While there are many films which are made just for entertainment reasons, it is nice when you can get something more from a film than a few thrills and laughs. Movies have the power to change people’s minds, to make them work harder for their dreams, to give them hope, to broaden their horizons and to inspire them.
Coincidentally or not, most of the films on this list are based on real-life stories or are even documentaries. Watching an inspiring film and knowing that what you saw is (at least partially) real can be much more effective than one which turns out to be all fictive, but this is not always the case, and the third film on this list is the perfect proof.
Inspiration comes in different forms and each person might be inspired by totally different things so we tried to avoid selecting too many films in the same vein. Tell us in the comments what other movies do you recommend watching when you need inspiration.
1. 20,000 Days On Earth (2014)
For over 40 years, Nick Cave has been one of the most intriguing, influential and inspiring figures in rock music. With his long-lasting band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, he has released a vast number of records which changed the music scene of the past century. To this day, Cave continues to be one of the best songwriters/lyricists alive, always reinventing himself with each new album he produces and captivating new generations of fans with his enigmatic persona and poetic music.
Depicting a semi-fictional day in Nick Cave’s life – to be more precise his 20,000th day on Earth – this documentary/concert follows Cave through his Brighton hometown, his relationship with his family, his discussions with fellow music-partners, his work on his fifteenth studio album and his therapy sessions where he recalls memories of his past.
While this film will be best watched by those creative minds who are looking for inspiration and can’t find their muses, Nick Cave’s charming personality and his colourful conversations might turn out inspiring for the less creatively inclined viewers.
2. The Walk (2015)
Inspires: Achieving the impossible
French high-wire artist Philippe Petit became famous for his 1971 high-wire walk between the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and for his 1974 Manhattan performance when, at only 24-years-old, made eight passes along a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and, for 45 minutes, walked, saluted his watchers and danced at a quarter mile above the ground.
With remarkable visuals and special effects, suspense enough to give you sweaty palms and a great central performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk” is an inspiring movie about a man with an impossible dream and his journey of perseverance and hard work which turns the dream into reality.
3. Whiplash (2014)
Inspires: Pushing your own limits
One of the most inspiring movies of this decade, “Whiplash” follows the tense relationship between Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), a talented young jazz drummer from New York, and Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), his overly pretentious teacher who manages to get the best out of his students by pushing them to their limits – physically and psychologically.
From beginning to end, “Whiplash” is a very entertaining movie which will motivate you like no other – even if you’re not a musician. Damien Chazelle’s brilliant direction, the two amazing performances from Simmons (who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this performance) and Teller, and last but not least, the beautiful jazz music that fills most of the film make “Whiplash” a memorable experience.
4. Faces Places (2017)
Inspires: Celebrating those around you
The late French New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda was supposed to retire after her 2008 film “The Beaches of Agnès.” However, she made a triumphant return in 2017, when her Academy Award-nominated documentary “Faces Places” was released.
“Faces Places” follows Varda and French photographer JR as they travel through France’s villages and decorate building exteriors, walls or containers with huge stickable portraits of the people they come across.
If you are looking for an inspirational, feel-good film with a touch of melancholy, you might want to watch this one. Agnes and JR’s road trip is filled with insightful conversations and funny moments. Despite the 50-year age gap between the two of them, they share a similar artistic vision. The art they create during their journey is stunning, inspirational and a real ode to humanity.
5. Searching For Sugar Man (2012)
This Academy Award winning documentary tells the incredible story of Sixto Rodriguez, an American musician who had a short-lived career in the United States in the 1970s and whose music became a cultural phenomenon in South Africa, where he was more popular than the likes of Elvis Presley.
However, until 1997, when his daughter discovered a South African website dedicated to him, Rodriguez was unaware of his overseas success and most of his fans also knew little about him, the rumour being that he had killed himself during the 1970s.
“Searching For Sugar Man” is a fascinating film which will give anyone hope that dreams can come true in the most unexpected ways, but at the same time will make you wonder how many other “Sugar Men” are out there, undiscovered and probably forever lost.