Sunday, October 14, 2007

Watch a movie, change your life: Can films make a difference?

Linda is a highly functioning autistic woman who loses her only child in a car accident. The cold and emotionally distant stranger who was driving the car comes to apologise and stays until after the funeral. As he watches Linda's different approach to life he lets himself relax more until, by the time he leaves her, he has “thawed”.

That is a brief synopsis of the movie Snow Cake. I watched it last night and enjoyed it. I've been thinking about it today and considering what, if anything, I can learn from the story.

As I have said on this blog before I am a voracious consumer of self help books but lately I've been thinking about other sources of wisdom and “lifehacks”. Movies are such a source.

This is most obvious in children's movies. The lessons in a film like Cars are laid out for all to see, requiring little work from a young mind. Adults usually have to work a little harder when they watch their own films. But the work pays off when you find something that resonates with your own life.

Here are my top 5 films with life lessons:

1. Fight Club

Tyler Durden's speeches are full of overblown rhetoric but I associate with the essence of his comments on modern society. The film didn't make me take up fighting but it did make me question some assumptions about what I wanted for my life and pointed to some answers.

2.Ferris Bueller's Day off

Ferris sums up his approach to life with “Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it“. Who could disagree with that? This is about having fun and not worrying too much about the rules just as long as no one gets hurt. I watch this film when I've been taking myself a little too seriously...

3.It's a Wonderful Life

Not only is this the perfect Christmas film it is a great reminder that we can forget our positive impact on others and our world.

4.Touching the Void

I cheated a little in adding this as it's a documentary but Joe Simpson's story of survival is incredible. There are lessons about decision making, achieving your goals and the importance of not giving up in this film.

5.Finding Nemo

In addition to getting childcare lessons from the turtles there are lessons here about being true to your nature yet not being afraid to try something new.

And what about Snow Cake? For me the film was a reminder about enjoying the present moment and to understand that there are many ways of seeing the world.

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