Philomena and The Book Thief are examples that show that intelligent, meaningful, moving, serious dramatic movies are still being made.
I recommend both of them.
Judy Dench turns in another Oscar worthy performance in Philomena. Some consider the film anti-Catholic and anti-Republican Party. I get the anti-Catholic charge, but not the anti-Republican one. The film does depict the cruel practices of some nuns many years ago in Catholic convents in Ireland where unwed mothers gave birth to babies that were sold to adoptive parents, but It doesn’t assert that all Catholics are bad, and it does assert that the convents were reformed. And I just don’t get the anti-Republican charge stemming from a reference to the Reagan administration. It’s a great film.
The other one, The Book Thief, is a World War II film about what a young German girl who loves books goes through as she risks her freedom by defying the censorship of book-burning Nazis. It is also about her relationship with a young Jewish man who is being hidden in a cellar to prevent his capture by Nazi’s who would kill him. It is a very well performed and produced piece of cinema.
So if you’re looking for movies that rely on interesting stories well told instead of special effects and a lot loud explosions, I think you will have found them in these two.