5 Films To Give You Hope For 2017

I think most of us are in agreement when I say 2016 has been a pretty shitty year. A seemingly never ending list of beloved entertainers passing away, political results that have divided nations, and mass migration from war torn countries has made this year tough on hopeful feelings. So, if the real world is just a little too much to bare after this year, I’ve compiled a small list of films to watch that might help you feel a little more positive about 2017.

‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ (2006)


Now it might seem weird that I’ve picked a film where a guy succeeds in Wall Street for this list – particularly with the current wealth divide – but it never fails to give me an inspiring lift. Based on the true story of Chris Gardner as he overcomes homelessness as a single father by breaking into a lucrative position at a Wall Street firm, it’s the perfect film to show the capacity of human determination.

2016 has been filled with election and referendum results that can make anyone feel uneasy about their future security. However, the story that The Pursuit of Happyness tells shows that even in the bleakest of situations there is hope for success. Through personal perseverance the film’s protagonist defies his circumstances to achieve prosperity beyond expectation. A source of motivation we made need next year.

‘Invictus’ (2009)


Another film based off a true story, Invictus is about the 1995 Rugby Union World Cup hosted in South Africa. Following the dismantling of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela as the country’s first black President, Mandela uses the Springboks – South Africa’s rugby union team and symbol of white supremacy – to unite a highly-divided nation through winning the tournament.

2016 has been a year loaded with division. Identity politics has led to a regressive polarisation of political and racial relations on both sides of the spectrum. Invictus shows the ability to unify people through inclusiveness. It illustrates that even after one of the world’s most racially divisive era’s, a nation can unify itself through something as simple as sport. A hopeful message we need after 2016.

‘Garden State’ (2004)


Breaking the pattern from biopic’s, Garden State is about 26 year old Andrew Largeman’s (Zach Braff) medicated, apathetic life. On returning home for his mother’s funeral he meets Sam (Natalie Portman) and their relationship is the catalyst for Andrew to instigate the change he wants in his life.

The way 2016 has unfolded it’s likely to leave much of the younger generation feeling devoid of hope and fearing for their future. Garden State doesn’t aim to tell a story of achieving your dreams, instead it provides a relatable scenario that brings comfort. The film’s character manages to get himself out of a rut by finding purpose through his new relationship with Sam and mending his relationship with his father (Ian Holm). By actively communicating with those he’d ignored, Andrew manages to find some optimism for his future, a sentiment that can be taken into 2017.

‘The Truman Show’ (1998)truman_show.jpg

Set around the character of Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) the film tells the story of man’s entire life being broadcast as a reality show. He lives in a constructed reality and is unaware of this fact. The idyllic lifestyle is seen to keep him compliant but eventually Truman becomes dissatisfied with his life and seeks to escape, leading him to the truth of his existence.

Many people are feeling dissatisfied and out of control after the developments of 2016. This year the abundance of fake news and misinformation has influenced major democratic outcomes, the results of which were fuelled by exploiting fear and ignorance. The Truman Show tells of an outcome where a man overcomes his fabricated perspective and searches for a reality that won’t always be easy, but is true. Perhaps in 2017 they’ll be a greater collective effort to search for truth, rather than an easy answer.

‘Life of Pi’ (2012)


If there’s a film that displays the will of the human spirit to survive Life of Pi is that film. Despite being a fantastical work of fiction the richness of story, character, and visuals draws you in to a tale that is unbelievable enough to seem true. In fact, the film’s major theme is having faith in a story that does not have definitive proof. Summed up by Pi’s (Iffran Kahn – in this scene) quote, “And so it goes with God”.

Now I’m not a spiritual person and it may seem contradictory that I’m picking a film that opposes my comments about misinformation. However, the ability to believe that no matter how insurmountable a situation may seem, there is hope for survival – and maybe even growth beyond it – is invaluable when the truth isn’t always easy. After a year that has left a feeling of hopelessness for many, it may be comforting to witness a story of overcoming impossible odds.

There you have it, 5 films that might just be able to bring you out of that 2016 slump. I’m not normally one for all this ‘new year, new me’ drivel, but after the year just gone a source of inspiration or positivity might just get us through the next one with a more hopeful outlook.

Happy New Year Everyone.