The best movies to catch this Easter

Maggie Gyllenhaal shines in The Kindergarten Teacher.

Maggie Gyllenhaal shines in The Kindergarten Teacher. Photo: Pie Films

If you’ve had just about enough of the federal election already, disappear into the dark of your favourite cinema and breathe a sigh of relief.

Here are five of our favourite films to catch this Easter.

The steamy melodrama: The Aftermath

Set in the shattered ruins of Hamburg after World War II, critics unfairly burned this aching ménage à trois based on the Rhidian Brook novel. Keira Knightley and Aussie Jason Clarke star as a grieving couple estranged after the death of their young son.

An army colonel tasked with rebuilding the city, his regular absences push her into the arms of the dreamy German widower whose house they’ve requisitioned (Big Little Lies’ Alexander Skarsgård). Directed by James Kent (Testament of Youth), it’s an unabashed melodrama about the fractured loyalties and illogical tendencies of broken people. And that’s why we loved it.

The off-kilter comedy: The Kindergarten Teacher

Maggie Gyllenhaal is one of our best actors, and this could be her finest hour. A jaw-dropping English-language remake of a dark Israeli comedy, she plays an overbearing and thoroughly bored Staten Island preschool teacher.

At first championing the strangely profound utterances of a young boy in her class, she soon starts passing them off as her own to impress her poetry teacher, played by Gael García Bernal. And that’s nowhere near as wrong as it gets in a brilliantly mischievous movie that will have you screeching with laughter – and horror.

The beautiful tear-jerker: The Happy Prince

Englishman Rupert Everett achieved a lifetime ambition playing doomed Oscar Wilde in this, his directorial debut. A dreamy take on the poet, playwright and novelist’s final ruinous days in Paris, Oscar has been run out of London after a botched libel case led to him being locked up for gross indecency on account of his homosexual affair with Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas (played by Colin Morgan). Definitely bring the hankies, but it’s also a joyous celebration of his brilliance, with Colin Firth and a dashing Edwin Thomas as best mates Reggie Turner and Robbie Ross.

The kooky adventure: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Two decades ago Twelve Monkeys director and former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam set about adapting Cervantes’ Spanish classic Don Quixote with Johnny Depp. It all went horribly wrong, as memorably captured in the nerve-wracking 2002 doco, Lost in La Mancha. But just like the mad quest of the iconic tale’s foolish old knight, forever tilting at windmills, Gilliam never gave up and brings it to barmy life in a movie-within-a-movie, tapping Star Wars bad boy Adam Driver and Brazil star Jonathan Pryce. It’s a hoot.

The arthouse thriller: Burning

If you binge on Scandi-noir and can’t get enough of Serial, you’ll love this darkly twisted mystery from South Korean director Lee Chang-dong. Debuting at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, it takes a Haruki Murakami short story and slow burns its way to a devastating climax via an intriguing love triangle between an aspiring writer (a brilliant Yoo Ah-in), his old school crush (Jun Jong-seo), and her slimy new beau (Steven Yeun). When one goes missing, the movie spirals into a gripping psychological drama that clicks into place with the final gasp.

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