Like you, I love watching films for many different reasons; sometimes I want a break from real life and indulge thoroughly in being transported to an alternate reality, sometimes, I want to laugh, sometimes I want to find out more about a certain topic, sometimes I want to cry (the Notebook is a great one for bringing on the waterworks) and sometimes it’s just something to do to liven up an evening. Dare to be Wild is a film which surprised me – I watched it because I was interested in finding out more about Mary Reynolds, the youngest Gold Design winner at Chelsea Flower Show, and yet it had a deeper message which really resonated with me.
And that got me thinking – what were other favourite films that were entertaining and included an inspiration message? I asked around and compiled our top five list of feel good and inspirational films.
Dare to be Wild
Dare to be Wild is a story of challenges, trust and integrity. In a nutshell, it’s the true story of Mary Reynolds, a young Irish girl, who defies the odds with her focus, determination and belief to achieve her dream. The storyline is refreshing – it’s simple and straightforward and doesn’t require special effects to make it engaging. Ever since she was a child, Mary has loved nature and drawing and naturally pursues a career as a landscape designer, specialising in preserving and re-generating wild flowers and the natural environment. Her ultimate dream is to win gold at Chelsea Flower Show and my favourite moment is when she writes her vision on a scrap of paper and sticks it onto the fridge as a constant reminder of her goal. She experiences many hurdles on her journey, each one making her more resilient and determined. She even finds herself in Ethiopia at one point where she experiences man-made environmental disaster first hand. For me, it proves that if you believe in your dream you can make it come true, no matter how far-fetched it may seem. . Anything is possible if you believe!
Watch the trailer here:
Inspired by Dare to be Wild, I invited our friends and contributors to share films and specific learnings or messages which resonated with them. Here’s their specific choices:
1. Finding Nemo
Recommended by Carly from Happy Human Bean
The quote that immediately came to mind is a silly one but it always brings tears to my eyes. It’s when Dory and Marlin have been searching for Nemo across the whole East Australian Current, and they eventually make it to Sydney Harbour. And they get so close, but they lose him.
Marlin gives up. And Dory begs him to stay… because when she looks at him, she’s home. She says it with such desperation, and such honesty. She’s been the silly one, the annoying one, the carefree and completely forgetful one, but she has made a connection with another fish and she really tries her best to put her feelings into words. I love it because she is such a simple little creature, but she feels the same feelings under all that blissful ignorance. And she really makes her case. I always think, if I look at someone and I “feel like I’m home”, then I know I’ve got a really good person in my life and I would fight not to lose them.
1. Finding Nemo
Recommended by Susie from Gourmet Glow
It’s definitely Finding Nemo. In any moment of uncertainty or when I really feel like giving up as life is too much, I cling on to Dory singing ‘just keep swimming, just keep swimming…’ It sounds trivial but really, taking it step by step and always moving forward, no matter how slow, gets you there in the end. You only fail when you stop trying.
2. Ed Wood
Recommended by Rosie, drummer and social media manager
Ed Wood looks at the life of the ‘Worst director of all time’ with dark humour. It’s a black and white reminder of how passion and enthusiasm can surpass a lack of talent. Wood was mocked for his inability to see bad acting and editing, but the film celebrates his relentless endeavours at making terrible films – all because it was something he really loved to do. If someone is that passionate about something and their adoration outshines their ability, it is an inspiration for the outsiders who really want to enjoy doing something for enjoyment’s sake – and won’t let the critics stop them! The film made me question how success is really measured and in the end, if you’re doing something you love, can you ever really fail..?
3. White Men Can’t Jump
Recommended by Tom Gash, author of Criminal
Starting Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, White Men Can’t Jump is a film which will always take the top spot of my favourite films. Having played basketball for years and through university and beyond, it never fails to entertain. It short, it’s about a ‘white guy’ basketball player who allows his African American opponents to falsely believe they have a natural advantage over him which leads him on a journey including a money-making partnership, betrayal and new friendship. I’ve chosen to nominate it for this list because it demonstrates how a true love of a sport which surpasses all other loves, can provide freedom of expression and teach life lessons.
4. Run Fatboy Run
Recommended by Lucy, marketing manager
Run Fatboy Run is a comedy film about Dennis Doyle’s bid to win back his son’s mother and prove that he is not a quitter. Dennis ran away from his pregnant fiancée on their wedding day and five years later he realises he has truly lost her when she starts seeing successful, but arrogant Whit. When Dennis finds out that Whit is running the London marathon he decides that in a bid to prove everyone wrong and to win back Libby and his son he will also run the race. The build up to the race shows Dennis undergoing training from two coaches (his best friend and his landlord) neither of which have any clue about how to train for a marathon. The race begins and in their efforts to outdo each other, Whit trips up Dennis and severely injures him. Dennis refuses any medical attention and continues the race well into the evening, despite being unable to properly walk, let alone run on his severely sprained ankle. In an emotional scene, Denis “hits the wall” but after realising his goals, his desire to succeed overcomes him and he completes the race. What happens next…I don’t want to spoil the ending!
The film perfectly captures a character with little motivation or self-belief and how they manage to overcome these thoughts to complete a marathon. The powerful scene where Dennis hits the wall demonstrates how influential the mind can be in achieving success. It doesn’t matter if other people don’t believe you can achieve something, if you have enough desire to succeed you can complete anything.
5. The Pursuit of Happyness
Recommended by Beth, health & fitness journalist
The film that has inspired me is The Pursuit of Happyness which is a true story about man trying to raise his 5 year old son whilst being homeless as well as trying to achieve his dreams. It is incredibly touching and a very humbling film. He doesn’t let his tough situation hold him back and manages to defy the odds and become a Wall Street legend. It makes you realise that if he can tackle the obstacles in his way to reach his dreams then so can you. Anything is possible if you believe it is so.