Films have the ability to transport us into a world that we can connect with on all sorts of levels. They can inspire us, teach us, challenge our beliefs, make us cry in the sorrow or laugh in the ridiculousness and in the current climate it has never been more apparent that we need to keep positive and remind ourselves just how capable we are. .
The 10 films below do just that. They shine bright reminding us that not only are we capable of excelling beyond what we think is possible but we can do so whilst facing our deepest of demons. We all have the capability to be exceptional. Let's get into the list.
The perks of being a wallflower
"Socially awkward teen Charlie always seems to be watching life from the sidelines, until two charismatic students become his mentors. Free-spirited Sam and her stepbrother Patrick help Charlie discover the joys of friendship, first love, music and more, while a teacher sparks Charlie's dreams of becoming a writer. However, as his new friends prepare to leave for college, Charlie's inner sadness threatens to shatter his newfound confidence."
I love this film, far more than I thought I would. It's an odd analogy but the perks of being a wallflower is just a really wonderfully pretty film yet heart breaking at the same time. You'll come out of it feeling a little warmer.
A Beautiful Mind
"A human drama inspired by events in the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., and in part based on the biography "A Beautiful Mind" by Sylvia Nasar. From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity through his disability, John Forbes Nash Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of Schizophrenia & self-discovery"
I have never seen a film (apart from this one) that depicts the struggle with his schizophrenia disability in a healthy accurate way and yes although we have to journey with John Nash through his truly desperate struggle in the end he finds a way home that ends with him achieving more than most of us can only dream of.
Silver Linings Playbook
"After losing his job and wife, and spending time in a mental institution, Pat Solatano winds up living with his parents. He wants to rebuild his life and reunite with his wife, but his parents would be happy if he just shared their obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles. Things get complicated when Pat meets Tiffany, who offers to help him reconnect with his wife, if he will do something very important for her in exchange!"
"Los Angeles columnist Steve Lopez has reached an impasse in his life. His marriage is on the rocks, and he's disillusioned with his job. Then, while wandering through L.A.'s Skid Row, he spots a homeless man playing a two-stringed violin with a virtuoso's skill. Lopez initially thinks of the man, named Nathaniel Ayers, as just a story idea. But as he begins to unravel the mystery of Ayers' strange fate, Lopez realises that a change is happening within himself"
It always amazes me that the most gifted of people are the ones that are the most misunderstood and this no exception. It shows the struggles that some have in connecting with others that have mental wellness issues but it ends by showing that when these connections are made they often run deeper and are more meaningful than others.
"When car dealer Charlie Babbitt learns that his estranged father has died, he returns home to Cincinnati, where he discovers that he has an autistic older brother named Raymond and that his father's $3 million fortune is being left to the mental institution in which Raymond lives. Motivated by his father's money, Charlie checks Raymond out of the facility in order to return with him to Los Angeles. The brothers' cross-country trip ends up changing both their lives"
What Raymond could do with his mind is awe inspiring but his struggle operating in a world that doesn’t seem to be able to make a space for him is very apparent however we come to end though and see how family love can be the exception.
I am Sam
"I Am Sam is the compelling story of Sam Dawson, a mentally-challenged father raising his daughter Lucy with the help of a unique group of friends. As Lucy turns seven and begins to intellectually surpass her father, their close bond is threatened when their unconventional living arrangement comes to the attention of a social worker who wants Lucy placed in foster care"
This film asks the question “When is it, if at all that people should be able to intervene into a family dynamic where the parental figure is not the most conventional of parents”. I'd love to know your answer to that!
"Kicked out by his parents, a gay teenager leaves small-town Indiana for New York's Greenwich Village, where growing discrimination against the LGBT community leads to riots on June 28, 1969!"
How could I not put in a LGBT+ related film and this one depicts probably one of the biggest events in the LGBT journey. It’s when we started to fight back as a community and say “NO” - we are enough and we deserve the same treatment and rights as everyone else. If you want a bit of LGBT education, I'd definitely say start with this.
"True-life drama of a father and mother who battled against the odds to save their son's life. Augusto and Michaela Odone are dealt a cruel blow by fate: five-year-old Lorenzo is diagnosed with a rare disability and incurable disease, but the Odones' persistence and faith leads to the cure which saves their boy"
How far would you go for your child? For Lorenzo’s parents the answer was to completely re-write medical history and find a way to connect with their child when the world said they couldn’t. This is a real oldie but goodie….. You’ll love it.
"In 1935 when it is more common for Irish families to leave their famine-stricken country for America, the impoverished McCourt family does the reverse. Following the sudden death of her 7-week-old daughter, Angela and her unemployable, alcoholic husband, Malachy Sr, set sail from New York Harbour to Cork with their four children"
This film is a constant reminder that no matter how much pain you have to go through, we all have the ability to not just survive in life but thrive as well.
"Four teenage friends from Hell's Kitchen end up being sent to reform school after almost killing a man. There they are brutalised by the guards. John and Tommy grow up to be hit men who recognise their abuser years later and kill him. Their trial is prosecuted by another member of their gang, who is now the assistant DA"
How far are you allowed to go for justice and revenge? This thought provoking film has a very definite answer to that question and I would find it difficult to argue with these guys....... Such a good film.
Everyone one of us, especially with what's going on in the world right now with the Coronavirus will have our mental health tested and challenged and I think if we can find strength from the journey of others and maybe have a little bit of escapism for a few hours then it's a job done well.