Top 5 Films With Life Lessons

Written by Marija Bozovic November 17, 2011

 

Once in a while little gems of cinema emerge that cause you to think about purpose in life: sometimes to do with the way you view your own life, or the way you think about other people with life experiences vastly different from your own. I believe what makes a film truly special is when it contains life lessons that transcend the differences between us. I found all of these films inspiring and uplifting, in differing ways. Each one has a special message about the human condition. Here’s my personal top 5 list of films that made me smile, cry, and reflect on life.

 

5. The Blind Side

Based on the inspiring true story of Michael Oher, a homeless teen who had been misunderstood and written off by so many in his life. Michael (“Big Mike”) played by Quinton Aaron, is taken under the wing of perfect strangers, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy. With a drug-addicted mother and an unknown father, Michael had always felt a deep longing for a family bond. While at first the focus seems to rest on Leigh Anne’s extraordinary kindness towards Michael, their relationship quickly evolves into one in which they mutually benefit each-others’ lives in a profound way. The film emphasizes both Michael’s realization of his dream and the work he commits to realize it, and the way Leigh Anne develops a deeper appreciation for life through her relationship with Michael. This film encompasses the true meaning of family.

4. I am Sam

Sam Dawson, a man with a developmental disability, cares for his daughter Lucy as a single parent. Difficulties arise when Lucy begins holding back in school in an attempt not to surpass her father’s level of intelligence. Sean Penn’s performance as Sam is seriously impressive, and the movie does a fantastic job of showing the world through Sam’s eyes. At times heart-warming, at times heart wrenching, this film has a consistent and powerful message of hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable difficulties. The emphasis of I am Sam is on the incredible bond between Sam and Lucy, both Sam’s determination to fight for his daughter, and Lucy’s fierce protectiveness of her father. The heart of this movie is the message of the incredible strength we obtain when we are fighting for the ones we love. Beatles fans will appreciate the movie’s soundtrack, full of covers of the classics.

3. The Pursuit of Happyness

Based on the uplifting true story of Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith, this film delves into the incredible motivation of a man driven by his love for his son and his desire to provide him with a positive role model. Gardner struggles through enormous adversities and hardships to achieve success. Initially struggling to get by with a venture of bone density scanners he had invested in, Gardner becomes interested in stock broking and begins working relentlessly to achieve his goal. The Pursuit of Happyness emphasizes the powerful notion that when we go to extraordinary lengths to chase our dreams, we can overcome even the most difficult circumstances to obtain those dreams. This film has a truly inspiring message of the strength that arises out of whole heartedly holding on to a goal and not letting go.

2. Slumdog Millionaire

This film explores the journey of a young man named Jamal Malik, played by Dev Patel, through his impoverished upbringing in Mumbai, India. Jamal, accused of cheating on India’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, is continuously pegged with the label of ‘slumdog’ and repeatedly deals with negativity from those who try to impose the belief on him that he doesn’t deserve a better life. Jamal endures countless trials and difficulties, but consistently and unwaveringly rejects the notion that he cannot rise to a better life. The difficulties he endures are ultimately what provide him with the strength to take the hot seat on the game show viewed by millions in India. With beautiful, scenic images of the many facets of India, this film has an explosive musical soundtrack that gives it a cool, edgy feel. Slumdog Millionaire is a celebratory film that truly shows a person’s ability to reject the path laid out for one’s life, and the ability to take your destiny into your own hands.

1. Pay it Forward

A young boy named Trevor, played by Haley Joel Osment, takes a challenge set to him by his teacher to heart: to help three people in need, with the hope that they will then help three other people and so forth. This film emphasizes the power within each of us to inflict positive change and repeatedly challenges the notion that one person cannot make a profound difference. The courageous nature of Trevor is at the heart of this film and truly delivers a powerful message: to look outside of the confines of the bubble of our lives to the bigger picture, to the human community we share regardless of our differences. This film is truly unique in the way that it appeals to universal notions and feelings, and I think everyone should see it. Make sure you have tissues handy.

 

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  1. Josh is going to love your first pick. Aren’t you Josh ?

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