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Movies have the ability to move you. Watch ‘Dirty Dancing’ and suddenly you want to become a dancer. Watch ‘Julie & Julia’ and you just know that you can be an excellent cook if you want to. I love movies that inspire you to take action, to cross things off your bucket list, to enjoy the small moments in life, to try new things and to follow your dreams. I made a list of movies that do that for me. You’ve probably already watched a few (most?) on this list, but perhaps you’ll discover a new title to put on your watch list.

La vita è bella (Life is beautiful)
Dramatic, romantic and humorous Italian movie about the Second World War from a hopeful perspective. The story of a Jewish man who is full of life and keeps bringing playfulness, hope and joy to the people around him, even in times of war. He turns the Holocaust into a big game for his son.

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Pay it forward

Pay it forward is a movie for everyone who believes in the power of random acts of kindness. Trevor starts three selfless act of kindness as part of a school project. His actions cause a snowball effect, spreading kindness and indirectly touching the lives of many. The story will break your heart though, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Das Leben der Anderen (the lives of others)
If you’re in the mood for a light and easy movie, save this German gem for a later date. Anyone who labels him or herself as an artist, will recognize the struggle of keeping true to your calling. The Eastern-German Stasi might not observe your every move, but you will still relate to the deep need to create, to make art under difficult circumstances.

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La science des rêves (The science of sleep)
I wouldn’t say La science des rêves qualifies as a feel-good movie. However, the creative vibe of the movie makes you want to pick up a pair or scissors and start creating something instantly. You are constantly taken from a cardboard dream world where robot ponies come alive to the (sometimes harsh) reality of everyday life. If you have a great imagination, love to daydream and used to build your own play environments from cardboard boxes and candy wrap this is a film for you.

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Sweet November
As someone who tries to spread joy and happiness into this world, I feel a connection with the eccentric character Sara. As part of a project, she wants to show Nelson that there is more to life than work. She takes him into her home for a month, exposing him to a sense of Joie de vivre. He slowly opens his eyes and starts to enjoy the small wonders of everyday life.

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Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (Amélie)
I love everything about this movie, from the lovable guy who has created a photo album from unfortunate photo booth pictures from strangers, to the inexplicable cards the garden gnome is sending from all over the world, to the man who doesn’t leave the house in fear of breaking his bones. But most of all I love the way Amélie tries to influence the lives of those around her, seeking adventure in a playful, yet somewhat reserved and mysterious way. Add the beautiful music of Yann Tiersen and see a modern fairytale unfold.

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Yes man
What would happen if you would cease every opportunity that would come your way? What would your life look like? Carl (Jim Carrey) says yes to literally anything. The movie appeals to the part of me that wants to get all out of life. It makes me want to learn new things, go on adventure and break the everyday routine by creating my own adventures.

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Jeux d’enfants (Love me if you dare)
What starts as a childhood game slowly evolves into something that takes over the lives of the two main characters. More and more is at risk. Don’t expect a typical romantic love story though. The surprising scenes will make you laugh, while you get emotionally invested in guessing what will happen next.

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Man on Wire
Technically this is a documentary, not a movie. Watch the story of Phillip Petit. He is a famous tightrope walker and has one mission: to (illegally) do a tightrope performance between the twin towers. Just hearing him talk reminds you to go after your dreams, however big they are, however impossible they seem.

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We cause scenes
I backed the making of this documentary as part of a Kickstarter project. Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere, loves ‘causing scenes’. His initially small New York performances and goofy ideas steadily turn into a world-famous phenomenon. Charlie inspires me to follow my passion and keep at it. Even if it seems small, or silly, just do it. Live your truth.

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Any movie suggestions to put on my must-watch list? Please share movies that inspire you in the comments, so we can keep adding to the list above!

