Origin: 8 Similar Movies That Explore Racism and Caste Bias

Ava DuVernay brings to life the profound narrative of ‘Origin,’ a biographical drama inspired by Isabel Wilkerson’s groundbreaking book, ‘Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.’ Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor embodies the role of Wilkerson, supported by a stellar cast including Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Niecy Nash-Betts, Nick Offerman, and Blair Underwood.

The 2023 film delves into the unspoken forces shaping America, unraveling the intricate web of a caste system. As Wilkerson, portrayed by Ellis-Taylor, grapples with personal tragedy, ‘Origin’ explores her journey of global inquiry and discovery, tracing the powerful exploration of human divisions that define lives today. If you seeking an engaging cinematic experience, these 8 movies like ‘Origin’ will surely give you one.

8. Precious (2009)

Directed by Lee Daniels, ‘Precious’ is a gritty drama that follows the life of Precious Jones, a teenage girl facing unimaginable abuse and adversity in Harlem. Starring Gabourey Sidibe in a breakout role, the film explores Precious’s journey from despair to empowerment through education and self-discovery. The cast also includes Mo’Nique, who delivers a powerful performance as Precious’s abusive mother. ‘Precious’ mirrors the raw societal exploration seen in ‘Origin,’ delving into the challenges faced by marginalized individuals and the transformative power of resilience. Both films serve as poignant reflections on the human spirit’s triumph over adversity.

7. A Time to Kill (1996)

In Joel Schumacher’s ‘A Time to Kill,’ adapted from John Grisham’s novel, the small town of Clanton becomes the stage for a gripping courtroom drama. Matthew McConaughey plays defense attorney Jake Brigance, tasked with defending a black man, portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, who took justice into his own hands after his daughter’s brutal assault. The stellar cast includes Sandra Bullock, Kevin Spacey, and Donald Sutherland.

The film, while distinct from ‘Origin,’ weaves a narrative of racial injustice, highlighting the shortcomings of the legal system and the moral dilemmas faced in the pursuit of justice. Both films resonate with the societal impact of legal proceedings and the challenges inherent in navigating a flawed system.

6. Crash (2004)

While ‘Origin’ and ‘Crash’ approach their narratives differently, they share a common ground in examining societal intricacies and the human impact of systemic issues. Directed by Paul Haggis, ‘Crash’ interweaves various storylines to unravel racial tensions and prejudices in Los Angeles. The film’s ensemble cast, including Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, and Matt Dillon, highlights how individual lives intersect, ultimately exposing the complexities of race, class, and identity. Much like ‘Origin,’ ‘Crash’ navigates the emotional landscape of its characters, offering a poignant reflection on the broader implications of societal structures and the connections that bind us all.6

5. American History X (1998)

In ‘American History X,’ directed by Tony Kaye, the exploration of societal complexities mirrors the thematic resonance found in ‘Origin.’ Edward Norton delivers a powerhouse performance as Derek Vinyard, a former neo-Nazi seeking redemption. The film delves into racism, redemption, and the generational impact of hate. Its raw intensity and unflinching portrayal of social issues create a parallel with ‘Origin’s’ examination of systemic problems. Both films illuminate the human struggle within societal frameworks, with ‘American History X’ providing a harrowing journey through prejudice, redemption, and the transformative power of empathy.

4. Do the Right Thing (1989)

Spike Lee’s ‘Do the Right Thing‘ echoes the societal exploration found in ‘Origin,’ albeit through a distinct lens. Set in a Brooklyn neighborhood on a scorching summer day, the film scrutinizes racial tensions, police brutality, and systemic inequalities. Lee, who directed and starred in the film, crafts a vibrant narrative that challenges viewers to confront the complexities of race relations. With a stellar ensemble cast, including Danny Aiello, John Turturro, and Rosie Perez, ‘Do the Right Thing’ paints a nuanced picture of societal fractures, mirroring ‘Origin’s’ commitment to unraveling the intricate web of social issues within the fabric of human experience.

3. Just Mercy (2019)

In ‘Just Mercy,’ directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the pursuit of justice intertwines with societal exploration, aligning with the thematic resonance found in ‘Origin.’ Michael B. Jordan stars as Bryan Stevenson, a real-life attorney dedicated to defending wrongly convicted prisoners. The film confronts systemic racism and the flaws within the legal system, drawing parallels with ‘Origin’s’ examination of societal structures. With a cast including Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson, ‘Just Mercy’ amplifies the human stories behind legal battles, emphasizing the importance of empathy and perseverance in the face of institutional failures, thus resonating with the impactful storytelling seen in ‘Origin.’

2. Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight,’ directed by Barry Jenkins, mirrors the societal introspection found in ‘Origin’ through a poignant exploration of identity, race, and sexuality. Divided into three acts, the film traces the life of a young, black man named Chiron as he navigates his evolving sense of self in a tough Miami neighborhood. Jenkins’ tender storytelling and the exceptional performances by the cast, including Mahershala Ali and Trevante Rhodes, unravel the problematic layers of societal expectations and personal growth. ‘Moonlight’ resonates with ‘Origin’ in its intimate portrayal of human struggles within the broader context of societal expectations, emphasizing the universality of the quest for self-discovery and acceptance.

1. The Hate U Give (2018)

A must-watch for enthusiasts of ‘Origin,’ ‘The Hate U Give,’ directed by George Tillman Jr., confronts societal problems with unflinching realism. Anchored by Amandla Stenberg’s compelling portrayal, the film unravels the aftermath of a police shooting and a young girl’s journey to activism. Like ‘Origin,’ it dives deep into the human impact of systemic issues, offering a resonant exploration of race, identity, and activism. With a stellar cast including Regina Hall and Russell Hornsby, ‘The Hate U Give’ seamlessly combines personal narratives with broader societal reflections, delivering a powerful cinematic experience that amplifies the call for empathy and societal transformation.

Read More: Where Was Origin (2023) Filmed?