13 Self-Transformative Movies

When you live in a place like England, you need to have some indoor backup plans, so today I thought of doing a quick search for movies that have been “categorised” as inspiring, transformative and life provocative (oh, I like this expression – life provocative!). As a result, I found some suggestions online which also seem to be part of the book book “Positive Psychology at the Movies” (Niemiec & Wedding, 2014).

I already saw some of the suggested movies – others not really. Therefore, I’m going to watch them all, especially in those days in which rain pays us a visit and I start missing the sunshine. I will leave the list below, with a one-sentence lesson and related personal experience next to each movie (as I go watching them).

1. Hector and the Search for Happiness

Lesson: To be happy you don’t need to avoid sadness.

Personal experience: In the last 9 months I lived in Portugal (January-September, 2015), I did like Hector. I didn’t go to China nor visited Africa, but I did some trips in my own country and had a lot of weird adventures while looking for happiness. This was almost right after my “big love” and I broke up. What I can say for sure is that happiness is not out there to be found. Happiness is in each moment of your life; it can be right there, where you are. You just need to start resting within myself.

Watch Trailer

2. The Great Beauty 

Lesson: Before death comes, there is life.

Personal experience: This was a very intense movie. It literally made me go back to Rome and to the excessive latin culture of feeling everything too much and in every way possible. I particularly liked the authenticity of the main character – at age 65, there was no more need to pretend to be someone else or do something that he didn’t really want to. I think this is something we should even embrace at an earlier age – we shouldn’t wait until we reach the age of 65 to be, say and do according to who we really are. Of course, sometimes you will disappoint or hurt people with the truth… but I find the truth to be better, and I do believe that friendships are supposed to be based on authenticity rather than fake compliments. Another thing that spoke to me is the idea that you don’t have to follow the same lifestyle that everyone else seems to have. For instances, if you are happier single and you think you should marry someone to have a specific lifestyle based on that fact… that’s a thought kind of wrong. You must live your life and make decisions in it according to your own rules.

Watch Trailer 

3. Life Itself 


4. Carnage

Lesson: Kids are an exact mirror of their parents.

Personal experience: This movie is pretty exhausting, in my opinion. You spend the entire time listening to four adults discussing and arguing about not about the problem that brought them together (a fight between their kids) but their own unresolved issues as individuals. I’m surprised to find this movie listen as a “Positive Psychology” movie to be honest. I ended up distressed and feeling like I lost precious time.

5. The Fault in Our Stars

Soon. Oh my, I saw this one before… I’m going to cry like a big baby AGAIN!

6. Moonrise Kingdom


7. The Intouchables


8. Life of Pi

Soon. I saw this one too, but can’t remember exactly the script…

9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Soon. I saw this one too. I remember that it was really amazing, but I can’t remember the script…

10. Interstellar 

Soon. I have seen this three times. I fell asleep in all of them, once while travelling from Strasbourg to France, Paris.

11. The Imitation Game

Soon. I haven’t seen this one, but I know that has that very cute, handsome, classic-o-chic actor…

12. Argo


13. Rush


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