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Top 10 British Films That Take a While To Love

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Andrea Buccino
It can’t always be love at first sight. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Films that Take a While to Love. For this list, we’re taking a look at films that, due to their themes or general style, can be a bit hard to appreciate at first. But, when they’re given enough time, they’re undoubted classics. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 British Films that Take a While to Love

It can’t always be love at first sight. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Films that Take a While to Love.

For this list, we’re taking a look at films that, due to their themes or general style, can be a bit hard to appreciate at first. But, when they’re given enough time, they’re undoubtedly classics.

#10: “The Devils” (1971)

Ken Russell's sexual horror film is a strong critique of organised religion – so it does get pretty heavy. Throw in the fact that it doesn’t shy away from disturbing imagery, and you have a difficult watch on your hands. The film was actually banned in several countries at the time of its release, and severely censored in others – so much so that it’s still hard to find the original, uncut form. With controversial themes and numerous unsettling moments, it’s perhaps best seen from behind the sofa… But it’s a rewarding experience for those willing to challenge their expectations and beliefs – so long as you have the stomach for it!

#9: “The Prestige” (2006)

“The Prestige” is arguably one of Christopher Nolan’s finest films, but it’s also extremely divisive and one of his most often overlooked. It’s a story about magic and illusion that takes as much pleasure in fooling its audience as it does the characters in the story itself. As a result, it can also leave a viewer feeling fairly perplexed the first time around. But, while the twists and revelations are certainly very important, it’s only once they’re out of the way that all of the film’s clever details come fully into view.

#8: “The Lobster” (2015)

The strange, offbeat acting, the absurd premise and the overall style of this unlikely black comedy can leave first-time viewers switching off. But there is much to love in Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English language effort, from its merciless satire of modern society and its focus on relationships, to the monotone delivery that really does grow on you after a while – honest! One thing’s for sure, you won’t have seen another movie like it – which is all the more reason to watch, and re-watch! Because, once the unique humour clicks in, you’ll find yourselves laughing in spite of all the bleakness.

#7: “Hunger” (2008)

A harrowing film if there ever was one. Director Steve McQueen’s first feature follows the last few weeks in the life of Bobby Sands, the IRA volunteer who led a hunger strike in 1981 to return political status to Irish republican prisoners. Due to its theme and context, as well as its overall style and very deliberate pacing, “Hunger” doesn’t exactly lend itself to free and easy escapism. Instead, it asks a lot of its audience. The main character only appears about half an hour into the film, and a lot of the scenes play out with zero cuts and limited movement. Nonetheless, it’s one of this director’s finest works.

#6: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975)

“Rocky Horror” is quite the spectacle. But to truly understand its charm and fall in love with it like so many have, you kind of need to know all of the songs off by heart. Or, better yet, you need to go to the cinema several times over to see it while dressed in drag. Because while still great the first time you watch it on your TV, nothing quite matches being able to sing along to the whole thing while rows upon rows of people do the same – all in full costume. “Rocky Horror” is more than a film, it’s an experience – and it demands time, investment and dedication.

#5: “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (2011)

Aaand we’re back to gritty realism with a very firm bump. Offering a convoluted plot and countless characters to keep track of, the first watch of this critically acclaimed spy thriller is clearly a demanding task. But, once the first sitting’s out of the way, it's much easier to appreciate “Tinker Tailor”s subtle beauty and clever twists, as well as the masterful performances from a star-studded cast. From Gary Oldman in one of his finest, if more subdued movie roles, to Colin Firth and Tom Hardy, everybody is at the top of their game, and every character is worthy of your suspicion.

#4: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975)

The Pythons may be a British institution, but their brand of comedy isn’t exactly easy, observational stuff – and it often leaves audiences scratching their heads, rather than splitting their sides. But, if you can’t tune into the humour straightaway, a second (or third) viewing should see you right! “The Holy Grail” is probably the holy grail of Python hilarity, but don’t be downcast if you don’t ‘get it’ instantly. The absurdity, the songs, the over-the-top antics and the apparent utter nonsense in almost every scene are all part of its brilliance. Before long, you’ll be constantly quoting it along with everyone else.

#3: “In Bruges” (2008)

Martin McDonagh has been writing stage plays with enormous success since the Nineties, honing his craft as a storyteller. And so, for his first foray into feature length film, he gave us this delightfully twisted tale of murder, revenge and friendship. But, due to its unusual tone and unique approach, “In Bruges” sets itself firmly apart from any other British gangster flick you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. The comedy is much blacker, the characters are much more complex, and the twists are much more brutal. A gun-toting thrill ride it’s not, but the genius is in the details.

#2: “Peeping Tom” (1960)

This film pretty much ended Michael Powell's career when it came out, but today it is hailed as one of the greatest and most important horror-thrillers ever made. Talk about a slow-burner! As it’s the story of a filmmaker turned serial killer who uses his portable camera to record the last moments of his victims’ lives, it’s perhaps easy to see why, at the time, “Peeping Tom” caused quite a stir. For today’s apparently desensitized viewer, it’s probably not quite as shocking, but its stylistic values are clear for any lover of classic cinema.

#1: “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)

Kubrick's masterpiece wasn't immediately well received when it was first released in 1968. Maybe, it took a while for people to appreciate just how far ahead of the game it was. But soon enough the late-sixties and early-seventies film buff saw its merits, and today it’s considered by many to be the greatest sci-fi film ever made. However, like most of Kubrick’s films, “2001” doesn’t really lend itself to a casual viewing – even for contemporary audiences. The unprepared might feel frustrated, even bored, by its cryptic story and long dreamlike sequences. But, if you’re suitably invested, there’s nothing else like it.

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