500 Days of Summer is an offbeat romantic comedy directed by Marc Webb. The rom-com stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel as the lead romantic interests. The film could be seen as a romance for grown-ups or as a deeply honest love story but ultimately, 500 Days of Summer is about heartbreak. The film is about a woman who doesn’t believe in love and the young man who falls in love with her.
“You can’t ascribe great cosmic significance to a simple earthly event. Coincidence, that’s all anything ever is, nothing more than coincidence… Tom had finally learned, there are no miracles. There’s no such thing as fate, nothing is meant to be. He knew, he was sure of it now.” – Narrator
Time travel is a concept that appeals to every one of us. Who wouldn’t want to change past mistakes? However, it’s impossible to tell how our past actions, good or bad, have impacted our lives and what we’d lose if we changed them. This idea is at the core of About Time. The film is about a young man who discovers he can travel in time and change his past. About Time may seem like a love story at first glance but it’s actually a film about what’s important in life.
“We’re all traveling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.” – Tim
Pixar films are often both critically acclaimed and commercial successes. Soul is one of Pixar’s more recent releases that proves to be surprisingly existential. The film is about a New York jazz pianist who suddenly finds himself trapped between life and death after landing the gig of a lifetime. Soul is Pixar’s most ambitious film yet by conveying the notion that our dreams lead us down certain paths in life, but they are not our purpose for living.
“I heard this story about a fish. He swims up to this older fish and says, “I’m trying to find this thing they call the ocean.” “The ocean?” says the older fish. “That’s what you’re in right now.” “This?” says the young fish. “This is water. What I want is the ocean.” – Dorothea
If you find yourself constantly daydreaming about adventures and scenarios, then this film was made for you. Ben Stiller directs and stars in this comedy-drama which was based on the short story written by James Thurber. The film follows Walter Mitty, a daydreamer, who decides to embark on an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. The tagline may be blunt but it sums up the film perfectly, stop dreaming and start living.
“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” – Walter Mitty
Charlie Kauffman is no stranger to making deeply philosophical movies and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is no exception. The sci-fi drama explores something we all wish we had, the ability to forget a painful memory. The film follows an estranged couple as they undergo a procedure that will erase each other from their memories. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will touch a part of your heart with its brutal relatability.
“Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders.” – Mary quoting Frederich Nietzsche
Wild is based on the true story of Cheryl Strayed, a woman who hiked 1,100 miles through the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild is a barebones and honest look at a woman’s journey to find herself again after a tragedy and divorce. Reese Witherspoon plays Strayed in the film and gives a dynamic performance. Wild will resonate for those who are travelers and those who push their limits in life.
“There is a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.” – Cheryl
Yes Man will inspire you to consider every opportunity that comes your way. At the start of the film, the protagonist is a reflection of many people who live their lives today. He is risk-averse and stuck in a dull daily routine, but after a bitter divorce, he falls under the sway of a self-help guru who urges him to say yes to everything that comes his way for a year. Many people have tried this experiment for themselves, and it has changed their lives.
“The world’s a playground. You know that when you are a kid, but somewhere along the way everyone forgets it.” – Allison
The Pursuit of Happyness is a realistic and harsh portrayal of what it’s like to be poor in America. The film was based on a memoir written by Chris Gardner. It depicts Gardner’s one-year struggle being homeless. This was the first film Will Smith starred in along his son Jaden Smith. As evident by the title, the film has a happy ending, but it also teaches you what it means to persevere and overcome.
“It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?” – Chris
There are certain films that stick with you for life. They subtly influence your perceptions of reality for better or worse. Dead Poets Society is one of those films that will transform your outlook on life for the better. The late Robin Williams gave a notable performance in this film as a teacher who uses poetry to embolden his boarding school students to new heights of self-expression.
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” – John
Into The Wild embodies what an inspiring movie is. It has heart, a journey to find oneself, and deeply profound ideas that will make you rethink your life. The film is based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, a man in the 1990s who abandoned his possessions, savings, and family to hike across America into the Alaskan wilderness. Into The Wild quite literally takes you out of consumerist society and into the wilderness. The ironic lesson of the film is that what makes life worth living are the people you share it with.
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous human spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” –
Magnolia explores how interwoven and interconnected every human being is on this large yet small world. Life is full of relationships, coincidences, and actions, all of which make up the story of this film. Magnolia is about one random day in the San Fernando Valley where a dying father, a young wife, a male caretaker, a famous lost son, a police officer in love, a boy genius, an ex-boy genius, a game show host, and an estranged daughter become apart of an epic search of love, forgiveness, and meaning. By the end of Magnolia, you’ll be thinking of how even the smallest actions can affect others in a huge way.
“We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us.” – Jimmy
Terrance Malick has always been a visual director and The Tree of Life is defiantly the most beautiful film on this list. The film works like poetry with beautiful images, profound narration, and an inspiring story. Malick’s film is not for everyone. It’s slow-paced and experimental. However, the themes of nature vs grace amongst others, are thought-provoking and will encourage a change in your outlook of life.
“The nuns taught us there are two ways through life, the way of Nature and the way of Grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow.
Grace doesn’t try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries.
Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things.” – Mrs. O’Brien
Life is an unpredictable journey and it’s hard not to get lost at least once. Life-changing movies can help you find your way again, and maybe even change the way you look at life. It only takes one unique perspective to inspire you and at least one of these films will help you see things in a new way.
“In every change, in every falling leaf there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.” – Amit Ray
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