing Churchill’s many flaws, including a certain penchant for morning champagne and fine cigars. (His language can be rough, too.) It gives us a picture of the man who, at times, expresses self-doubts. But in the end it lauds Churchill’s greatness and uncovers what made him so great: An unbridled belief in the rightness of the cause, and unshakeable confidence in the English people and an unmatched mastery of the English language. Spurred on by an incredible performance by Gary Oldman in the title role, Darkest Hour is a drama worth many a moviegoer’s time.

giftedGifted: The film introduces us to Mary, a precocious 7-year-old girl. She’s been raised by her loving uncle Frank ever since her mom, a math genius, died when she was just an infant. Frank has shouldered the responsibility and, well, joy of being Mary’s sole guardian. But there’s a bit of a wrinkle in their happy family mix now. You see, Mary has started going to school. And when the teachers realize that this tyke is a bit of a math prodigy herself, having already mastered calculus by first grade, they think she should go to a special school for gifted children. Mary’s manipulative grandmother swoops in—threatening a court case to force Mary into that special school and move her way from her uncle. In fact, pretty much the only person who hasn’t gotten a say in what should happen with Mary … is Mary. This small sweet film has a few headshake-worthy bits: some rough language, some hit-the-bar adult drinking and the suggestion of premarital sexuality. But by the time the credits roll, Gifted delivers a warm, heartstring-plucking message about our inbuilt need to love and be loved. It proudly proclaims the self-sacrificial, life-changing joys of family.

Goodbye Christopher RobinGoodbye Christopher Robin: Winnie the Pooh may be a beloved childhood classic, but Pooh’s adventure didn’t immediately begin in the Hundred Acre Wood, and it certainly didn’t come without its share of heartbreak. Alan Milne’s a former soldier-turned-playwright who, when he returns to London, finds the noise and bustle and very scent of the city take him back to the trenches of World War I. When he finally escaped the chaos of the city to a beautiful cottage near, you might say, a hundred-acre wood, he’s inspired by the setting. And his son. And by a small stuffed bear. Milne wants to help people see the world in a different way—not through war torn glasses. He wants to help them see the joy around them as he learned this very thing from his son, Christopher Robin and Christopher’s very special friend, Winnie-the-Pooh. In this film, we’re taken through the history of how Pooh bear and all the rest came to be—but we learn that even as Milne gave countless children a picture of an idyllic childhood, he unintentionally stripped away that very childhood from his own son. Goodbye Christopher Robin is a poignant, beautifully-told story about war, fame and the importance of imagination. But most importantly, it’s about the sometimes difficult love shared by a boy and his dad.

MaudieMaudie: While Sally Hawkins has earned scads of praise (and an Oscar nomination) for her work in The Shape of Water, I think she’s just as good in this little-seen drama—and unlike Shape of Water, she keeps her clothes on throughout. In Maudie, Hawkins plays Maud Lewis, a woman crippled by arthritis and underestimated and demeaned for her entire life. In a desperate attempt to get away from her own family, she becomes a housekeeper for a gruff fishmonger who says perhaps two words a week (if he’s feeling particularly loquacious). Most of us would be depressed if we filled Maud’s awkward shoes. But despair isn’t in Maud’s character. Slowly, she begins to paint—filling the fishmonger’s drab, unheated shack with riots of primary-colored birds and flowers. When she runs out of walls to paint, she turns to postcards and stray wooden boards, and she eventually becomes one of Canada’s most famous folk artists. Based on a true story, Maud’s quiet grace sweeps us away into a world that’s at once brutally stark and strangely beautiful, and it leaves us with the most unlikely of heroes.

