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The 5 Films You Need To See In February

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January was one hell of a month for the cinema. There were so many great films to watch, thanks to the wallet-emptying awards season, that most people are still catching up. But February is here and it brings some more awards contenders, along with an interesting array of other options.

To make your life a whole load easier, here are the five films you really need to see this month:

Selma

Selma

While it might have ultimately scooped two Oscar nominations, for Best Picture and Best Original Song, the consensus was that this stirring civil rights drama deserved plenty more. Not only is it as Oscar-friendly as they come (true story, triumph over adversity, Oprah), it's also really really really good. But disappointingly it was snubbed in many categories it should have been represented in, including, criminally, Best Actor for David Oyelowo's commanding and nuanced performance as Martin Luther King. This is a film which will endure though and putting any awards controversy aside, it demands to be seen. It's a vibrant and powerful snapshot in time when a non-violent protest for equal rights exploded into a national scandal. Overwhelmingly emotional at times, given the horrifying link to recent events, and confidently directed by Ava DuVernay, it's one of the finest films of the year.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 99%

Released: February 6


Love Is Strange

Love Is Strange

If your Valentine’s plans involve dinner and a movie and the thought of watching Jamie Dornan whip Melanie Griffith’s daughter doesn’t scream romance, here’s something a bit more grounded. John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star as a couple whose decision to get married loses one of them their job at a Catholic school which then, in turn, leads to them losing their home. Despite a plot that kicks off from the hot button issue of same-sex marriage, this intimate drama isn’t attempting to make a grand political statement or force an agenda. Instead, it offers up a beautifully constructed portrait of a relationship going through a rough patch and is blessed with two flawless performances from Lithgow and Molina.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94%

Released: February 13


Predestination

Predestination

In recent years, Ethan Hawke's career has become a strange mix of acclaimed indies (Boyhood, Before Midnight) and throwaway genre movies (Getaway, The Purge) but it looks as if his latest might sit somewhere between the two. It's a stylish Looper-esque sci-fi thriller which has Hawke playing a "temporal agent" who prevents future crime through time travel which, during a final assignment, leads to some rather epic problems. Like the greatest time-hopping classics, it's an intricately wound puzzle that deserves a second watch just to get your head around things and although it might be one of the smaller releases of the month, it's worth hunting down. 

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 80%

Released: February 20


It Follows

It Follows

In the wrong hands, this genius concept could have been transformed into a tired mid-00s J-Horror but thanks to its lo-fi credentials, It Follows remains a coolly different proposition. The plot is brilliantly simple: there's a murderous sexually transmitted curse that's plaguing a Michigan teen and the only way to get rid of it is to have sex with someone else. It's a stylish and inventive treat for horror fans, delivering memorably haunting imagery, a fun throwback tone and the perhaps worrying potential for a sequel. But before the formula inevitably gets old (sex, death, sex, death etc), enjoy this untainted original. 

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%

Released: February 27


White God

White God

If we were being crude with our description for this Hungarian drama, we'd call it "Planet of the Apes with dogs" just to get you interested although there's plenty more going on here than that comparison suggests. Winner of the Prize Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival, it's the tale of a family who give up a dog after being forced to pay a fine for owning a mixed-breed animal. The dog then starts an uprising against human oppressors. Early reviews suggest it's a smart parable with emotion and thrills to spare. 

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%

Released: February 27

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