Best Movies Set in the Countryside, Ranked – MovieWeb


From My Neighbour Tororo to Revolutionary Road, these are the best movies set in the countryside.
When telling a story in any medium, figuring out the right setting is a necessity. Urban and suburban, and for that matter intergalactic, storylines carry their own magic, but there's something about the countryside that grounds us and forces us to return to nature, even for a little while. Indeed, movies set in the countryside have a way of spotlighting stories about humanity, juxtaposing interpersonal conflict and inner turmoil with a grand natural landscape.
It's for this reason that it's interesting to watch the ways in which different global cinemas take on what it means to live in the countryside. In the movies in our list below, different national traditions come into full play in their stories. From historical dramas set in England and American sociopolitical narratives to life in Japanese nature, let's take a look at six of the best movies set in the countryside.
Based on the novel of the same name, Revolutionary Road is a romantic drama that reunited Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in lead roles 12 years after Titanic. Winslet convinced her then-husband Sam Mendes to direct the movie and even directly asked DiCaprio to play her husband in the film. Revolutionary Road follows a married couple — Frank and April — who struggle to deal with their personal problems while trying to function as a family and raise their kids. The pair's chemistry is undeniable in both ends of spectrum, where they're completely in love and where they nearly murder each other. Both Frank and April have aspirations and dreams, but they're stuck in this countryside life that they cannot get out of, which leads to built-up anger and frustrations that they take out on each other. Winslet earned a Golden Globe for Best Actress for this movie — and honestly, deservedly so.
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Those who live in big cities: do you ever feel tired of the cosmopolitan lifestyle and wish to return to a simpler country life? If you said yes, the South Korean movie Little Forest is the perfect pick for you to live your dreams through. The drama movie is based on a Manga of the same name, centered around Hye-won (Kim Tae-ri) who is a young woman who fails her exams to become a teacher, so she decides to abandon her Seoul city life and returns to the village she was raised in. The movie feels nice and cozy, but also a little melancholic at the same time, and is bound to become one of your favourite movies to relax to. This peaceful and healing piece of media also discusses the topics of maturing, friendship, family, and the tenderness of food. Make sure to give it a watch if you haven't already.
Yet again based on the novel of the same name, Atonement is an English war/drama movie that tells the story of what happens over decades when someone gets wrongfully accused of a crime. James McAvoy plays the character of Robbie Turner, who gets accused by 13-year-old Briony, played by Saoirse Ronan, of sexually assaulting her cousin, played by Juno Temple. Keira Knightley stars as Robbie's love interest Cecilia. With Atonement, director Joe Wright was the youngest director, per The Telegraph, to open the Venice International Film Festival at the age of 35. Knightley's presence in period dramas tends to be very powerful and Atonement is no exception. If you want to watch a movie about false testimonies set in a countryside, this one is for you.
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Yet again directed by Wright and starring Keira Knight in the lead role as Elizabeth Bennet, Pride & Prejudice is a romantic drama movie set in Regency Era England. It focuses on five sisters of lower ranks, one of whom falls in love with a man with the wealthy Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen), and both of them have to overcome their pride and prejudice to be together. The movie received praise for the themes of family and realism, as well as the actors' performances. Instead of portraying the perfect Regency world, Wright turned the film's focus on the rougher parts of the history, hence where the realism comes into play. The story focuses on what a person can make you realize about yourself, instead of changing you to their liking. It's one of the most beloved enemies to lovers romances of all time, where simple hand touches and love confessions can fill your stomach with butterflies.
A movie certainly ahead of its time, Mississippi Masala, starring Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury, tells the story of an American-Indian family who was forcefully expelled from Uganda and must settle in Mississippi while the eldest daughter falls in love with a Black American man. It explores the themes of interracial romance and the prejudice that comes with it. The themes focus on overcoming prejudice filled with a lot of tension, which is still very relevant today. The fact that this movie even exists is a miracle itself, and we definitely need more of these, especially in the 21st Century.
Last but not least, we have to include a Studio Ghibli classic written and directed by the legend Hayao Miyazaki himself: My Neighbor Totoro. Featuring the voices of Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, and Hitoshi Takagi, the plot centers on a professor and his two young daughters as they regularly interact with wood spirits in post-war rural Japan. The animated movie was highly praised for the themes of animism, Shintho symbolism, environmentalism, and the peaceful portrayal of rural life. The movie heals our inner child through its natural visuals, as is standard with Studio Ghibli movies. If you need to be reminded of the beauty in this world, watch any Studio Ghibli movie, but in particular we recommend this one.


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