Victoria and AbdulVictoria and Abdul: You wouldn’t really think of a queen as being lonely. I mean, she’s the queen. But even royalty is susceptible to the most common of emotions, and in some ways, the throne and crown separate you from many a would-be friend. In this retold tale, Queen Victoria welcomes into her lonely palace an Indian by the name of Abdul. He’s told, as every servant is, to never look into the eyes of the queen. But instead of listening, Abdul steals a furtive glance, unknowingly turning the entire British Empire on its formal ear and sparking an unusual, and much-needed, friendship. While this film does contain a wee bit of language and a few drinking scenes, Victoria and Abdul masterfully tells the story of Victoria and Abdul’s most unlikely of relationships, all while revealing the mountains of racial stereotypes that plagued 19th-century England. And it leaves you with the feeling that friendship is worth more than all the palaces in the world.

(All movie capsules written by Adam Holz, Bob Hoose, Kristin Smith and yours truly.)

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Cj lastrue More than 1 year ago
Vote: The Darkest Hour 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Gifted was the only movie I saw on this list, so I guess I'll go with that.
Rocketshipper More than 1 year ago
I'm surprised Dunkirk was on the teens list instead of adults.  Even if it is "actiony" just seems more like something that would appeal to adults, especially compared to the other nominees.  
Rhoda Cormier More than 1 year ago
Have to say despite some mild content, I really liked gifted. It was well acted, had humor, and even inspiring...I want to see "darkest hour" at some point, but voting wise I would definitely go with gifted...:)
library_girl More than 1 year ago
The only one of these I've seen was Maudie, and it was awful - I wouldn't vote for it. I grew up in Nova Scotia, and love her art so much, but this movie was grim, grim, grim. 
I wanted to see Darkest Hour, but it was in and out of theatres so fast I didn't have time. :( 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Darkest Hour.
Carissa Park More than 1 year ago
Gifted since I haven’t seen any of the on this list
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I still gotta see Goodbye Christopher Robin. The Disney Winnie the Pooh movies were some of my favorites as a kid.

Also, I can't wait for Disney's live action Winnie the Pooh movie about Christopher Robin returning to the 100 Acre Wood long after he's grown up. That sounds like an interesting movie.
charitysplace More than 1 year ago
Goodbye Christopher Robin may ruin your appreciation for the Pooh books -- I saw it and was glad I hadn't taken my mother with me; talk about depressing!!
Airship Prodigy More than 1 year ago
I agree that dunkirk and greatest showman should be in the running. Out of these I support gifted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of these films, I'd say The Darkest Hour, although I agree with several on this blog who say Dunkirk belongs on the adult list and would definitely get my vote as best for the year - The Greatest Showman was also very entertaining and gets my vote for best teen film (but I don't have teenagers any longer and saw it with my husband - who thoroughly enjoyed it also!) 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goodbye Christopher Robin is an interesting movie, but not one you watch to feel good. It teaches you that nothing can cover a broken foundation.  Sadly, the books will live on, but the family harmony was never there.  Maybe some folks need to see this to learn from it, instead of being entertained by it.
Lydia Grace More than 1 year ago
I don't feel right voting for it, since I haven't seen it yet, but I cannot wait to see The Darkest Hour! It looks amazing.
Michelle Nigro More than 1 year ago
And now that I have seen the teen list, I would say move Greatest Showman and Dunkirk to the adult list. Greatest Showman gets my vote for teen list and a close second on this one
Michelle Nigro More than 1 year ago
Darkest Hour-stellar acting, great message, needs to win the Oscar and this as well:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Darkest Hour. Great film overall, and Gary Oldman's portrayal of Churchill was spot-on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by Peggy Carter

It's a hard decision for this one...Gifted was amazingly acted, and surprisingly moving. Darkest Hour was also really well-done, but I think I have to go with Gifted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I vote for Darkest Hour.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of these? Darkest Hour. Of all the movies I've seen this year? Either Dunkirk, Lady Bird or The Shape of Water.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You're right, bobed, this is about the Best Movie for Adults, so my judgments are based solely on quality, not objectionable content. And I'm here because I think this site is a valuable resource for Christian parents like me.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh man an F-Word!!! That's it, that movie should be banned. Its horrible, no matter the other good and uplifting content throughout the rest of the film. *roll of eyes*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want to say Goodbye Christopher Robin, but in the end my official vote is Darkest Hour.