Since we were young, we’ve been taught altruistic values and brought up to not only respect others but to be compassionate, sensitive and to empathise towards anyone we meet.
Good virtues such as compassion and empathy were instilled in us from a very tender age in hopes that we’ll continue to spread acts of kindness to others who need it and the people around us.
Hollywood, one of the most influential streams of entertainment, has also risen to the mandate of bringing movies with themes on benevolence and humanity for decades now. Even the rest of the world thinks of kindness as one of the top qualities in people. And so much attention is given to spread kindness, love all over the Internet. So much so, there’s a special day dedicated to this virtue – World Kindness Day.
Though World Kindness Day was November 13, it’s still not too late to encourage each other to be kind especially to our family, friends and co-workers (and yourself). So many times we put up a false front just to hide from others that we’re not feeling anything else other than the emotion, ‘happy’. But we can’t be happy all the time – no matter how much we want to be.
However, we can choose to not let the negativity consume us. Rather than letting life and the situations control you, it’s time to change your perspective and attitudes. We may also have met people who were rude, selfish and unreasonable. They may even influence the people around them to pick up some of these bad traits.
how one smile can change a person’s life or one word could save a friendship or relationship. No act of kindness is small or irrelevant.
As such, we’ve put together a list of movies you can watch with your family and friends to trigger that soft spot in your heart to act as a constant reminder to never stop spreading love and kindness.
Here’re some of the best movies (we personally recommend) that exemplify kindness wonderfully.
Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Movie One: Pay It Forward
The depiction of a small idea that went on to change the world started off with a 11-year-old boy named Trevor McKinney.
Played by Academy Award Winner Haley Joel Osment, Trevor was challenged by his school teacher (Kevin Spacey) to create an idea that would change the world. Coming up with the idea to help 3 people without expecting anything in return, Trevor formulated the concept of ‘Pay It Forward’.
The only requirement was for the people who were helped to help 3 other people. With this exponential method of helping people, kindness was not only a thought, but put into deliberate action.
With his childlike enthusiasm, Trevor set out to accomplish this task by taking in a homeless man, feeding him and eventually asking him to do the same to others (without no demands or favours). Eventually, the little idea sparked a huge following and kindness was shown to many.
Now, do you ‘help’ others expecting something in return? One important trait this movie can teach us is being selfless.
Even when people refuse to help you (and you’ve helped them countless times), you still have nothing to lose. Not everyone has the same heart as you; so don’t expect people to do the same for your kindness.
We recommend it as a must-watch!
Movie Two: Lord of the Rings Trilogy
We left the real world to enter the vast fantasy landscape of Middle Earth in the Lord Of The Rings.
The story was based on J.R.R Tolkein’s books. Culminating in a three-part Hollywood blockbuster, the Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) sees the journey of a young group of Hobbits uphold their responsibility of bringing a cursed ring to Mordor.
The ultimate responsibility falls on Frodo of the Shire (Elijah Wood), whose fate crosses paths with the One Ring to rule them all. Frodo and his Fellowship of The Ring, carry the ring through perilous landscapes ridden with evils. Directed by Peter Jackson, the 3-part trilogy is worth watching every minute (you won’t be able to stop).
During the entire journey, Frodo’s best buddy, Samwise Gamgee follows him through thick and thin. Sam sacrifices his own needs for Frodo, eventually bringing and guiding him to complete his mission successfully. Among other lessons to be learnt are encouragement and determination. Winning a whopping 17 Academy Awards, the LOTR trilogy is definitely one saga not to be missed.
LOTR trilogy successfully depicts brotherhood, friendship, perseverance, compassion and consideration altogether that we can all learn a thing or two from.
Movie Three: I Am Sam
If you’re not one to bring the waterworks during movies, ‘I Am Sam’ will definitely get you going. The story of mentally-challenged Sam Dawson, played by Sean Penn, has a mental capacity of a 7-year-old and is fighting for his daughter’s custody (Dakota Fanning) in a pro-bono lawsuit.
As he struggles in everyday life, he still puts his daughter above everything else and makes big sacrifices for her. Sam also teaches his cold-hearted lawyer, Rita Harrison, that perhaps love and family are all you really need.
‘I Am Sam’ is testament to one of Hollywood’s greatest movies about love, sacrifice and empathy. It definitely tops the list of movies portraying kindness here.
How many times have we judged or have been judged? Everyday we passed by numerous people (judging them) for their flaws, without even trying to look at their good. We judge people, because it may seem easy and convenient for us but it says a lot about who we’re rather than them.
