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Soul Uplifting Movies to Start the New Year

A selection of inspiring movies, which helped me cope with PTSD and depression.

Here is a selection of five movies that made an impact in my life, helping me to heal from PTSD and inspiring me to pursue my dream.

I thought about writing something inspiring for the New Year, but I’m the one who is needing a boost these days. Holidays can be hard when we’re dealing with depression, PTSD and mental disorders, especially if we don’t have a support system to relay on.

My support system, is (and always have been) made out of movies and songs, and the following are five films that I hope can do the same trick for you.

The Shack (2017)

A man grieves the loss of his daughter, receives an invitation, and you start saying, “Wait? Is it?… Oooh… Wow’” This is the “I didn’t see that coming” kind of movie, that will touch and move every single cell of your body.

When I watched it, I haven’t seen the trailer nor paid attention to the plot, and I’m grateful for it because it is the unexpected twist (and what followed it) what blew my mind and pulled me into such an existential journey that I’d fail to describe. My PTSD was fresh out of the oven, and this story is one (if not “the one”) of those which helped me taking the first step towards recovery.

Screenplay: John Fusco; Andrew Lanham; Destin Cretton

Based on: New York Times Bestseller by author William. P. Young

Cast: Sam Worthington; Octavia Spencer among great, beautiful performances. 

Available on: Prime Video.

IMDb: 6,3 (It should be an 8 at least!) 

Soul Surfer (2011)

A thirteen-year-old girl, a surf champion, loses an arm after being attacked by a shark while surfing in the sea, and what does she do? She becomes one the ultimate little big heroes I’m inspired by, because this happened; this is based on the autobiography of Bethany Hamilton. 

I must add: even though a lot of her strength comes from her family and her faith, I’d ask you not to let it keep you from watching it if you’re not a religious person nor have a “support system”. This is about a thirteen-year-old girl, whose arm got eaten by a shark, and who came back to the water because “she had a dream.”

Screenplay: Sean McNamara; Deborah Schwartz; Douglas Schwartz; Michael Berk.

Based on: “A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board” by Bethany Hamilton, Sheryl Berk, Rick Bundschuh

Cast: Anna Sophia Robb; Helen Hunt; Dennis Quaid; Carrie Underwood.

Available on: Netflix.

IMDb: 7.0

Note: On 2018, Bethany release her documentary “Unstoppable”, available on Prime Video and more. I haven’t watched it yet. You can find Bethany on Instagram and Twitter.

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Based on the memoir by Frances Mayes: a writer gets divorced, flies to Tuscany, finds a villa and says, “I’m starting a new life.” I cannot get enough of this movie; it is hilarious and heartbreaking; it’s beautifully written and performed; it’s the kind of movie that right before it ends, you’re already missing the characters. And the scenario! It’s so appealing it will make you want to book a flight to Italy asap.

Screenplay: Audrey Wells

Based on: “Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy,” memoir by Frances Mayes 

Cast: Diane Lane; Sandra Oh

Available on:  YouTubeGoogle Play MoviesNetflix.

IMDb: 6.7 (It should be a solid 7)

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

“What do you do and how do you do it.” Chris Gardner says he still remember the day when he asked those questions to man that looked happy…, because he wanted to be happy too. The movie is based on his true story, one of a salesman who’d go to the end of the world pursuing happiness for him and his son.

Three years ago I decided to quit my Law practice to do this blog, and even though a lot has gotten in my way (PTSD included!), I stand to what I wrote in “You Were Designed Especially for You,” because people like Chris Gardner are the ones who remind me that “If I’ve got a dream, I gotta protect it.”

Screenplay: Steve Conrad

Based on: the true story of Chris Gardner

Cast:  Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith

Available on: Netflix, Prime Video.

IMDb: 8.0

Wild (2014)

To recover from a personal tragedy, a woman goes on a solo hike of one thousand one hundred mile. This is also another movie that helped me with my PTSD; I was so pumped after watching it, that I made plans to do the Pacific Crest Trail! … I spent six months in the US walking with my camera instead… Oh, well…

What matter here is that sometimes the pain is so big, that we do need to make a pause, a real pause in our lives and take a side journey so we could get back on track. This movie is one journey, one life and a bunch of reflections you cannot miss.

Screenplay: Nick Hornby

Based on: “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”, memoir by Cheryl Strayed

Cast:  Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann

Available on: Google Play Movies; Prime Video; YouTube.

IMDb: 7.1

What Are You Looking For?

All these movies have made a great impact in my life; but “The Shack” is so deep, that I’m afraid to watch it again. It is about lost, pure wisdom, and it will lead you to a life-changing healing introspection. “Wild” is about lost too, but it’s more personal, focused on one person’s reflections; I feel “The Shack” is universal and, again, “OMG, the wisdom!”.

“The Pursuit of Happyness,” is the one you must watch if you feel you can’t set yourself to pursue that dream you have. Bare in mind this is a real story; there’s a real man behind this, and if he did it… you can do it too!

“Soul Surfer” is about family and faith, but the strength of that child is what mattered to me the most; I’m not Christian, and I enjoyed every single part of it; furthermore, checking from time to time (on social media) how Bethany is thriving in her life, is a boost of motivation.

Finally, if you’re looking for inspiration without digging too much in your soul, “Under the Tuscan Sun” has a more cheerful tone. The writing, the scenario, the characters… The whole thing is a “beauty.”

So, if you’re feeling lonely these days, here’s your new support system 🙂 Great stories, amazing writing, and real people who’ll show you that you can and you will prevale.

And… That’s a wrap for this 2019!

May you have a Happy, Immensely Happy 2020!

By Laly

B.Ed, Lawyer, Writer. I write, I code, and I take pictures. My identity is unknown, I have #ADHD superpowers and I'm from Jupiter. Also, I blog about the boys in the band 🎧 at nkotbtheblog.com.

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