Inspiring Films For National Volunteer Week
With National Volunteer Week (https://www.pointsoflight.org/nvw/) running from April 7-13, we thought it would be a good time to suggest some inspiring films about giving and charity. The late film critic, Roger Ebert, called movies empathy generating machines for their ability to help viewers connect with others. The films listed here all deal with kindness and the act of giving. They range from an obvious, not to be missed classic, to a couple of less familiar titles.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) has spent years putting his dreams on hold to help others in his town of Bedford Falls. Due to a mistake and the machinations of the film’s antagonist, George finds himself in a desperate situation and contemplating suicide. That is until the angle Clarence appears to show home what the lives’ of his friends and family would have looked like without his generosity. There is a reason this one is a Christmas classic.
Pay It Forward (2000)
Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) is a young boy who becomes inspired by his civics teacher’s assignment to think of something to change the world and put it into action. He comes up with the idea to “pay it forward.” Instead of repaying a good deed, he will do three good deeds for three new people. His project goes on the change his life as well as those of the people close to him.
Seven year old Damian is obsessed with Catholic saints and their good deeds, even believing that his deceased mother may have been one herself. When a duffel bag filled with millions of British Pounds crashes into his backyard cardboard fort it puts in motion a story about the power of caring for others. The film occasionally steers into magical realism but is sincere and has an important message.
The Blind Side (2009)
The true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Touhy who take in homeless teenager Michael Oher. Michael was fatherless and his mother was a drug addict. The Touhy’s made sure that Michael had every opportunity they could provide him to succeed. Michael Oher ultimately played NCAA Division I football on a scholarship and became a first round NFL draft pick.
Batkid Begins (2015)
In November, 2013 the Make a Wish Foundation was ready to grant 5 year old cancer patient, Mike Scott’s, dream. He wanted to be Batman for a day. After a few calls were made to get things rolling, the project continued to grow as more and more people got involved; from the San Francisco mayor, police and Giants baseball team to a Hollywood effects studio, President Barack Obama and more. Ultimately, the event became a city-wide roleplaying narrative game the had Batkid running around the city, with an adult Batman sidekick, fighting crime.
Each of these inspiring films reminds us of the power of giving of ourselves to benefit the lives of others. Queue one this weekend and get inspired to do some good during National Volunteer Week, and beyond.