With so much negativity in the world today, it is easy to get sucked in. It’s been proven that reading your favorite books can help you cope with negativity and hate, but there are those of us (like me) who would rather dunk our spoons in a tub full of ice cream and curl up on the couch with a good movie instead.
Movies, in my opinion, are a fun way to kill time while also learning important lessons about love and living. Yes, they take a long time to complete, but that’s why I appreciate it so much when I find one that’s worth the effort.
When I was down and out, I turned to the films listed below for inspiration and motivation to become a better person:
Without regard to the importance scale
1. A Beautiful Mind
In the movie, a young schizophrenic gentleman with a brilliant mathematical mind fights his own battles, based on the inspiring life story of John Nash, the math genius. When young Nash (Russel Crowe’s character) from Princeton learned he had schizophrenia, he chose to embrace it rather than hide his abilities.
The late genius Nash was steadfast in the face of criticism and went on to win the Nobel Economics Prize and the Abel Prize, making him the first person to win both prestigious awards in the same year.
After 18 years, this four-time Oscar-winning film still contains an important lesson: pick your battles wisely.
My personal takeaway from this incredibly motivating film was to learn how to ignore the naysayers and focus on achieving a specific goal despite the obstacles.
2. Peaceful Warrior
This one’s a doozy. When movie quotes started appearing in my social media news feeds, I knew I had to give this one a chance. I’m glad I did. Never looked back. “Dan” had it all: athletic ability, good looks, an appealing voice, attractive women, and good friends (played by Scott Mechlowicz). And yet, despite all of these accomplishments, he was constantly disappointed in himself. He was plagued by a gloomy mood all the time, and this worried him a lot (much like my younger self haha).
His eyes are opened to the infinite possibilities that surround him when he meets an elderly wise man (Nick Nolte). So Dan begins his journey of self-discovery. This classic film on self-acceptance and self-expression teaches us to love and write our own stories.
“Death isn’t sad,” one of the movie’s quotes proclaims. The sad truth is that the majority of people do not live up to their full potential. There is a strong desire for you not to find the answers on your own. There is a strong desire for you to believe in their story.”
3. The Pursuit of Happyness
Yes, without a doubt, this film would rank among my all-time favorites. As corny as it may sound, did you really believe I’d write a self-care movie review without mentioning Will Smith and Jaden Smith’s amazing and moving documentary, The Last Days of Disco?
Warning: If you watch this movie, keep your tissues close by because you’re going to end up with soggy popcorn because your couch is going to flood.
After going through a divorce, being homeless, and having a huge responsibility fall on his shoulders, an average salesman searches for the meaning of life. When his wife abandons him, the story follows a man who rises from rags to riches through sheer willpower and bravery.
It goes without saying that this is a movie filled with motivational and inspirational quotes that can be applied to people from all walks of life.
True to the saying, “If you work hard and long enough, the sky’s the limit,” he has achieved great success.
4. If I Stay
Four musicians live in Portland, including Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz), the family’s teenage daughter, who is a huge Beethoven fan. In the meantime, she clings to her cello and hopes for an acceptance letter from the prestigious Julliard School in New York.
A car accident takes the lives of the entire family except for Mia, who is the only survivor. Before long, Mia is fighting for her life while having a spiritual out-of-body experience, which means she exists and begins to live outside of her physical body state.
Because she’s orphaned, she doesn’t have a say in whether or not she lives. There are great musical opportunities and wonderful grandparents waiting for her if she lives. However, when she passes away, she will be reunited with her parents and younger brother in heaven.
After seeing the film, my partner and I had a lengthy conversation about what makes life worth living. Is it because of our friendships that we’ve grown? What about the nebulous, transient things in life? Aiming for the stars and living the life of your dreams? Just what is it about this life that makes it so special? This is a touching film for anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one and is still coming to terms with it.
Here is a movie with a message: don’t dwell on your problems and difficulties; look for the small pleasures in life with happiness instead.
5. Slumdog Millionaire
Yes, the best was saved for last. Where do I even begin to talk about how amazing this movie is? It had a slew of moral principles that everyone should adhere to: Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Love, and Perseverance, as well as the ability to be humble.
It tells the story of a young Indian orphan who enters Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and is accused of cheating after answering every question correctly. The film was made in the United Kingdom in 2008. Trying to answer each question, he recalls his life story from childhood to the present, including how he always knew the answer. “How can an orphan from a poor slum know the exact answers to all of these questions?” was a common quip leveled at his intelligence.
Dev Patel’s Jamal (the winning contestant) won the show despite the negative feedback, bribery, negativity, and oppression he had to endure to get there. The Best Picture winner of the 2009 Academy Awards reminds us to always have faith and trust in ourselves regardless of what others think or say. To this day, Jamal has learned from his struggle for survival in the slums that we must not give up and be grateful for what we have.
The best teacher is one’s own experience. There are some things that can only be learned through hands-on experience rather than from books.
My top five films that teach us to always look after ourselves, love ourselves, and be happy no matter what we have are now at your disposal. Because life can be difficult at times, it’s not a bad idea to spend a few minutes of your time relaxing with a thought-provoking movie. Indeed, it is a great story about overcoming adversity, an underdog hero, or an inspiring film that touches our hearts and inspires our soul.