Arts & Culture

6 Movies to Celebrate the Self

#MUNIonThis: What feel-good movies have steered you on the path towards self-love?

We often forget to see the good in ourselves, which is why it is important to take the time to embrace what makes you, uniquely you, and to appreciate the value of your own appearance, personality, ideas and interests.

This month, get on the road to self-love with these 6 films.

1. The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club tells the story of five teenagers from different high school cliques, who discover that there is more to their peers than what the stereotypes have led them to believe. What’s more, they learn that they themselves have been fooled into believing in their own labels.

Our own self-judgments can be the most restrictive, making us behave in ways that limit our capabilities. But if we stop putting ourselves in boxes and simplifying our identities for the convenience of others, what we find is we are more than just “a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.”

2. Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

Katherine Ann Watson, an art history professor at Wellesley College in the 1950s, is not your average teacher. Katherine goes beyond what is written on the syllabus and motivates her students to aspire to become more than just wives and mothers.

The manner in which the lives of Katherine’s students change is a testament to her groundbreaking teachings. She proves that the best way to become truly happy and reach our fullest potential is to chase after our own dreams and aspirations, in spite of what others may say about us.

3. Billy Elliot (2000)

When we think of ballet dancers, the image that usually enters our minds is that of a group of little girls dressed in matching pink tutus. 11-year-old Billy hardly fits this description but he isn’t about to let that stop him from becoming a professional ballet dancer.

Billy understands that to give up on his dream is to lose a part of himself. Just like Billy, we must find the courage to pursue what we love if we truly wish to achieve our full potential.

4. Frozen (2013)

Frozen enchanted viewers with the story of Princess Anna’s quest to find her older sister, Elsa. Ever since she was a child, Elsa has concealed her true nature, fearing that it will only lead to disaster. However, she soon learns to conquer her doubts and embrace all of the good that her powers have to offer.

Sometimes, we too are guilty of hiding certain aspects of ourselves for fear of being judged or rejected. Perhaps it’s time we had more faith in the people around us who love us exactly the way we are. Moreover, it is also high time for us to have more faith in ourselves by slowly letting go of our insecurities.

5. Hairspray (2007)

Set in the early 1960s, Hairspray follows high school student Tracy Turnblad as she auditions for a coveted spot on the Corny Collins Show. Although Tracy is initially rejected for being overweight and supporting racial integration, she soon becomes the most popular performer on the show.

Despite all the insults thrown her way, Tracy loves herself just the way she is. Her self-confidence is infectious — she is able to encourage her mother, Edna, to see herself for the beauty that she is, and inspire her best friend, Penny, to stand up to her mother.

6. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Shunned and unappreciated by the characters of his own game, Wreck-It Ralph decides to explore other game universes in pursuit of his own gold medal. Along the way, he meets a feisty nine-year-old kart racer named Vanellope von Schweetz, who has been banished from the racetrack for being a ‘glitch.’ The duo must then band together to defeat their enemies, teaching themselves and the audience that if we base our identities and our actions on how we are defined by others, we will never achieve our dreams.

Happiness comes from accepting ourselves for who we are, and realizing that we each have a role to play that cannot be replicated by anyone else.

Learning to love ourselves is no small feat, especially when we consider all the impossible standards society expects us to conform to. However, it isn’t a lost cause; by following the example set by the protagonists in these movies, we can free ourselves of the expectations imposed upon us and seek the path we should follow to become who we are meant to be.