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  • Reply

    Carly (Zauberbear)

    December 4, 2014 at 11:52

    I haven’t seen a good chunk of these, but the ones I have seen I know made me sob all over the place, so I think I’ll have to check out the rest! I love it when a good film makes you just wanna live exactly how the characters were living–like when you leave the theater, you’re so upset about not being in that life anymore. I think all movies and shows and books do that to me, though. :P

    • Reply


      December 4, 2014 at 15:48

      Yes, I know, there are some real tear-jerkers in there. But there not all that depressing. Some are quite fun and light. Have you seen Amelie? And I agree, good stories/shows/books do that to you :)

  • Reply


    December 4, 2014 at 15:09

    Some really nice picks and even two or three I haven’t seen yet. Man on Wire is such a great film. Will be checking out Sweet November as it sounds interesting

    • Reply


      December 4, 2014 at 15:48

      I know! I love that one so much. Let me know what you think of Sweet November if you do!

  • Reply


    December 4, 2014 at 18:56

    Ogh I love Amelie! I haven’t seen any of the others. x
    Maria’s Adventures

  • Reply

    Marta Chan @ Shanti Free Bird

    December 5, 2014 at 01:39

    Great list of movies! I have seen Instint and A Beautiful Mind some weeks ago and althought they are almost 20 years old I found them pretty inspiring!

    • Reply


      December 5, 2014 at 09:20

      Instint or Instinct? Either way, haven’t seen that one yet. Thanks for the tip :)

  • Reply

    Rob Jansen

    December 6, 2014 at 14:28

    Wauw, good busy!

    Thi list has certainly gotten my interest since I have seen only some of them and I really liked them a lot (La Vita è bella, Pay it forward, Amélie, Jeux d’enfants), looking forward to see the others.

    A few unlisted movies that I have watched with great interest as well:
    Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind
    I am sam
    American Beauty

    • Reply


      December 17, 2014 at 15:31

      Curious to hear what you think of them! I like ‘Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’ too. As for I am Sam, I believe I watched it a very long time ago (or maybe only a part of it?) but I can’t practically remember any of it.. so I need to rewatch it I think. As for American Beauty: I was quite young when I watched it and thought it was kind of weir.. but it might be one to watch again now and see if my perspective has changed or not :)

  • Reply


    December 22, 2014 at 20:54

    I own about half of these, and the rest I downloaded to watch. The first one I watched based on your list was Sweet November, and I really liked it. We have extremely similar taste in movies, which is great! I’m thinking of making my own list to send to you because you’ll probably like it. :)

    Uncustomary Art.

    • Reply


      December 25, 2014 at 12:50

      Yes!! I would love your list. I’m very curious, so please do!

  • Reply

    The Daily Miacis

    December 29, 2014 at 21:15

    Great list! I would just like to add this movie, that I just saw recently and I believe it’s an awesome love story without the all foklore that all lov movies have.


    • Reply


      January 3, 2015 at 23:23

      Ohh thanks for the tip! I haven’t seen that one yet. Curious to check it out :)

  • Reply


    June 5, 2016 at 01:08

    There’s a lot of movies that inspire me, whether to live fully and follow your passions :

    – The secret life of Walter Mitty : a great Ben Stiller movie that really inspires to live in the moment and be the person you want to be. Beautiful scenery which, by the way, just makes you want to travel the world :)

    – Chef : Now this is a movie a really love and it’s about finding your passion and living your life doing what you love, and just sharing it with your loved ones ! It’s really inspiring and not necessarily for foodies ^^

    – The hundred-foot journey : Again it’s mostly for food lovers but still, it’s an inspiring story about following your dreams and never giving up. Plus, Helen Mirren is in it ^^ It’s a beautiful movie with an up-lifting and a very warm story !

    Let us know if you’ll watch the movies. Love your blog ! Cheers !


    • Reply


      June 6, 2016 at 19:37

      Oooh I actually watched all of those! I especially loved The hundred-foot journey (probably also because I spent half a year in India). But the end of ‘The secret life of Walter Mitty’ is sad! it’s like, oh wait, all of this was actually in my head, it never happened… I just remembered; have you seen Hector and the search for Happiness? I think you’ll like that one too (makes you want to travel too).


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