Recently, I had the occasion to see two very extraordinary movies. Unlike many movie critics, I don’t actively look for things wrong with the movie or dissect it unreasonably. I look to have a stimulating and entertaining experience. And if I happen to be moved and inspired along the way, all the more better.
I think we are a product of what we listen, watch, and believe. The inputs shapes us in strange, subtle ways. With inspirational movies, it doesn’t have to be subtle. It can be can be overt and impactful. I love those kinds of movies which motivates, inspires, and empowers people.
The two movies I am referring to are “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “Freedom Writers”. Both of these movies are exceptional movies especially to those who are part of the empowerment, motivational, and inspirational communities.
Like great movies before them, these movies are about overcoming incredible odds to achieve meaningful success. And the nice thing about these movies is that they are based on true stories!
“The Pursuit of Happyness” is about Chris Carter who, over twenty years ago, was a homeless single father struggling against incredible odds to support his son and become a stock broker which eventually lead him to starting his own firm and ultimately becoming rich and influential today. When I watched this movie, there were many funny parts. But in putting myself in the character’s shoes, I wondered if I could have done the things that were portrayed to overcome life’s obstacles. I came out of that movie inspired and moved that nearly all obstacles can be overcome with enough work and determination.
“Freedom Writers” was an unexpected movie for me. I was interested in the movie based on Hillary Swank (a favorite actress) and her character’s challenge of dealing with troubled and underprivileged teens. Little did I know, it was based on a true story! It was based on English teacher, Erin Gruwell, and her passion and determination to make a difference in these troubled teens lives through the power of written journals. For many years, I never thought I would ever become a writer, author, or publisher. And yet, along the way, I learned the power of self-expression through writing. It truly is an experience like no other especially when you realize other people are reading your work. For the students, they knew their teacher were reading and listening privately. And this, I believe, served as a catalyst for the release of inner frustrations, fears, insecurities, anxieties, these teens felt. Through writing, they could release these emotions in a healthy and even therapeutic way.
I never liked English very much as a subject in school but I did learn enough and appreciate it enough to know that I had to learn it to be respected in society. I saw the negative perception and consequence of people who did not adequately learn written English.
Erin Gruwell started the Freedom Writers Foundation. While I do not yet know much about the foundation itself beyond what the website says, I was moved enough by the movie to read the website. I have never met Erin Gruwell but I can say she has proven you can make a difference in this world if you put your mind to it.
Too many people say they do not have enough money and time to help. What a crock of shit when I hear that. Everyone can contribute in their own way to the world. Money is not the only currency in this world. Passion, love, and lots of action carries a lot of weight also.