While we usually associate the summer with fun and well-deserved breaks, it can be a time of loneliness and depression. What can lift you out of your blue funk? Positive and emotional summer movies, of course!
While they are not the solutions to your problems, inspirational movies can lift your mood and tug at your heartstrings.
6 Inspirational Summer Movies That Will Instantly Lift Your Mood
1. My Left Foot (1989)
First of all is My Left Foot, is a 1989 biographical comedy-drama about the life of Christy Brown, an Irishman with Cerebral Palsy. This Oscar-winning film has proven to be one of the best summer movies of all time.
As the name of the movie suggests, he could only control his left foot. Brown rose from humble beginnings to become a celebrated writer and artist.
Brown grew up in an impoverished family of 15. His father never believed that he could function well in society, but his mother gave him unconditional love and support. His father became proud of him only after he learned how to control his left foot and write the word ‘mother.’
The children in the neighborhood, who regarded him as a recluse, started involving him in their activities. Consequently, Brown took to painting as a hobby. His family runs into financial difficulties, so, much to his mother’s chagrin, he helps his siblings steal coal.
He later becomes indebted to Dr. Eileen Cole, who introduces him to a school for cerebral palsy patients. She convinces her friend to hold an exhibition of his work, and it gets him noticed. He later falls in love with Cole but contemplates suicide after finding out about her engagement.
After a period of emotional struggle and a brawl, Brown starts to pen his autobiography, My Left Foot. Those who are not familiar with this film will want to watch it find out if Brown’s story ends happily. Daniel Day-Lewis, who portrayed Brown in the movie, won an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for the role.
Watch this movie on days when everything that can go wrong essentially does. It is a reminder that anyone can triumph over tremendous odds.
2. Cinderella Man (2005)
This biographi2cal sports drama, starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ron Howard of Happy Days fame focuses on the life of boxing champion James J Braddock. It’s proof that sports movies can bring inspiration to anyone, whether you are watching them in summer or winter.
Irish-American boxer Braddock, a former lightweight boxer from New Jersey, gives up the sport after he breaks his hand during a fight. Braddock does manual work as a longshoreman to support his family. Owing to his injury, he can’t go to work on a daily basis. He gets an opportunity to enter the ring because of a last-minute cancellation by another boxer.
Braddock knocks out his opponent, world number two contender Corn Griffin, on the third try, surprising the boxing world. He takes up the sport again despite his wife’s objections. Braddock uses his winnings to return the welfare money that the government paid him while he was unemployed. He becomes the Cinderella Man.
A fight against heavyweight champion Max Baer comes his way, and he is the 10-1 underdog. Braddock is not afraid of Baer’s taunts. He discovers that he can use his left hand. He goes on to become the Heavyweight Champion of the World in 1935, ousting Max Baer.
Braddock returns to his humble roots, working on the Verrazano Bridge after losing his title to Joe Louis. He used his income to buy a house with his wife, and they lived there quietly.
This film is another inspiring story for the times one feels as though they will never progress in life. Braddock’s story proves that the human will can triumph over limiting odds.
3. Darkest Hour (2017)
Fans of historical drama will adore British wartime drama Darkest Hour (2017). Gary Oldman stars as inspiring British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who led Britain against an assault by Nazi Germany during World War 2.
Though it’s somewhat in-depth, it is probably one of those movies that remind you that a person can overcome great odds, and is perfect to watch in summer too. The film traced his early days as Prime Minister when he replaced embattled Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. He was the only Conservative leader that the Labour Party would accept.
Churchill evaluates the threat from Adolf Hitler correctly. However, his poor political record overshadows this. The French feel that he is delusional for not admitting that the Allies are losing power. On the domestic front, his colleagues Lord Halifax and Neville Chamberlain threaten to resign from his government if he refuses to leave his post.
Meanwhile, the British Expeditionary Force cannot leave Dunkirk. Against all advice, Churchill gets Brigadier Claude Nelson to lead the 30th Infantry Division to distract the Germans, thereby giving time to the soldiers and Dunkirk to evacuate. Operation Dynamo is a success.
Neville Chamberlain finally decides to give Churchill his support. Churchill delivers what is one of the world’s most inspiring speeches, urging people to fight on the beaches. The British are steadfast during Nazi raids.
This film proves that what makes a great man is his power to triumph over dissent.
4. Mr. Holland’s Opus (1996)
This story focuses on a professional musician Glenn Holland, played by Richard Dreyfuss, who takes on a high school teaching job.
To give himself a balanced life and to enjoy more time with his family, Holland accepts a music teaching position at John F. Kennedy High school. He meets with resistance and discovers that the school board, including its vice-principal, Gene Wolters, question the value of music education, given the school’s lack of budget.
Holland aims to make classical music accessible to his students. To make it more likable, he uses Rock and Roll. He works hard and wins the support of his colleagues. Holland reacts with disappointment when he discovers his son’s deafness He is unwilling to learn American Sign Language. He inspires many students but grows distant from his family.
His career faces a challenge when Wolters, now principal, threatens to cut off music funding. However, surprising individuals help him to resurrect it, proving that love does conquer all.
More than an inspiring teacher story, this is one of forgiveness. Catch it when you encounter situations when you meet people who are hard to love.
5. Erin Borokovitch (2000)
Directed By Stephen Soderbergh and starring Julia Roberts as celebrated legal secretary Erin Brockovich, this film shows how David can overcome Goliath.
Brockovich, an unemployed single mother, discovers the files for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). She finds the medical records of Donna Jensen, a resident of Hinkley, whose husband developed Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after drinking the groundwater in Hinkley, PG&E has contaminated it with chromium.
Brockovich wins the trust of all the 634 Hinkley residents who have suffered other medical problems because of drinking the groundwater in the town. Her efforts result in a lawsuit that could take years to mitigate.
She makes a breakthrough when a man, Charles Embry, gives her documents proving that the water was contaminated. The judge forces PG&E to settle the lawsuit and award the plaintiffs $333 million in compensation. What’s more surprising is her well-deserved payment for the case.
This film proves that perseverance can win fierce battles, although the odds may seem dim.
6. The Intouchables (2011)
This French-Comedy drama starring Francios Cluzet and Omar Sy focuses on the unlikely friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic Philippe and his handler, Driss.
Driss had no ambitions to get hired by Philippe at first. His only aim was to get Philippe’s signature so that he could continue to receive welfare benefits.
However, he ends up with the job. Despite his disinterest and having no professional experience, he assists Philippe in all ways possible. He eventually restores order to Philippe’s somewhat messy private life, including disciplining Philippe’s daughter, Elisa. He even encourages a previous relationship Philippe had with Eleonore, a woman who lives in Dunkirk. Philippe finally gets over his fear of meeting her.
Philippe becomes attached to Driss but lets him go when he realizes Driss’ need to help his family. The latter’s cousin, Adama, gets involved in gang activities and needs Driss’ help to manage his life. Philippe finds replacements for Driss, but all of them prove unsatisfactory. Driss returns and takes Philippe around in the latter’s Maserati.
They drive to a restaurant in Cabourg, and Philippe has a somewhat touching surprise.
The draw of this film is how two people of entirely different social stature embrace their humanity and develop a fast, meaningful friendship.
Are the blues a sign that something in your life needs to change?
We need activities to help ourselves feel better when the chips are down. If you notice yourself feeling depressed constantly, it is probably time for soul-searching. In all, there is nothing better than an inspirational summer movie to lift you out of the doldrums. Watch one of these when you feel overwhelmed by the downs of life.