Grab some popcorn and get ready to be inspired.
We watch movies for many contradictory reasons. For example, we watch them to bond with others but we also watch them when we want to be alone. They’re used to form an emotional connection with those on the screen or to escape the distressing reality you’re facing.
Universally, they are to find what you’re looking for in someone else. This is not to say that every time you watch a movie you have to be fully invested in the story but if you’re looking for a distraction, a laugh, a cry, or an inspiration, movies can be a perfect way to find it. The characters can make you forget whatever may be stressing you out or can help you work through hypothetical scenarios.
The movies that inspire me the most usually catch me off guard. If I walk into a theater expecting a revelation, I won’t get one only because the anticipation is usually greater than the reality. Instead, it’s best to walk in blind and cautiously optimistic. For example, when I saw La La Land for the first time, I only vaguely knew it was a musical. Therefore, every song and tap dance blew me away. I was right there with the characters, feeling it all as if for the first time.
Music isn’t the only way to feel goosebumps. From a particularly moving monologue or a statement so passionately declared, we can be moved to tears. Furthermore, sadness isn’t the only powerful emotion. You can, with the same pounding in your chest, cheer a character on. Even when you’re angry, that rage against someone not making the right decisions can force to act better or differently when put in a similar situation.
Inspiration happens when you break from any previous thought or emotion. When you stop and realize that you’ve never considered a possibility, an idea, or an outlook, you are altered from that point on.
Here are 15 movies to watch when you are looking for a little inspiration in life or love.
1. Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting is the story of a boy and his therapist. It goes much deeper than that but for the sake of spoilers, that’s all I’ll say. This film gives you have an appreciation for humanity. It shows depth and raw emotion. If you need to feel like you’re enough, or that your feelings are valid, I would highly recommend watching this film.
2. Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshine is about family and self-discovery. It reminds audiences not only to accept who they are but to wear your skin proudly. It also shows how important the people are who love you unconditionally.
Gattaca is about going after what you want. It’s about giving your all to everything you do. This movie exudes inspiration because it shows how to never give up. No matter how trivial your dreams might seem to others, they’re important and worth investing in.
4. La La Land
La La Land is about passion. The people you meet have such a huge impact on who you turn out to be and where. Those who care will force you to see your own potential and push you in the direction of your dreams. The soundtrack is amazing but that’s beside the point.
5. About Time
About Time is about time travel and getting the life you want for yourself. Some things are meant to be while others are meant to be given a little push. At the end of the day, you have to make the most of the life you were given.
6. 13 Going on 30
13 Going on 30 is about taking your time growing up. It also shows that no matter how old you are, you can still be young at heart and do whatever you put your mind to. Don’t let the mundane make you forget who you are or where you came from.
7. It’s A Wonderful Life
It’s A Wonderful Life is a Christmas classic that shows audiences how being good and decent won’t make life easier, but it’ll make it more fulfilling. The friends you make from showing compassion and trust are far more valuable than any material possessions. This movie reminds audiences to open their hearts.
8. The Blind Side
The Blind Side is based on a true story. It shows audiences how to look at someones character rather than their appearance. People can be kind and gentle if given the right environment to grow and tells audiences to continue to thrive in the face of adversity.
Mulan is an animated film about identity and standing up for what you believe is right. Even when the whole world is against you, you have to find the strength within yourself to keep moving forward. People will respect you if you are authentic and willing to change for the better.
Gifted is about talent and knowing what you want. When you’re a kid, no one seems to take you seriously or have your best interests at heart. Through determination and hard work, this isn’t always the case.
11. Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook is about love and mental illness. Mental illness immediately makes you stand out in society but there are always unexpected people who enter your life that make you feel normal. This movie shows that the right person can change everything and that you’ll be okay again despite all that’s happened to you.
12. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the story everyone wants to live out. Ferris is fearless and charming. He gets what he wants because he isn’t afraid of failure. Confidence is key to getting out of any situation and the musical number alone makes this movie incredible.
13. Lilo and Stitch
Lilo and Stitch is an animated movie that shows us that family doesn’t always have to be blood. It teaches us never to judge a book by its cover or you will miss out on some unlikely friends. Most importantly, it proves that anyone is lovable. No matter how broken you are, you deserve nothing but the best.
14. The Pursuit of Happyness
The Pursuit of Happyness is a film about being at your lowest and rising from the ashes. You are capable of getting out of any curveball life throws at you. When all hope is lost, turn to the ones you love, work as hard as you can, and stay true to your beliefs.
15. Wreck It Ralph
Wreck It Ralph is an animated movie about the importance of not accepting your assigned role in life. You can be anyone you want to be as long as you remain kind to others. You’re the hero of your story.
Alyssa Asaro is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.