Movies have an incredible influence over our lives and can open us up to a whole new world of possibilities. Not only do films entertain us, they can also teach us things and show us a different perspective on life, society and even ourselves.
Some films go much deeper than the traditional action movie or romantic comedy by exploring issues such as race, religion, consciousness and our place in the universe. This list looks at 15 movies that will have you staring into the TV set in awe long after the credits finish rolling.
1. Fight Club
He meets Tyler Durden, a charismatic iconoclast who introduces him to a way to break out of the psychological shackles of modern life. The two men start Fight Club, an underground bare-knuckle boxing club that quickly gains in popularity as more people who have become disillusioned with their circumstances seek a way to feel alive for a few hours.
After Kenny tries to commit suicide in prison, Betty decides to go to law school to become a lawyer in order to help her brother. Despite the breakup of her marriage and her two sons leaving to go and live with their father, Betty continues her fight to exonerate her brother for 18 years.
3. Into The Wild
He never tells his parents or his sister of his plans and never contacts them during his absence leaving them in despair. The movie is directed by Sean Penn and offers an interesting insight into life without material possessions.
4. The Fountain
The movie is a masterpiece told through three different storylines set more than five centuries apart. The ultimate theme is about coming to terms with our own death, and this movie will leave you in deep thought for hours afterwards.
5. American History X
Whilst inside, Derek joins the Aryan Brotherhood but soon becomes critical of their actions involving drugs and socialising with non-white inmates. This leads to the brotherhood viciously attacking Derek in the shower. This movie exposes the rampant racism and neo-Nazi underground that still operates in the US. The movie opened to worldwide critical acclaim despite its extremely violent content.
6. Peaceful Warrior
The movie draws more than a few comparisons with The Karate Kid, but tends to delve deeper into the subject of spiritualism. It is based on the memoirs of Olympic gymnast Dan Millman and is a wonderful example of how Eastern philosophy is relevant in the Western world.
7. Eyes Wide Shut
However, he is discovered by the organisers and things take a sinister turn causing him to fear for his life. Eyes Wide Shut is shrouded in conspiracy theories including the theory that Kubrick was eventually murdered for making his movie due to the fact that the director died just five days after filming ended.
8. Waking Life
He meets several interesting characters and they hold deep, philosophical discussions on issues such as metaphysics, existentialism, the afterlife and the meaning of existence. The movie is heavily based on the phenomenon of lucid dreaming which is often characterised by a series of false awakenings which the main character experiences throughout the movie.
9. The Celestine Prophecy
As the movie progresses, John, played by Matthew Settle, begins to understand the true meaning of these insights through experiences that occur around him. Whether or not you have an interest in spiritualism, the movie still offers an interesting perspective on the meaning of life, human relationships, the universe and the consequences of our actions.
10. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
After the relationship turns sour, Jim attempts to reconcile with Kate shortly after but is stunned to discover she doesn’t remember him or their relationship. After investigation, Jim discovers that Kate visited a clinic that specialises in erasing painful memories in order to remove all traces of him from her head.
11. The Pursuit of Happiness
He manages to keep his desperate situation secret from his colleagues even giving his last $5 to a wealthy colleague who has forgotten his wallet. Will Smith takes on the role of Chris whilst his son Jaden Smith plays Chris Jr. Will’s emotional performance earned him a nomination for an Academy Award.
Along with other scientists, Jodie eventually decodes the message further and discovers that it contains detailed blueprints on building a spacecraft. The story is based on a book by Carl Sagan, an astrophysicist who dedicated his life to teaching the public about the universe.
After spitting out a seemingly random 216 digit number, Max believes the computer has crashed. However, he later realises that this number has incredible significance. He is pursued by different groups who want the number for their own reasons ranging from stock market manipulation to bringing about the messianic age.
14. Machine Gun Preacher
After being released from prison, Sam is enraged to learn his wife has given up her job as a stripper as she has converted to Christianity. Sam eventually converts and travels to Sudan with the church. There he learns of the atrocities being committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army and vows to help save the children of Sudan.
15. The Guitar
She leaves her stuffy apartment and rents a loft, orders new clothes, furniture, big screen TVs and a shiny red guitar. Mel also begins relationships with both the TV delivery man and the pizza delivery girl as she attempts to enjoy her last few months on the planet.