In years when we can't afford to travel as much as we might like, we can still journey for a couple of hours for the price of a movie ticket. We can go to Paris, England, New York, Los Angeles, Sweden -- anywhere we please and enjoy a story, the scenery, and the music. All this without the cost, hassle and jet lag of a trip.
This year's Academy Awards had a distinctively French flavor with several movies either set in France or providing a strong influence in their production. Martin Scorcese's Hugo takes place in a Paris train station reminiscent of the Musée d'Orsay -- one of that city's best museums if you ask lovers of Impressionism. Midnight in Paris takes viewers all over the City of Lights as we meet artists of the 1920s. War Horse has the title character deployed to fight the Great War in France while The Artist may be set in Los Angeles but it is credited with a French point of view of old Hollywood.
Great Britain, as usual, is often featured with Iron Lady, My Week with Marilyn as well as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy all set in England. A visit to 19th century Ireland is possible thanks to Albert Nobbs in which Glenn Close poses as a man to survive in a world where women couldn't make a living wage. Northern Ireland is featured in the Oscar-winning live action short The Shore while another contender for this category, this one set in 1970s Ireland, was Pentecost.
A glimpse of Germany can be seen in the dance documentary Pina, the film A Separation gives you Iran, Sweden is featured in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Norway is represented in Tuba Atlantic -- a hilarious live action short.
American locales found their way in many of this year's Oscar-nominated films including modern-day Los Angeles in A Better Life and a few outside scenes in The Artist. Still on the west coast, the city and baseball stadium of Oakland, California, feature prominently in Moneyball. Hawaii provides the backdrop for The Descendants and, on the east coast, New York sets the scene for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Dark times in American history are portrayed in The Help and the documentary Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, both set in Mississippi -- the inspiration to travel there would be to learn more about that part of our history. The setting for The Tree of Life is the American Midwest while Bridesmaids is located in Milwaukee -- but both resonated with people across the country and could have been located in Anywhere, USA.
So, there is no shortage of destinations to choose from for a two-hour trip through the movies. For anywhere from five dollars to the luxurious sixteen-dollar first class seats of some movie theaters, we can indulge our love of scenery, music, language and culture from around the world.
And this list just touches on those nominated for Academy Awards. There are many more movies out there we can see that Oscar hasn't even gotten a whiff of. Are there other movies that inspire you to travel? There must be tons!