December 2022

Five films that inspire and motivate you to study

By Arron Baker

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Read time: approx 1 mins

At some point, we all have that feeling of being demotivated at times during our studies. You are just in need of something to relight that fire and drive.

Here are some films that do that, showing us what ambition, motivation and perseverance can achieve. Films have powerful magic from captivating generations influencing perspectives on life and more.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting brilliantly highlights specific topics that men simply refuse to talk about. This film has the complexity and pain of personal growth, and self-realisation throughout.

The main character, Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon), is an utter genius but comes with a troubled past. The story tells of the road he takes with the help of psychiatrist, Dr Sean Maguire (played by Robin Williams), who tries to help him towards recovery. Unfortunately, things do not go so simply for Will, which allows us to experience a range of emotions that are sad and beautiful, at the same time becoming truly inspirational with so many takeaways and quotes to remember throughout. So “how do you like them apples?”

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

When faced with the challenges of his job being threatened, Mitty (played by Ben Stiller), who always retreats into his fantasy world, is given the chance and opportunity to start living them for real, showing that it's never too late to finally make that choice to turn them into a reality.

Working for years as a milquetoast proofreader for a magazine-publishing firm, Mitty finally takes the leap after being constantly unable to stand up for himself. He at last starts to refuse to give in to others and become someone he is not!

Positive thinking can alter your life, and you can make your own luck, as the key takeaways from this film reinforce the power of gratitude, positivity, and the ability of positive thinking. These are the types of optimism and values you may instil in your own kids or your own life from this adventure comedy-drama.

The Pursuit of Happiness (2006)

The true tale of successful businessman Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith), who rises from poverty to riches, is truly the story of a man and his son in the pursuit of happiness hit with hard choices a father must make after being evicted from their apartment with little to nothing in their name. He and his son (played by Jaden Smith, who is Will Smith’s real son) are left alone with no place to go. In a constant downward spiral, Chris truly never gives up on all the hardships he must endure.

Knowing this is a true story makes it even more inspirational, and the scenes even more tear-wrenching from the despair he suffers from his wife who decides to leave him. He is left without any money, with the responsibility of managing his son's care, and an unpaid internship at a brokerage firm, but this film shows how perseverance truly can turn the tables. Even with all the troubles and the pressures he was faced with, he never gave up, and all the work and studying paid off.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Successful banker Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins) is detained for the deaths of his wife and her boyfriend and given a life sentence at the Shawshank prison. But only Andy is aware that he did not commit the atrocities.

He makes friends with Red, who is played by Morgan Freeman and is also the narrator. Red challenges him on his assertion that it’s important to have hope. They encounter the brutality of jail life, adjust together and with many moments when all hope seems lost, that there is no point going on because there is little chance of things becoming better. But the film shows how persistence and hope can pay off.

I have experienced the value of this mindset first-hand in my own life. You will struggle if you are not tenacious and resilient under pressure. This applies to your studies and every walk of life, how even after all the pain and anguish, Andy teaches us that those who confront challenges head-on rather than run from them succeed.

Coach Carter (2005)

Coach Carter is based around the real story of Ken Carter (played by Samuel L Jackson), who takes the opportunity to return to his old high school to help get its basketball team down the right path. This does not come without problems as his methods are tough and strict with a focus on discipline, which in turn comes with backlash as the players and parents struggle with his type of leadership and criticism... but that begins to change.

This amazing story show how education, not just athletics, is the only important thing they need to succeed. This begins to show as the players begin their winning streak, but when their grades start to drop, the clear, straightforward leader makes the choices that many could or would for the best of his players, closing and locking up the gym and shutting down their championship season as he is determined that the team excels in class as well as on the court.

This film demonstrates what a powerful leader and mentor can bring as Coach Carter is clear and straightforward, and blunt but comes with vision and motivation, allowing his players to blossom by showing them the biggest obstacle that lives their own fears of trying for more than they have. With all the types of personalities on the team, it's hard not to find a player that really resonates with oneself.

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