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5 emotionally stimulating films to possibly get out of the ‘void’

5 emotionally stimulating films to possibly get out of the ‘void’

Was there ever a point in your life when you would (pathetically) urge yourself to break down—just to make sure if you were still capable of feeling— but to no avail, not even an insane amount of stress and sleepless nights could do the job. You wanted to let people know how you feel, but you didn’t have the vocabulary to tell them? You were miserably struggling to express yourself, and it seemed like you had gone completely numb.

Because same.

Slowly working your way out of emotional constipation too? here’s a list of emotionally stimulating films to possibly get out of the ‘void‘. From themes on unlikely bonds, and pursuing your dream to existentialism, this curation of heartwarming movies personally helped me to overcome my emotional tut.

(Disclaimer: Yeah, I self-medicated—for lack of a better term—which is 100% not advised. Your best option still is to consult a professional.)

“Lady Bird” (2017)

by Dir. Greta Gerwig

If you have a love-hate relationship with your mom and your hometown, this coming-of-age film is for you. Set in early 2000s Sacramento, the film follows the tumultuous senior year of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson as she navigates the complexities of adolescence, family dynamics, and the pursuit of her dreams.

A standout aspect of this film is its exploration of the complex and evolving relationship between Lady Bird and her mother. Their interactions which showcase the struggles and growth that occur within a parent-child dynamic hits close to home. To grow from a child with aspirations, to a young adult with desires to be seen and heard, while also wanting to be trusted and treated with respect.

It is the farthest thing from a melodrama of youth gone wild. It tackles the practical and spiritual project of becoming who she is with a mixture of self-assurance and insecurity. In a heart-wrenching scene, Lady Bird asked her mom if she likes her for who she is, along with the lines “What if this is the best version?”. I’ll settle for one: even though Lady Bird will never be perfect, “Lady Bird” is.

“Oda Sa Wala” (2018)

by Dir. Dwein Baltazar

If you were feeling that existential dread, this film will resonate with you. An unsettling portrait of death—of the body, and more so of the spirit. It begins with a Chinese tune Mò Lì Huā (meaning jasmine flower), playing over an image of a lone white light bulb attended by a small swarm of flies. Like the subject of the song, this film is awash with whiteness: the color both of purity and of emptiness, an absolute lightness.

It revolves around Sonya, an old maid who runs a funeral parlor, trapped with her languishing father in the soulless, day-to-day humdrum of their large, decrepit house. Sonya’s present void of existence leads me to question mine as well. Her desperation to be seen and wanted mirrored my innermost thoughts. Like the inevitable decay of the corpse, Oda is a story of absolute loss and utter alienation. It also offers an unlikely bond between the living and the dead.

“Soul” (2020)

by Dir. Pete Docter & Kemp Powers

“Can’t crush a soul here. That’s what life on earth is for.”

Why do I exist? What’s the point of being alive? What comes after?

“Soul,” tells the story of Joe Gardner, a middle-school music teacher with a lifelong passion for jazz music. Just as Joe’s dream of performing on stage is within reach, an accident sends his soul to the “Great Before.” At its core, it delves into profound existential questions about the meaning of life, the pursuit of passion, and finding one’s purpose.

Moreover, it delivers a powerful message about the importance of embracing life’s journey and finding joy in the present moment. It reminds us that the purpose of life extends beyond our achievements and that the small, seemingly insignificant moments can hold the most profound meaning.

You may not turn the film off with an answer to what a soul is. But you may find yourself wondering if you’re forgetting to connect with your own. It’s okay to feel lost, just try to find your way back again.

“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

by Dir. Frank Darabont

Set within the confines of Shawshank State Penitentiary, it follows the journey of Andy Dufresne, a banker wrongly convicted of murder. As he adapts to the harsh realities of prison life, he forms a deep friendship with fellow inmate Ellis “Red” Redding. Together, they navigate the complexities of the prison system and discover the transformative power of hope, friendship, and personal redemption.

Rather than romanticizing prisoners, “The Shawshank Redemption” humanizes them by demonstrating their capacity for change and growth. It also shows the cruelty they face on the daily—including isolation, violence, and corruption. It touches upon themes of justice, perseverance, institutionalization, and the inherent goodness that can be found within individuals.

As Andy says, “Remember: Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

“Dead Poets Society” (1989)

by Dir. Peter Weir

This heartfelt coming-of-age film is one of the few gems that I could watch multiple times. “Dead Poets Society” has a theme that remains relevant across generations: self-discovery, platonic relationships, and the complicated in-betweens.

Challenging the idea that conformity is the best path to success, John Keating—an unconventional English teacher encourages his students to pursue their passion. To embrace their creativity, strive for authenticity, and personal fulfillment. It also uses the power of literature as an art form to challenge the status quo. In essence, this film can stir a variety of emotions in every viewer—nostalgia, inspiration, grief brought about by loss, and reflection.

Ultimately, a film holds a significant role in stimulating our emotions and evoking powerful responses within us. It can serve as a form of emotional release, allowing us to process our own emotions in a safe and controlled environment. By witnessing characters navigating complex situations and overcoming challenges, we may find solace, inspiration, or validation for our struggles. The emotional journey of characters can mirror our own, providing a sense of catharsis and emotional relief.

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