People watch movies for a lot of different reasons.
Some people watch for the escape. De-stressing after their 9-5 job, and turning their brain “off” with an action flick.
Other people watch for the artistry. Observing the camera angles, the technicalities of the three acts, or the way the director makes decision.
I watch movies for a different reason.
I love the characters.
I watch movies because I want to build more compassion — and understand people who are not like me. I want to know how to handle relationships. I want to see how people interact with each other during moments of challenge. And, I want to be inspired by the beauty of having courage to do something risky.
Some people might think movies are too unrealistic to use as inspiration for our daily lives.
Maybe some are (Can we really be a superhero?). But so many movies have helped me heal my own wounds. And, see through the eyes of others who are wounded — and how they heal.
Here are some of my favorite movies that I watched in 2020 and 2021.
They helped me sympathize, appreciate the human journey, and inspired me to better think about my relationships.
- The Speed Cubers – Netflix. Short documentary flick that shows the compassion behind sportsmanship.
- Yes, God, Yes – Netflix. Short, funny flick that helps us laugh about sexuality and the myths we believe as teenagers.
- My Octopus Teacher – Netflix. Loved this one. Weird name, but absolutely my favorite documentary of 2020. Heartwarming, touching, sad. All the feelings.
- The Forty-Year-Old Version – Netflix. I didn’t think this movie would stick with me, but it has more than expected. A neat movie about a woman having the courage of a career change.
- I’m No Longer Here – Netflix. Loved, LOVED this movie. Such a touching movie that doesn’t fall into typical Hollywood tropes. Beautifully shot, amazing music, and such a unique and interesting world.
- John Was Trying to Contact Aliens – Netflix. Only 16 minutes long, but packs an absolute punch. A heartwarming mini-documentary that made me smile. He found what we’re all looking for.
- Ex Machina – Netflix. Came out a while ago, but I finally watched it and was blown away. I can see why this had so much hype. I built real compassion for the characters.
- Nomadland – Hulu. Such an incredible movie. This is the most-hyped awards movie of 2020, and for good reason. One of the most intentional, beautifully-shot movies I’ve ever seen. It’s slow and methodical, but the character expose is amazing.
- Boys State – Apple TV+. One of the craziest documentaries I’ve ever seen. Not a “feel good” documentary, probably the opposite for most, but it’s an eye-opening look into how politicians are formed.
- Soul – Disney+. What a treat. Takes such a complex topic (the Oversoul, Heaven, etc.) and simplifies it visually in a really beautiful way that also resonates with my spiritual beliefs.
- Onward – Disney+. This got more flak than other Disney movies, but as someone who lost their father when they were young, I loved it. It helped bring me some closure. I’m always impressed by Pixar. Shout-out to my friend Mike Stern who helps makes their movies beautiful.
- Clouds – Disney+. Absolute tear-jerker. This movie was so precious, and the characters are so well-told in such a beautiful story. I really enjoyed it.
- First Cow – Showtime. Another awards darling. I loved the intentionality, the quietness, the character growth of this movie. In a world with so much noise, it’s beautiful to watch how things used to be.
However you watch movies, I hope you find the recommendations above helpful.