Which movie changed you?

On Being—a top-5 podcast for me—has a new offshoot podcast called This Movie Changed Me, with “one fan talking about the transformative power of one movie.” So far they’ve featured Star Wars: A New HopeEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and You’ve Got Mail.

It made me think about what mine would be. The quick and easy answer would be Back to the Future, if only because of how much I’ve written about it on this site. But I think there are other candidates. Some that come to mind, all for different reasons, include It’s a Wonderful LifeHigh FidelityOnceToy Story, and Unbreakable.

I don’t know. I have to think about this. What’s yours?

Update: I want to include some of the replies I’ve gotten to this query:

  • “Oddly enough, Snowpiercer. While it’s a terribly chaotic movie, man, it haunts me every day. The ignorant frivolity of the front car compared to the ruthless survival of the back cars…way too real. I probably think about it every day. Because I’m one of the front car a**holes.”
  • “It’s A Wonderful Life. Each Christmas Eve we watch it I learn something from the movie that is applied to my life; courage through hardship, wisdom of God, love of family and friends, mystery of life. It’s amazing how this movie has been intertwined with me on a small yet profound level.”
  • “Cloud Atlas. I frankly had a spiritual experience in the theater. It articulated my worldview in a way I hadn’t really seen before (or at least to that extent). Uneven as it may be, it floored me.”
  • “While I look at it quite differently now, Chasing Amy had a huge impact on me. Her monologue about sexual freedom and independence is feminist AF and it was like finally having my thoughts and feelings validated.”
  • Do the Right Thing made me aware of how I process anger as a white person.”

6 responses to “Which movie changed you?”

  1. Steven Spielberg’s 1987 “Empire of the Sun” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092965/?ref_=nv_sr_1
    was the first movie to show me the power of the background in storytelling. The acting certainly occupies the foreground, yet it is the musical score, location, extras and emotional tension that makes the story complete. I watched it enough times to justify owning it and the accompanying soundtrack.
    My grown-up answer since 1987 would be “The English Patient” for all the same reasons listed above.

    1. I still haven’t seen that one. Gotta check it out.

  2. Honestly, I feel a bit changed after most good movies. The ones that come to mind:
    1. The Natural – The first film I learned what the director really does, translating from script to screen. Opened my eyes to filmmaking and got me interested. Changed my career trajectory you could say.
    2. Several films taught me to look at fate/coincidence differently – Red (1994), Signs, The Truman Show, Donnie Darko
    3. As a kid, The Wizard of Oz and Singing in the Rain taught me to dream.
    4. 12 Years a Slave has really impacted my adulthood in ways that are difficult to explain, but essentially by challenging my view that even in the greatest tragedy, life is worth living and there can be goodness. It showed the audience true evil and lives that were only filled with torture and despair.

    1. I always associate The Natural and The Truman Show with you, along with The Pennington Estate and Doctor Dreadful of course.

  3. The Thin Red Line and 127 Hours

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