10 Movies To Help Build Self Esteem

January 31, 2022 | Benjamin Carpenter

It’s no secret that today’s generations have had their self esteem negatively affected by social media. In the age of technology, people are more aware than ever of the accomplishments and images of others, which inevitably leads to comparisons to others. Many studies have found evidence that social media can increase users risk of developing mental health issues. In fact, a report estimated that 85% of people all over the world experience low self esteem.

When it comes to boosting self esteem, sometimes a good movie is all you need to inspire you to love yourself as you are. Whether you’re dealing with body image, anxiety, trauma, or loneliness, here are 10 movies to help build self esteem.


10 Movies About Self Love

10. Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting is the first movie Ben Affleck and Matt Damon created together. It turned out to be an overnight success for the actor/filmmaker duo and it also is a realistic portrayal of how defense mechanisms are built by traumatic events. The movie is about Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., who has a gift for mathematics but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life. Robin Williams gives a masterful performance as the psychologist who tears down Will’s defensive walls one by one.


“He pushes people away before they get a chance to leave him. It’s a defense mechanism. And for 20 years he’s been alone because of that. And if you push him right now, it’s gonna be the same thing all over again and I’m not gonna let that happen to him.” – Sean


Where To Watch Good Will Hunting



If you are looking for more uplifting films to watch, then check out our list of inspirational movies that will change your outlook on life.

9. About Time

Our past mistakes have a lot to do with how we see ourselves in the present. But what if you could change your past mistakes? How would that change your life? About Time is a movie that follows a young man who discovers he can travel in time and change his past. Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson star in the movie that proves to be much more than just a romance. The film has many positive themes and an ending that may have you rethinking how you view your past.


“Lesson Number One: All the time traveling in the world can’t make someone love you.” – Tim


Where to Watch About Time For $3.99

Apple TV
Google Play Movies & TV
Prime Video



8. The Toy Story Series

Instead of choosing just one Toy Story movie, we decided to list all of them because all of them tell stories relevant to self esteem. The story actually begins because of Woody’s low self esteem when Buzz Lightyear arrives and even in the fourth movie, Woody’s insecurities are at the center of the story. The Toy Story movies are a testament to how far animation has come since 1995, and it also stays consistently high-quality over twenty four years.


“He’s not lost. Not Anymore.” – Buzz Lightyear


Where To Watch The Toy Story Series

Disney Plus


7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

There is rarely a more insecure and awkward time than when you are a teenager. Between high school and social hierarchies, being a teenager brings a lot of peer pressure to embody a certain image. The Perks of Being a Wallflower deals with all of these themes by having a shy and insecure main character. The movie is based on the book of the same name and follows an introverted high school freshman who is taken under the wings of two seniors that welcome him to their world. The Perks of Being a Wallflower demonstrates how people can blossom when they feel accepted by the people around them.


“We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Charlie


Where To Watch The Perks of Being a Wallflower



6. Penelope

This fantasy is a modern day fairytale that is bound to charm you by its heartwarming story. The romance is a definitive story about insecurity and low self esteem. Penelope is about a modern romantic tale about a young aristocratic heiress born under a curse that can only be broken when she finds true love with “one who will accept her as one of their own.” The movie not only has a great cast including a young James McAvoy, but also has an appealing message.


“This isn’t me, the real me is inside here somewhere just waiting to get out and you can make that happen” – Penelope


Where To Watch Penelope

Prime Video w/ Freevee
The Roku Channel
Pluto TV


5. Isn’t It Romantic

Isn’t It Romantic is a hilarious comedy that makes fun of the typical rom-coms while taking its narrative in an unexpected direction. The movie is about a young woman who is disenchanted with love and mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy. Rebel Wilson is a force of amusement in the film and defies the romantic comedy conventions that the female lead needs to look like a Victoria’s Secret Model in order for a film to be successful.


“You can search the entire universe and never find a being more worthy of love than yourself.” – Donny


Where To Watch Isn’t It Romantic For $3.99

Prime Video
Google Play Movies & TV
Apple TV


4. Lady Bird

Coming-of-age stories are some of the best movies about self love. Lady Bird tells an extremely realistic story about all of the ordinary things that teenagers experience. The story may be ordinary but the movie as a whole transcends most in its genre. The movie is about a teenager who navigates a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother over the course of an eventful and poignant senior year of high school. Greta Gerwig’s teen dramedy is full of quirkiness and incredible acting that will leave a smile on your face.


“We’re afraid that we will never escape our past. We’re afraid of what the future will bring. We’re afraid we won’t be loved, we won’t be liked. And we won’t succeed.” – Parish Priest


Where To Watch Lady Bird



Read More: Best Comedies of the 2010s

3. Eighth Grade

Middle school is an insecure time for most people, and now with social media it’s even worse. Bo Burnham explores how modern day adolescents communicate in his directorial debut, Eighth Grade. The movie is about an introverted teenage girl who tries to survive the last week of her disastrous eighth grade year before leaving to start high school. Kayla Day, the main character, is awkward, shy and full of insecurities; yet at the end has a newfound love for herself.


“You’re wrong. If you grow up to have a daughter like you, she will make you so so happy. Being your dad makes me so happy, Kayla. You don’t know; you don’t know how happy you make me. It’s beyond… I can’t describe it. It’s so easy to love you. It’s so easy to… to be proud of you. I’m not just saying this. I swear to God, I’m not just saying this. Sure, sometimes if I see you’re upset or having a rough day, then I feel sad. But that kind of being sad, that sort of day-to-day sad, or worrying that I do, that’s not… Kayla, always beneath all that, I am always so unbelievably happy that I get to be your dad.” – Mark Day


Where to watch Eighth Grade



2. Frances Ha

Greta Gerwig writes and stars in Frances Ha as one of the most charming characters she has ever played. The movie captures the late 20’s malaise with incredible accuracy while still adding a quirky spin on the subject matter. Frances Ha is about a New York woman who apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer) and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as the possibility of realizing them dwindles. The movie is a strange but thoughtful film that gives thanks to friends in your low moments.


“It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it… but it’s a party… and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining… and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes… but – but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual… but because… that is your person in this life.” – Frances Ha


Where To Watch Frances Ha

Prime Video w/ IFC Unlimited or AMC +


1. Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire made waves when it first came out in 2009. It even won an Academy Award for Best Picture. The film is one of the most inspirational stories you can watch. Slumdog Millionaire is about a Mumbai teenager who reflects on his life after being accused of cheating on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”. The movie is an exhilarating ride with lovely performances and a heartwarming story, which make it the best movie to improve your self esteem.


“Run away with me.”

“And live on what?” – Latika

“Love…” – Jamal


Where To Watch Slumdog Millionaire

The Roku Channel (Free)


Self Esteem Is Important For Everyday Life

Self esteem can be volatile, going up and down. However, what we think of ourselves can heavily affect how we see the world. With social media and self esteem seemingly being lower than ever recorded, it is important to engage in activities that will increase your self esteem. These 10 movies about self esteem will make you laugh, cry and, most importantly of all, feel good about yourself.


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