There are a few times in life when we pause, take a step back, and question our actions, thoughts, and even more rarely, our beliefs. For the introspective ones, it can happen on-the-go, but for the rest it is mostly an external force which pushes them to do so. And for the ‘cinemaholics’ such as us, that questioning in the pursuit of changing ourselves can be a matter of a movie experience! Yes, certain movies can totally transport us to the hidden places in our minds which we had never visited earlier, and help us bring about that transformation that we needed. This list is dedicated to a few such movies that you should watch if you want to change yourself for good. Happy transforming!
1. Samsara (2011)
This no-narration documentary, shot in twenty-five different countries over a period of five years, has its own quiet effect on the minds of its viewers. The mind is led to wander freely and explore, as the scenes take us through the aspects of our daily, modern life. It gives us an in-depth view of the mundane things that we do and live on, from technology to cosmetics to processed food, and leaves us with the taste of doubt in our mouths. Later, it gives us a view of some of the most simple and miraculous wonders of life. The scene, where a bald-tattooed father rocks his baby-daughter while she sleeps, will bring you a serene kind of a joy. Such is this movie’s silence. It will stay with you, and will hopefully leave you to question it all i.e. the ‘Samsara’ which means the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
2. The Terminal (2004)
When director Steven Spielberg and actor Tom Hanks come together to tell an inspiring story through a comical-drama, it is bound to be nothing short of brilliance. ‘The Terminal’ was partially based on the story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who apparently had to stay in the Terminal 1 of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, France, from 1988 to 2006 (18-long years). The mere imagination of the situation would have left us horrified but, the adaptation of the story and the endearing performance by Tom Hanks will reinstate your faith in innocence and in a man’s will to find a silver lining in his darkest cloud. This story can help us change our outlook towards all the tough situations that we face in life, from ‘why me’ to ‘what is the best I can do now’.
3. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
One of the most inspiring movies of all time, this one doesn’t need much reasoning to be on this list. This biographical drama based on the struggle of entrepreneur Chris Gardner, is a tale of perseverance and faith. Will Smith’s own grit as an actor is evident as he does a both powerful and touching portrayal of Gardner’s lowest time in life before he made it as the owner of a million dollar firm. Chris’s character would leave you with an inspiration to look into the eyes of every hardship, to fight it back, to never give up, and most importantly to hold your head high while you are at it.
4. The Secret (2006)
‘The Secret’ is a documentary-style movie which explains the ‘law of attraction’ and the power of your thoughts in creating your life. It showcases a series of interviews where people share how visualization can actually help you manifest your reality just the way you want it to be. It may not explain exactly how the science works, but it will definitely show you examples of how certain people, including some of the most successful ones, have reached where they are. This documentary will leave you with an idea, at the least, that your thoughts are the most powerful tools that you have, and that the awareness of those thoughts that you create ALL The Time is utmost crucial in shaping your life.
5. The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Certain sequences of this sci-fi thriller might give you shivers, but if you connect it well with the actual ‘chaos theory’ then you can definitely take away a sort of creepy insight into how our little actions play a major role in the larger scheme of things. Evan (Ashton Kutcher) finds a way to go back into time to change certain things in his past, so he can have a different present. He time travels only to realise that each time he tries to play with his destiny, the effect of it worsens either his or someone else’s present. After watching this movie, you will have two things to remember: 1) your life today is a result of your actions in the past. So, make those choices wisely as there will always be an effect to the cause and that the scope of that effect is much larger than just you. 2) Do not try and change the past simply because you cannot.
6. The Ultimate Gift (2006)
This American drama-film may not have received much name at the box-office, but it did earn the well-deserved recognition for its story, based on the novel by Jim Stovall, through DVDs. The story is about Jason (Drew Fuller) under-going a complete transformation as his deceased, billionaire-grandfather leaves a list of tasks for him before he could inherit anything from his property. The tasks at hand make him cherish the real pleasures of life, and show him that money couldn’t have bought him the happiness which sincere hard work and meaningful relationships could bring. You are bound to enjoy and learn as you tag along with Jason on his ride to transformation.
7. Schindler’s List (1993)
Now, there is more than one way to get inspired to bring a change in your life after an experience such as watching this one. Considered as one of the most sensitive tales based on the holocaust, and also as one of the greatest movies of our time, ‘Schindler’s List’ is an epic, historical-drama which is bound to shake your core. Director and co-producer Steven Spielberg will transport you to one of the most horrific times in our history, as he narrates the story of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a shrewd, German-businessman who moves to Krakow during World War II with an ambition to make a fortune, but later becomes the reason to save the lives of more than a thousand Polish-Jews. This movie is more than a lesson on our history. It is also a lesson on humanity. We often ask that what a single man can do to bring about a change. Well, the answer is – a lot, and sometimes enough to change his own destiny along with others. So, if you wish to change yourself to give your life a higher purpose, this movie is a must watch!
8. Julie and Julia (2009)
A refreshing comedy-drama which parallelly narrates the lives of Chef Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and Julie Powell (Amy Adams) who’s a writer with a soul-crushing job. This movie is a wonderful reminder of the fact that inspiration can come anytime, from anywhere, and can be in all random shapes and forms. This movie also gives a lesson that sometimes you have to take things in your own hands instead of waiting for your destiny to bring about that turn-around that you are desperate for. Julie has a happy marriage, but is frustrated with her job as a tele-caller. She decides to start cooking for fun and then to also blog about it to keep herself motivated. As it turns out, it was not an easy task. She is pulled down time and again, but Julia becomes her soul’s voice and keeps her going in her toughest times. So, if you hate that job, quit it. If you are unhappy in that relationship, end it. If you want to start that thing you always wanted to… well, both Julie and Julia will give you a thumbs up to go ahead and do it right away!
9. The King’s Speech (2010)
How are you supposed to dodge a weakness or a defect that affects one of the most important aspects of your position and career? If you think you that have a weakness, be it physical or mental, or you think that you don’t have it enough in you to overcome that hurdle that seems too high to jump, then this movie is a must watch for you! Colin Firth has given one of the best performances of his career as Prince Albert, Duke of York, who stammers. It’s Prince Albert’s job to deliver speeches to reach out to the masses, but he has given up on finding a cure for his stammering until his wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) motivates him to see an Australian doctor Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). The Prince finds a friend and a confidante in Lionel and not only overcomes stammering, but also ascends the throne as the King.
10. The Spectacular Now (2013)
This light-hearted comedy drama may not be an inspirational ride leading to a major change in your life, but it can subtly motivate you to take things seriously and value them for what they are. Sometimes, it is okay to take things lightly, but not when it makes you directionless and even careless to an extent. Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) is a care-free teenager who is the life of every party, but has no clue when it comes to his choices after he finishes school. His ideology is to live in the now and that makes him lose sight of the things ahead of him. His ideology even pushes him to become self-centred where he hurts certain people along the way. As he gains the true knowledge of his family’s past and his father’s true character, he decides to do better and to be someone better. This choice of improving his life and his relationships makes him see the ‘Spectacular Now’!