For the most part, I am a hopeless romantic. I get inspired and swept away in Disney-like fairy tale endings, emotional love songs and of course, living abroad on a whim. Over the years, there have been a handful of movies that have inspired me to desire living abroad or at least left me yearning for the ability to. I’ve compiled a list of my favorites. If you aren’t ready to make your big move abroad after watching this collection, you may never be. Here they are.
Start living abroad through the characters in these movies…
The Count of Monte Cristo – Malta
This movie changed my world. My wife and I went to the movie theater with a group of friends to see this one as a friend wanted to see it. The entire movie gripped me. It shocked me how good it was. Everything from the story, the acting, the cinematography to the scenery – this movie is on point. As soon as it came out on dvd, I purchased it and watched it over and over. I felt like I stepped back in time – a world abroad, so far off in an era so fantastic and exciting with amazing visuals. I had to learn more about it.
Watching the movie with the director’s Kevin Reynolds) commentary, he kept mention Malta, Malta, Malta. At one point, Kevin mentions that the majority of the movie was filmed in Malta. Off to Google I went and got lost for hours…. one of the first sites I discovered was the Malta Board of Tourism site. It’s an amazing resource – one of the better tourism sites I’ve come across. Another extremely helpful resource I found when considering a move abroad to Malta is here.
When Francesca and I began planning our wedding and honeymoon… Malta became our honeymoon destination, well half of it. We spent 5 days in Rome, Italy and 5 days in Malta. It wasn’t enough time. You can easily spend a month in Malta and not see all it has to offer. We did get to many of the locations featured in the film such as, Grand Harbour, Blue Grotto, and while taking the ferry over to Gozo to see The Azure Window, we passed Saint Mary’s Tower which served as Chateau D’If in the film. There were also plenty of locations we really did not get to experience as well such as Popeye’s Village, The Megalithic Temples and St. Paul’s Bay to name a few… perhaps on my next visit to Malta. Fifteen year anniversary, Francesca?
While the film is not about living abroad, the visuals alone are powerful enough to inspire you to consider a move to Malta.
Captain Correlli’s Mandolin – Greece
I am going to take a gamble that you probably have not heard of this one – most haven’t or aren’t too familiar with it when I share about it in social settings. It surprises me considering the main stars of the film are Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz. I am a huge Penelope Cruz fan and not so much of Nicholas Cage but this film is honestly one of my favorites. Christian Bale even has a main role in the film – this was released back in 2001 before his Bale’s career really took off.
Like The Count of Monte Cristo, aside from the love story, it’s the setting that inspires me the most in this movie. Filmed mostly in Kefalonia, Greece. I have not been there yet, but plan to go some day. Scene after scene in this film transports you to a nostalgic small greek island that inspires you to start picturing yourself living abroad and how simple life could be in such a beautiful setting.
Under the Tuscan Sun – Italy
You have probably already seen this one, but if you haven’t, go ahead and check it off your list of movies to see this week. It’s a must. This film has probably served as inspiration for 80% of the expats living in Italy. Written by Frances Mayes, she shares her experiences of unexpectedly moving to Tuscany solo after a divorce. There are ups and downs but the film and story are fantastic at expressing the value in enjoying the journey. No destination in mind… just soak it all up and enjoy the ride.
A Good Year – France
Russell Crowe plays a successful Brit in this role that doesn’t give a damn about anybody but himself. Throughout the film he goes through a transformation and ends up owning an estate in France while also falling in love. It’s a great feel good movie and has the same kind of feel and vibe to it as Under the Tuscan Sun.
Americano – Spain
This film has a kind of nitty-gritty vibe to it. The thing I was drawn to in this film is how intimately you feel the main character’s transformation from a naive American to a curious world adventurer. The film revolves around a graduation trip to Spain and tussling with the decision of going into a corporate career or not.
Mamma Mia! – Greece
This is not the typical film I would be attracted to but the entire movie is just really well produced. The concept of weaving a famous bands hits into a narrative and making a film out of it is brilliant. The locations are beautiful and the Greek culture and vibe are intoxicating in the film. It was recently showing on tv. My daughter and I watched most of it and she is hooked on it – now she watches it over and over and knows all the songs. I had to buy the dvd. No getting around it!
The Blue Lagoon or the Return to the Blue Lagoon – Fiji
These two are the first movies I saw that made me dream about life in far off places. They inspire me to want my own island. A place to just get-away when you need a little space from all the noise and expectations of society. I personally prefer the The Return to the Blue Lagoon because I am a Milla Jovovich fan.
These are fun movies to watch and I encourage you to watch them all. Get the popcorn ready and share your thoughts on each of them with me after viewing. Think I missed one that should be on the list? Let me know. Some are just pure entertainment and some have a greater message and applicable principles to living abroad. Get started and have fun!