So the next time you find yourself wanting to judge someone for being who they’re, find one good thing to say about them instead. You’re not doing it for them but for yourself. Watch how it changes you, for the better.
Movie Four: The Amazing Spiderman 2
Here’s one for the comic fans – ‘The Amazing Spiderman 2’.
Many renditions of the web-slinger have been made in the past, including Sam Raimi’s Spiderman starring Tobey Maguire. But the latest installment of the Spiderman standalone film brings in the young, talented, Andrew Garfield to the big screen. Taking over rights to the Spiderman franchise, Sony has revamped the story of Peter Parker.
Bringing in elements of self-sacrifice and empathy above all, Peter Parker lets go of his desires for a normal life, ultimately resulting in the death of his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), in a fight to save his city. And if that’s not being selfless — we don’t know what is.
Even comics and cartoons can teach us important lessons on kindness. Combining action and heroism along with the man’s inner struggle, ‘The Amazing Spiderman 2’ portrays the challenges and struggles of gaining trust and support from people despite the good he has been doing.
Spiderman also teaches us to continue to do good even when no one is looking or giving you credit for. In the movie, the media portrayed him as a villain and people were suspicious of his motives even though he was on his journey to save the city. But he doesn’t give up because he knows he can change the world and he wants to.
Movie Five: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Much like the LOTR trilogy, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ brought in an adaptation of C.S. Lewis book: ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ to the big screen.
The magical journey of 4 children who embarked on a quest to find the king of Narnia, Aslan the lion, was an epic story. Along the way, we see how the children, Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy Pevensie experience the kindness of various characters in the world of Narnia.
No element of kindness can compare to the forgiving spirit of Aslan after he was betrayed by Edmund. He graciously forgives Edmund and proceeds to rid the world of the White Witch. With multi-talented actors such as Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy and Liam Neeson behind the characters, The Chronicles of Narnia is one of the best family movies you can watch together.
The Chronicles of Narnia teaches us one important principle of forgiveness; having a heart of gold. Even when people are mean or have done you wrong in the past, every situation doesn’t have to be an eye for an eye.
Ever heard of the saying by M. K. Gandhi., “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”?
Movie Six: 12 Years A Slave
It’s said that America was built on the backs of slaves. From the motion picture ’12 Years A Slave’, we see the grim side of America’s history. With African Americans sold into slavery, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free man, is deceived by two con men and thrown into slavery. For 12 years, he lives as a slave, enduring the brutality and inhumane acts done to him and his fellow slaves.
Despite the gruesome nature of slavery, we see a side of the kind nature of Solomon Northup with his friends and fellow slaves. We also see the kindness of some slave masters, trying to do the right thing to take care of the slaves entrusted them. Although there’s a happy ending, we wouldn’t recommend watching the movie with your children. Some scenes are not suitable for minors. Other than that, ’12 Years A Slave’ is nothing short of extraordinary!
Movie Seven: American History X
In the list of R-rated movies, we see a much talked-about movie in ‘American History X’. Casting the Hollywood heartthrob Edward Norton as a Neo-Nazi leader in the 1990s in rural America was simply genius. Bulking up to play his role as Derrick Vineyard, Norton’s character is sent to jail after manslaughter and endures a tough time there. From getting raped to being beaten up by those he calls ‘brothers’, Vineyard learns the hard way that violence doesn’t solve anything.
In his incarceration, Derrick finds kindness and compassion from those whom he hated and plotted to kill. Turning to books and self-reflection, he managed to realise his wrongdoings and endeavoured to make things right when he got out. Eventually he did straighten up and vowed to show the same kindness to others.
Movie Eight: Life Of Pi
What if you’re stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean along with a ferocious tiger?
What would you do?
Ang Lee answers this question with the movie ‘Life Of Pi’. Also based on the book, ‘Life Of Pi’ sees the main character, Piscine Patel or Pi, stranded in the middle of the ocean after the freighter he and his family was on sunk. After witnessing the deaths of his parents and brother, he realised he’s stuck on the life boat with the tiger.
Kindness sets in when he cares for the animal even though it tries to eat him at times. Risking his life to keep the animal alive, he sacrifices his food for it. At last, his kindness pays off as the tiger survives the entire ordeal. Riddled with stunning visual effects, ‘Life Of Pi’ is a masterpiece.
Ultimately, we can learn thousands of educational examples of kindness from these movies and many more out there, but if we don’t put it into practice, all we get is entertainment. Let us together strive to do good and have compassion on others – be it animals, other people or ourselves.
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