Movies are a powerful medium. We let them into our lives and they entertain us, teach us and if we are lucky they will help us be better people.
Some of the best movies that I have ever watched have inspired me to be the best version of myself. During this pandemic we need a good dose of movies that inspire to counteract the anxiety and fear that we are all feeling. Different movies will obviously inspire different people. These are some of my suggestions. I hope they help.
(Disclaimer: Just because I am a priest does not automatically mean that what I suggest is appropriate for every viewer. Please us other resources to check to see if this meets your standards for what is appropriate for you and your loved ones.)
Rudy (1993)—I used to watch this movie all the time when I was working on my bachelor’s degree. I was busy and working all the time. When I needed a pick me up and inspiration to keep going, I would watch Rudy.
It is the story of a young man’s lifelong desire to play football for the University of Notre Dame football team. He was not the most talented football player, but what he lacked in skill he made up for in determination and grit.
Throughout the entire film he faces opposition, endures struggles and he overcomes with the help of God. These messages always hit home with me, and reminded me to get up and keep plugging along. That God has a mission/a purpose for each of us and it is often through the difficulties of life that His purpose becomes clear to us.
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)—I did not know what to expect when I watched this movie for the first time. As I watched it, I had the privilege to meet on screen a good Christian man struggle to live his faith and to watch him become a saint.
The main character, Desmond Doss, wants to serve in the U.S. military during the Second World War so that he can do his part to serve his country. For a good deal of his Christian walk, he felt a very strong conviction to not use a gun or even to hold it.
Through prayer and pondering, he realized that he could serve by becoming an army medic. He could heal people and he would not have to use a weapon to kill people. This made him a conscientious objector, and it brought down persecution upon him because many military people around him saw him as a coward.
You see him struggle through all the struggles that this conflict brought him and he stood by his convictions. He becomes an army medic and he serves faithfully in amid the horrors of war.
Then something amazing happens: Christ shows up. In a profound way, in the darkest hour of his life he cries out to God. He hears Him. By his listening and obeying what God desires of him, we see the making of a saint.
In a matter of 24 hours he saves the lives of 75 men while he under enemy fire and in life-threatening danger. As he progressed through the night, his constant prayer became “Lord, help me to save one more”.
Be warned it is a violent movie because it’s about war. Yet it is more than that. It is a movie that shows that even in the most horrible and evil circumstances, Christ can show up. And it shows you what it means to follow God’s call for all of us to become saints!
-Father Marc Cramer is the vocations director for the Archdiocese of Edmonton and a huge movie fan. Send your suggestions or comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org