In a funk? Perhaps you’ve had a bad breakup or lost your job. Right now, things seem pretty bleak and you may need to keep things in perspective. Here’s a list of fifteen movies to help you do just that, in no particular order:
Alive (1993). Starring Ethan Hawke and Josh Hamilton. This is the true story of 35 athletes who found themselves stranded on a mountain after a plane-crash and had to take desperate measures to survive. Any day you don’t have to eat your friends is a good day.
Hotel Rwanda (2005). Starring Xolani Mali and Don Cheadle. Amidst tribal fighting and genocide, a single hotel manager finds it within himself to risk his life to save others. Your don’t know the meaning of stress until machetes are chopping up your front door.
Amistad (1997). Starring Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman and Djimon Hounsou. Africans en route to America stage a revolt aboard a Spanish slave ship La Amistad. After the mutiny against their brutal captors, the would-be-slaves must languish in prison until a U.S. court decides their fate. Fortune is not having to wear shackles.
United 93 (2006). This recent release recreates the events of September 11th aboard flight United 93, and gives viewers a glimpse into the courage and fear of the passengers on the ill-fated plane. Ponder the kind of strength you’d find inside yourself when facing this kind of no-win situation.
Titanic (1997). Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. This blockbuster tells a tale of star-crossed lovers on a fateful journey that will end in the cold, black sea. The romance is mostly a distraction from the historical story of thousands who perished under terrible conditions. If you’re safe and warm, without tons of ship-wreck threatening to drag you under the sea, you’re in good shape.
The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). Starring Millie Perkins and Joseph Childcare. A young girl and her parents are forced to hide in a small attic to escape being sent to the death camps. Horrifying and true. Watch the family struggle to stay sane under these conditions, and mourn their eventual fate. Be glad you can go outside and feel the sunshine on your face.
My Left Foot (1989). Starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Irish writer Christy Brown was born with cerebral palsy, but was misdiagnosed as being mentally disabled. His left foot was the only part of his body he was able to control, and he learned to write with it. Give thanks for every working limb you have.
Sophie’s Choice (1982). Starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. A broken woman courts tragedy in her relationship with a violent lover and cannot resolve her own inner torment. The story is fiction, but the scenario is real. Few choices in life could ever haunt a person the way Sophie’s haunted her.
The Pianist (2002). Starring Adrian Brody. A famed polish concert pianist struggles to survive after the German invasion and Nazi tyranny. Subsisting on scraps and his dreams of playing again, the pianist attempts to coerce kindness out of the darkest most depraved hearts. Could you have such faith and hope in human nature under similar circumstances?
Silk Wood (1983). Starring Meryl Streep and Kurt Russel. This docu-drama retells the tale of Karen Silk wood, who was exposed to radiation while working at an Oklahoma Power Plant. An investigation is launched, but Karen disappears before it’s completed. If you have a safe workplace, it’s nothing to take for granted.
The Insider (1999). Starring Russell Crowe and Al Pacino. Persecuted for being a whistle-blower on corporate America, a true life hero must fight the Tobacco industry to save his family, his life, and the lives of others. And you thought your job sucked?
The Hurricane (2000). Starring Denzel Washington. Boxer, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter is unjustly convicted of a triple homicide and spends nearly two decades in jail. Racism, incompetence and inertia conspire to break his spirit. Give thanks for your freedom, and for those who have faith in you.
Cry Freedom (1987). Starring Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline. In segregated South Africa, Steven Biko rises to prominence as a fighter against apartheid. He struggles against the injustice of an entire nation, and risks an unthinkable fate. What would you be willing to die for?
Thirteen Days (2001). Starring Kevin Costner. This movie tells the tale of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the United States and Russia came close to starting a worldwide nuclear holocaust. Watch young men with the weight of the literal world upon their shoulders, be glad it’s in the past, and think hard about how to keep it from happening again.
Separate But Equal (1991). Starring Sidney Poitier as Thurgood Marshall. Separate But Equal depicts the struggle fought to end legalized discrimination in our country. Imagine a time when where you ate, where you sat, where you could drink or use the bathroom were all dictated by the color of your skin? If you can’t imagine it, it’s because someone else took up this fight. Be grateful for the struggles of previous generations that helped make the world a better place for us today.
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