Labster Recommends: The 18 most inspiring and life-changing movies we have seen
Being a student is all about learning. But learning comes in many shapes and sizes, and some things we just can’t learn from a textbook.
Often we need to learn from experience. Whether it’s the experiences we have from living life, travelling the world, meeting new people, or perhaps we’re able to learn from other people’s experiences through their stories.
One way to experience those stories is through movies. Sometimes movies inspire us, move something in us, or in one way or another make us view the world differently. We know it’s possible to learn valuable life lessons that way, so we asked everyone at Labster:
What is the most inspiring or life-changing movie you have ever watched?
Here’s what they said.
1. Blue Planet II
“I was amazed by this documentary at how beautiful our blue planet can be. The film was 4 years in the making, and it shares many events happening in the ocean that other documentaries have never covered before. The cinematography is insanely amazing and every scene takes my breath away. Every second is desktop wallpaper-worthy.”
-Silvia Tjong, 2D Artist
Take a moment to watch this truly awe-inspiring footage of our beautiful planet and its many forms of life that we must work harder than ever to preserve:
2. Dead Poets Society
“This popular movie from 1989 tells the story of an inspiring teacher with unconventional teaching methods who encourages his students to make their lives extraordinary. Who said teaching had to be boring?”
-Tina Katika, Simulation Director
“This movie holds a mirror up to our humanity, challenging how we see ourselves and our place in the universe. It challenges gender roles (i.e. leading female vs. male scientist), using the underlying tension of science vs. religion for some drama to drive the story ... and so much amazing science, science fiction, and good aliens!”
-Robert McKenzie, Head of Engineering
4. Spirited Away
This Japanese anime tells the story of a 10 year old girl whose parents are turned into pigs by a witch. But this isn’t just any anime. The film is the most successful in Japanese history, and has been ranked among the best animated films of all time, and even named the best film of the 21st century so far by New York Times.
“The playfulness of the universe, the music, the colors, the characters all blend amazingly in this Studio Ghibli anime.”
-Frederik Clauson-Kaas, Scientific Simulation Director
This one-of-a-kind documentary was filmed over 5 years in 25 countries, and features impeccable visual imagery. It is especially unique due to one element in particular.
“It's the story of our human experience told without a single word.”
-Matthias Heim, Content Product Owner
6. Life is Beautiful (La Vita è Bella)
An Italian drama from 1997 that tells the story of a Jewish man who utilises the wonderful power of his imagination to shield his son from the horrors of internment in a Nazi concentration camp.
“I found it very inspiring and a reminder that we should always stay positive despite very hard times - life really is beautiful…”
Jette Vestergaard, Enterprise Marketing & Demand Generation
7. Paths of the Soul
“It’s a documentary about ordinary Tibetans who undertake a 1,200 mile pilgrimage to Lhasa. The sheer stoicism (or actually buddhist approach to life) of how they go about it without ever complaining about their hardship is incredibly inspiring.”
-Zeljko Maric, Product Growth Manager
In Click, we see what happens when a person is given the power to fast forward through the less exciting or less pleasant parts of life - something some of us may have wished for at certain points. However, we soon learn that those seemingly dull moments have more value than we think.
“It really struck a chord with me in conveying how precious life is and how important it is to enjoy the journey and not just be along for the ride.”
-Tim Logan, Content Developer
“I'm not sure if I think this movie is life-changing, but the message of the movie was very awakening. It basically tells us not to waste life by only focusing on the one thing and skipping everything else just to achieve your dreams. You’d better embrace every single moment, because time will move on either way. Seize opportunities and make the most of it.”
-Dirk Franke, Content Developer
9. Forrest Gump
Many of our team members had this movie on their list, and with good reason.
"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. This is probably the most famous quote from the movie. It taught me to embrace the unexpected.”
-Ramona Dorobantu, Student Assistant Operations
10. Toy Story
“I love Toy Story! There are lots of things we can learn from this movie, such as the power of teamwork. Also, when Buzz Lightyear is told that he is not a flying toy, it teaches us that we should not let others tell us what we can and cannot do.”
-Elvana Heng, Software Quality Assurance
11. The Shawshank Redemption
“For me, this movie is about friendship and how human beings react in tough situations in life using positivism and creativity. A really inspiring movie!”
-Rodrigo Guzman, Simulation Director
A breathtaking movie that takes place in the 13th century and depicts Scottish warrior William Wallace’s rebellion against the cruel English ruler, Edward I of England during the First War of Scotting Independence.
“It’s a story of total courage and fighting for something most of us take for granted: Freedom!”
-Ammar Khaliq, Customer Collaboration Manager
13. All is Lost
This is a unique film with only one cast member and very few spoken lines.
“I wouldn’t say this is a life changing movie, but it is certainly inspiring.” It features a sailor who finds himself lost at sea after he collides with a shipping container. “It's about self-survival. Whatever it takes, you just don't give up! I think some people can relate to this, in the way that sometimes we feel lost but we need to keep looking for an exit.”
-Huseyin Karahasan, Customer Success Specialist
14. Inside Out
“Yes, I’m the #1 Disney fan! This movie is a favourite of mine because it visualizes complex neurological processes in a very compelling way. It establishes a link between your emotions and your brain, and shows that sadness is not necessarily a bad thing: It is as powerful and necessary as joy.”
-Ainara Lopez-Cordoba, Content Lead Link and Research Project Manager
15. La Haine
Set in France in 1995 during a time of constant threats of violence from bombings and disruptive strikes, this movie is the story of three young men, who in the midst of all this find themselves raging against a society who has pushed them to the edge.
“This film taught me more about society than anything else. As a teenager it allowed me to put myself in the shoes of others and it opened my eyes. It's both horrifying and beautiful in equal measure.”
-Samuel Butcher, Scientific Collaboration Specialist
16. The Wire
The Wire is an American TV series (not a movie) set in Baltimore, that introduces the different institutions of the city and their representatives - cops, drug dealers, lawyers - who must all find a way to coexist in the big American metropolis.
“Back when I was a Criminology student at the University of Oslo, our professors used to use examples from The Wire in their teaching, taking for granted that we were watching it. 10 years later, I still attribute aspects of my character to the lessons I learned about society between my lecture hall and that brilliant series.”
-Elisabeth Glomseth, Project Development Officer
17. Black Mirror
Although this is also a TV series, it bears much resemblance to a movie, as each episode features a new story, in new universe, with new people. There is one common denominator for all episodes though: the unanticipated consequences of new technologies.
“It challenges the modern way of living and really makes you think about the potential downsides of technology.”
-Kathrine Lorentzen, PA & Project Coordinator
18. Who the Hell is Juliette?
This documentary tells the story of a teenage prostitute in Havana.
“To me, this is a very special story for several reasons. It was released around 1997, before the rise of reality TV. The story is about a girl from Cuba whose parents abandoned her, leaving her with no other choice but to sell her body. Yuliet (her actual name) and I are the same age, so to see that a girl just like me was forced into prostitution to be able to feed herself really moved me.
The phrase I remember most clearly is when Yuliet says to the camera, in a sad, but not defiant way, "Prefiero morirme de puta que morirme de hambre" which means something along the lines of: I'd rather die a bitch than die of hunger. It was hard to see how such an intelligent, beautiful young woman was had this destiny, but also extraordinary to see how she was not victimizing herself.”
-Emma Fernandez, E-learning Coordinator