Lift your spirits this lockdown.
Feeling that lockdown slump after 11 looooong months of isolation? Movies can be miracle workers for distracting you from the outside world – but not only that, they can teach us a thing or two, too. Whether it’s a kick up the arse you’re after, some serious motivation to smash your career, or just a reminder that everything’s gonna be ok – we’ve rounded up the most inspiring movies to help perk up your lockdown.
1. Morning Glory
After being fired from her job, executive producer Becky finds herself facing the challenge of bringing a failing morning show back to life – but thanks to a news anchor who’s far too big for his boots (Harrison Ford), she finds herself in tricky territory. Becky must overcome her many, many obstacles to save the show from getting the axe – before her career goes down the pot, too. It’s an uplifting comedy sure to catapult you back on your feet after a demotivating lockdown. Now streaming on Netflix.
2. The Intern
Bored during his retirement, Ben (Robert DeNiro) finds himself applying for a job as an intern at a fast-paced fashion start-up, working under a chaotic (and sceptical) boss with little faith in him. The story uncovers unlikely friendships and the importance of balance, and generally oozes the gooey positivity we all need in our lives right now. Available to stream on Prime Video.
3. The Pursuit of Happyness
Potentially Will Smith’s most powerful film yet – although I know others will argue that is Seven Pounds – The Pursuit of Happyness truly triggers all the feels. It’s a real emotional rollercoaster. The movie, which is based on a true story, follows Chris Gardner, who loses his wife and his home after spending all of their money on a high-tech machine he had hoped to sell. Determined to provide the best life possible for his son, Chris undertakes an unpaid internship with a big brokerage firm, while sleeping rough and protecting his son in the meantime. At parts, the film is absolutely heartbreaking, but the pay-off is a highly inspiring and motivating movie that anyone can learn something from. Available to rent on Amazon Prime.
4. Eat Pray Love
The true story of author Elizabeth Gilbert, Julie Roberts stars as a woman who finds her marriage completely broken down, no longer happy with her life. When she discovers spirituality, she embarks on a huge journey of self-discovery travelling Italy, India and Bali. Her life lessons throughout are incredibly inspiring, and the movie itself provides a very welcome, uplifting tone. Stream it on Netflix.
If you’re feeling a little bit like your career is kicking your ass at the moment, then this one’s for you. Joy tells the true story of Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence), a single mother of two who has a knack for inventing things. The movie uncovers a number of struggles along the way, documenting Joy’s sheer determination and self-belief to make it work and get her product on QVC. The story encourages hard work and dedication and is a great watch for budding entrepreneurs and career-climbers alike. Available to stream on Netflix.
6. The Blind Side
Ok, so it’s a classic and is sure to be on many people’s list of inspiring movies already, but The Blind Side really ticks all of the boxes. Starring Sandra Bullock, the film follows a homeless African-American teenager, who is adopted by a white family. Feeling burdened by his learning difficulties, his new family help him overcome his obstacles and reach new heights with American football. It’s incredibly motivating, and a subtle reminder that you can overcome almost anything. Available to rent on Prime Video.
7. The Upside
Unlikely (but highly loveable) duo Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston star in the English remake of The Intouchables – based on the true story of Abdel Sallou and Philippe Pozzo di Borgo. The movie sees struggling parolee Dell (Hart) begin working for rich quadriplegic Phillip (Cranston) as his carer, where he discovers that Phillip is ready to end his life. Determined to help him turn it around, Dell helps Phillip to see a different side of life, while learning a thing or two from his new billionaire companion along the way. Available on Prime Video.
Another true, inspiring story – this time starring Reese Witherspoon – Wild tells Cheryl Strayed’s story, a recently divorced woman who plans to start life anew by heading out to the Pacific Crest Trail – after turning to drugs and sex during a deep depression. The movie shows the wonders of self-discovery and overcoming the darkest corners of our own minds, and is perfect for reminding yourself to stay strong, particularly in the current climate. Available to rent on Prime Video.
9. Remember The Titans
There’s nothing quite like a bit of Denzel when you’re feeling low, and Remember The Titans is as inspiring as they come. Enough to make even the coldest of us feel something, the movie follows an African-American man who is hired as the new high school coach, however, he is faced with racial discrimination upon his arrival from the all-white team. Changing things for the better, the team must learn to play as a racially-integrated squad – in an attempt to eradicate racial tensions within the school. Watch it on Disney+.
10. The Greatest Showman
It’s been three years since The Greatest Showman graced our lives, and we couldn’t be happier that it did. Featuring an ever-uplifting performance by Hugh Jackman, the story is one of the most heartwarming success stories in cinema – with a brilliant soundtrack to accompany it. If you haven’t seen it already, the film tells the story of P.T. Barnum – the legendary showman famed for pioneering the circus industry. Available to rent on Prime Video.
11. Inside Out
One of Pixar’s best animations yet, Inside Out explores the emotions of an eleven-year-old girl who’s forced to move to a new city with her family. And while you may wonder how inspiring a kid’s film could possibly be for adults, there’s a lot to take away from this one thanks to the clever way the animation depicts emotion. Fear, Anger, Joy, Disgust and Sadness work together to guide Riley through her life, navigating her through the huge changes young people often experience. Available to stream on Disney+.
Released back in December, Soul is the newest in the Disney Pixar library – and it’s an instant hit. The film, which stars both Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, explores life and death in a really interesting manner and is actually a pretty thought-provoking watch for a family-friendly animation. Following an unaccomplished musician, Joe, who dreams for more in life, the film questions where our passions come from, as well as what it is that makes us ‘us’. A brilliant watch for those looking to reconnect with former passions. Watch it on Disney+.