I write a monthly column over at A Traveler’s Library that’s all about films that inspire adventurous folks to travel. Here’s a round-up of my five favorite travel films from 2012:
1. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. There’s a lot to love about this movie that tells the story of several retirees who all end up at the same place in India. Namely, a run-down hotel in need of some tender loving care. The lovely old place and the colorful streets of India are yet more characters in this sweet movie starring a who’s who of British acting vets, including Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson and Maggie Smith. Dench’s beautiful scarves play supporting characters.
2. The Intouchables. I wasn’t entirely thrilled with the premise of this film, which tells the story of a wealthy quadriplegic who hires a poor Algerian immigrant to be his caretaker. It sounded like the kind of sentimental tear-fest that always makes me twitch, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. After seeing The Intouchables, it became one of my favorite movies ever — for the touching story, the characters played by Francois Cluzet and Omar Cy, and the gorgeous French landscapes.
3. Hide Away. Who knew I’d find such a lovely movie right in my own back yard? This thoughtful story about a mysterious man (Josh Lucas) who fixes up a dilapidated boat and finds joy in life again was filmed a mile from my house on the Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City, Michigan. It truly is a beautiful place to live, and now anyone who sees the movie will know that, too (but don’t everyone crowd in here at the same time).
4. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. With all the political turmoil erupting in Yemen, it’s probably not a place you’d think about visiting anytime soon. But with Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor in the leads and a quirky story about a wealthy sheikh who wants to bring fly-fishing to one of the driest places on the planet, I was ready to book the next flight there. It’s also a joyful story about faith, love and hope.
5. Big Miracle. On the surface, this movie about three whales who get caught in the ice off a small Alaskan town probably won’t go down in cinematic history as the best film ever made. But there’s something about the sweet story, the determination of the characters played by Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski, and the beautifully frigid landscape of Alaska that makes me all warm inside.
What are your favorite movies to inspire travel?