From emotionally charged monologues to iconic scenes depicting lifes' big events - films have the ability to connect with us and reflect the roller coaster of this thing we call life.
Here at the AA, we’ve put our heads together to devise and share our top films that celebrate the beauty, joy and pain of life. We invite you to take a cinematic trip with us as we count down our top 10.
10. Love Actually
No list would be complete without this little British gem. Featuring an ensemble cast and a varying degree of believability with its plot lines. This film takes us on a feel-good journey through the highs and lows of the various ages and stages of life.
Life Highlight: We couldn't go past the airport scene of family and friends reuniting which is especially poignant in these Covid times.
9. Steel Magnolias
Described as 'the funniest movie that will ever make you cry'. This movie packs a comedic punch whilst showcasing the power of female friendship so exquisitely. It may have been made in the 80's but it still resonates beautifully to life today. Remember to have the tissues at the ready.
Life Highlight: Experience Sally Field at her acting finest as she portrays grief-stricken M'Lynn melting down over the tragic loss of her daughter.
8. Good Will Hunting
This intimate, heartfelt and quirky flick, which was written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, explores the power of therapy and self-reflection for lead character Will. He needs to confront his past behaviors to learn how to navigate life moving forward.
Life Highlight: Robin William's emotionally packed monologue delivered down by the lakeside.
7. Inside Out
An out of the box, quirky animation that is set in the mind of a young girl named Riley, where five personified emotions—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust—try to lead her through life. This film has been praised for its ability to explain emotions to kids.
Life Highlight: We couldn't go past the hilarity when we enter into Rileys parents heads and meet their emotions - with Dad's being caught off guard!
This extraordinary movie began production in 2002, when director Richard Linklater began filming a 6 year old boy and his family and continued for the next 12 years. Released in 2014 it is an astonishing 'real-time' coming-of-age film.
Life Highlight: The whole film. This follows the life of these characters in real time, we applauded every minute.
In this latest animation from Disney Pixar, jazz musician Joe is seeking to reunite his soul and his body after they are accidentally separated. This film takes conventional storytelling and flips it on its head, giving kids (and adults) a taste for existential thinking and plenty of (soul) food for thought.
Life Highlight: Joes determination to not let his soul leave his body, no matter what happens, as he heads into the 'great beyond'.
4. Little Miss Sunshine
This film is a quirky, irreverent road trip of feel-good comedy and the painful hard truths of life. At the centre of it is Olive, a child aspiring to make her mark on the pageant scene and one of the best cinematic characters we have ever met. Hilarity and high drama ensues as the entire family make their way 800 miles in a Kombi van to have Olive compete in the 'Little Miss Sunshine' pageant.
Life Highlight: It would have to be Olives dance to Rick Jame's 'Super Freak', which shocks the crowd into silence and prompts her family to all join her up on stage.
3.The Pursuit of Happyness
This very powerful film is based on the 2006 best-selling memoir of the same name written by Chris Gardner. It has been praised for its reality and with no Hollywood 'dressing up'. It portrays lifes hard knocks and the many kick downs and defeats experienced on the road to success. It seems in a small way, most people can relate to this.
Life Highlight: After spending the night in jail, Chris still turns up (albeit in shabby clothes) to his internship interview. Despite his appearance, he impresses the interviewers and lands the internship.
2. Forrest Gump
Spanning three decades from the birth of Elvis's signature dance moves to the beginning of the HIV epidemic. This is a film that truly celebrates the remarkable life and (accidental) influence of one of cinemas most loved characters - Forrest Gump.
Life Highlight: There are so many, it is difficult to choose. We were moved by Forrest's speech to Jenny's final resting place underneath their favourite childhood tree. Plus of course "My mama always said to me, life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get".
1. The Shawshank Redemption
We've kept this brutal but beautiful movie to the end, which was a firm AA favourite. Navigating through the films bleak, tragic story is the development of a powerful and moving kinship between the two lead protagonists. It celebrates life in its absolute darkest moments and above all is a movie about hope.
Life Highlight: "Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying" which is probably the most memorable line from the film. It comes about from a conversation between Red and Andy that addresses allowing anger to imprison us further and the need to overcome this to achieve our dreams.