Sometimes seeing a principle of life played out in a story is much easier than trying to explain it to a client. So I have a long list of movies that I tend to recommend. Here is my top 5 list. Enjoy.
Chocolat was not what I expected. It looked like a typical romantic movie—something good to watch with the wife on a Friday night after the kids are in bed. Instead, it is a movie about being present, living life—not just doing life, and truly connecting with other imperfect people.
If you’re not sure what it looks like to love others well—especially others that are difficult to love—Chocolat will give you a wonderful example. Not everyone will see it. You will need to be watching for it. But it is one of the better parts of the movie.
Most surprisingly, Chocolat redefined church for me. (If you’re curious as to what I mean, leave me a comment and I’ll tell you more.)
This is, admittedly, a therapist movie. Robin Williams seems to play these type of parts well (which makes me wonder more about his personal story).
I’m drawn to this movie for two reasons. First, it shows how one wounded person can be a healing agent to another wounded person. The therapist in the movie is not perfect. He is still still working through, his story. But he’s aware of how it impacts him and how he relates to others because of it. Which leads to the second reason I like GoodWill Hunting.
Will Hunting is IQ smart but self-aware dumb. He has perfected his facade and most people buy it. Unfortunately. It isn’t until someone calls him on his crap, is willing to stand toe-to-toe with his offensive behavior, and still offer unconditional acceptance does he start to change.
Probably the most surprising movie on the list today. What would make someone even consider writing this movie is beyond me, but I’m sure glad they did.
When the previews came out about a man dating a blow up doll, I quickly dismissed it. Now that I think about it, I’m not even sure why I decided to watch it. But I’m glad I did.
Most people don’t know how to help someone while they are grieving. They do unhelpful things and say really stupid comments, all in an attempt to provide comfort. Lars’ family and friends do just the opposite. Even though they are fumbling through the process themselves, and they are asked to do some fairly odds things, they recognize that it is part of the healing process for one they love. And so they do what they need to do.
The next time I teach a class on grieving, I think all we’re going to do it watch this movie and then discuss it after wards.
I wish that every high school student would watch this movie before going off to college.
I believe that we are called to live life to the fullest—to engage with people and places and experiences in life. But too often our fears get in the way. Our perspectives get skewed. We focus on things that really don’t matter and miss the things that do. We are told to conform, to fit in, to sacrifice ourselves—our inner selves—to maintain some false level of perceived safety. And it cost us dearly.
Even though I’ll deny it if you tell anyone, I cry at the end of this movie almost every time. “Oh Captain my captain!”
When people ask what I do for a living, and I tell them I’m a trauma therapist, I’m still not sure they understand what I do. That’s when I tell them to watch this movie.
The Horse Whisperer works on many levels. It shows how trauma plays out in the lives of young woman, her family, and those around her. It shows that just ignoring the problems won’t make them go away and that talking about and working through the scary stuff is necessary to bring healing. It shows what letting go of control looks like for someone that needs it to feel safe and secure. It shows what a good therapist looks like and that some of the best therapist don’t even have an office or a title.
As a quick disclaimer—there are a few themes in the movie that I don’t agree with or encourage. I guess nothing is perfect.
Your Movie Suggestions
I’m always looking for more great movies. If you have a slam dunk that I need to watch, please leave a comment and tell me why you like it so much.