Anyone who knows me, knows I am a total sucker for an inspirational true story. I live for them. My favourite books have always been autobiographies and my favourite films are basically anything that states it was “based on actual events”. Even as a kid I preferred movies with “real life people” over cartoons – an oddity of a child that disliked Disney movies (or anything animated for that matter). I’ve come to believe I may be the only twenty-something on earth that doesn’t still fangirl over Cinderella. And while I’ll admit I do have a soft spot for The Jungle Book and you will catch me singing “The Bare Necessities” in the shower on occasion… that’s kinda the extent of my Disney appreciation – please don’t hate me!
It’s just that IMO nothing can beat real life. Whether it’s a biopic honouring someone who turned the world upside-down for the better or a memoir of triumph over adversity, I love stories of real people in the real world. Anyone with an ounce of passion, determination or grit is an inspiration to me. And there is nothing better to shake yourself out of complacency than to immerse yourself in the tale of someone who fought to do more and be more.
So, I thought this week I would share with you 11 of my favourite “true story” movies…
1.) Noble (2014)
Kicking off the list with one of my ALL TIME faves – the incredible story of the fearless Christina Noble. A lady who was driven by her daring vision to escape the slums of Ireland and discover her destiny on the streets of Saigon. A beautiful film about a beautiful woman with a heart of pure gold.
2.) The Intouchables (2012)
A true story of two men who should never have met – a quadriplegic aristocrat who was injured in a paragliding accident and a young man from the projects. This is a really lovely, feel-good film – guaranteed to pull on your heartstrings. I can watch this over and over and over again!
3.) Eddie the Eagle (2016)
Eddie Edwards is a man who never stopped believing in himself – even as an entire nation was counting him out (adore this!). A notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics. I completely fell in love with him whilst watching this film and as the credits rolled I felt like a proud mother haha. Beautifully uplifting and served with a good dose of British humour – a really great film.
4.) The Imitation Game (2014)
An intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man, The Imitation Game follows a genius who under nail-biting pressure helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives. Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as Alan Turing is outstanding.
5.) Schindler’s List (1993)
This was one of the first movies I ever watched about The Holocaust, back in high school. I have a very dear friend who’s dad (whom I love to pieces) actually lived through WWII and survived the concentration camps in Poland. Knowing this, I was shaken up for a really long time after watching it. However, it is an extremely moving story of an opportunistic businessman, Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews. The message is that a single person can truly make a difference in the face of evil.
6.) Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Directed by Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge documents the journey of WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa. Refusing to kill due to his beliefs, he became the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honour without firing a shot.
I’ve gotta be honest – I almost can’t believe I watched this movie. I’m not one for blood, guts or violence of any kind and this ticks all of the above, plus some. Despite that, out of all the films I have ever watched in my life, this one really impacted me. Post leaving the cinema I cried for almost an hour and then cried again on and off for days afterwards. My friends think I’m totally melodramatic (which I totally am) but I’m also an empath through and through. I cried because of how horrific the battle scenes were, but mostly I cried because I was in sheer awe of how absolutely ridiculously selfless and faith-filled this man was. It’s impossible for me to wrap my head around the horror those soldiers experienced, but after seeing this movie I had a new appreciation for just how simple my life is and how utterly privileged I am to be living it.
7.) Eat Pray Love (2010)
A married woman realises how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to “find herself”.
Ha! You guys know I had to put this on here. Elizabeth Gilbert is the queen of my life and one of the main reasons I even started a blog. The movie adaptation of Eat Pray Love doesn’t top the book – lacking the spiritual and emotional weight of Liz’s memoir – but Julia Roberts plays a charming part and it will no doubt leave you feeling a little lighter, more hopeful and inspired.
I’ll forever recommend this movie to anyone who is going through a breakup, midlife crisis, quarter-life crisis, or just feeling generally unsatisfied with life. At seventeen, in midst of the worst breakup ever, Eat Pray Love was better than therapy for me – not even kidding. I watched it on loop until my heart felt as though it was partially functioning again. And at twenty-one (and with a fresh new heartbreak), I still swear by it. Always will.
8.) The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016)
The Man Who Knew Infinity is the story of friendship that forever changed mathematics. In 1913, Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel – love him!), a self-taught Indian mathematics genius, travelled to Trinity College, Cambridge, where over the course of five years, forged a bond with his mentor, the brilliant and eccentric professor, G.H. Hardy, and fought against prejudice to reveal his mathematic genius to the world.
Definitely thought I was gonna hate this movie, considering my detestation of maths. But rest assured, even if you have Dyscalculia, you will enjoy it.
9.) Concussion (2015)
Based on the story of a doctor who discovered CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in football players, and the uphill battle he faced in bringing the information to the public.
This film is focused on an issue I had no idea even existed prior to watching. I found it to be really compelling and loved that there was no sugarcoating the NFL’s tactics. And of course – a solid performance, as always, from Will Smith (forever my fave).
10.) The Blind Side (2009)
Firstly – I have a huge girl crush on Sandra Bullock. Who doesn’t? The woman is a goddess. Secondly – I LOVE the part she plays in this film. The Blind Side is based on the story of Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy who take a homeless teenager, Michael Oher into their home. It will make you laugh, cry and teach you about the power of giving.
11.) The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Saving the best ’till last. My mum and I love this film more than anything. I think it’s because, in many ways, the story of Chris & Christopher Gardner mirrors our own. Having been raised by a strong-willed single parent, often struggling to make ends meet, this film is really special to me. I love that both Will Smith and his actual son, Jaden play the father/son roles. Together they make The Pursuit of Happyness nothing short of endearing. This is surely a move that everyone has seen – but if you haven’t, please do!
Voila. Next time you’re having a movie night, you won’t have to spend 8 hours searching reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, I promise these are goodies! I really hope they inspire you like they have inspired me! Also, I would love to know what your favourite movie is – so please leave me a comment down below & I’ll be sure to check it out 🙂
Till next week!