Looking for at-home activities with quaranteens? Here are 10 movies to watch now that we’re all spending more time at home together.

Hilary here. My husband Tom predicted it, and here it is. I am sharing a quote from the movie we watched last night.  “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” This quote is from Darkest Hour, a movie about Winston Churchill when he served as Prime Minister during WWII. History helps me “right-size” myself and remember that people in situations more dire than those we face right now have faced those situations with courage, grace, selflessness and integrity.

At times like this, when the moments of today feel daunting and desperate, I find history inspiring and helpful for shifting my perspective and strengthening my resolve.

In case you are, as we are, looking for ways to spend time together while finding hope and inspiration, here are 10 movies (in no particular order) which you might want to put in your family’s Netflix queue these days. I’d love to hear your recommendations for other movies that are good for the soul and our strength right now. We’ll add them to the Kleese watchlist!

  1. Darkest Hour as described above, featuring Gary Oldman and Kristen Scott Thomas.
  2. Lincoln (2012) is an historical drama film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln.
  3. Rudy (1993) may not make the cut as legitimate “historical fiction,” but Rudy is always a good answer, no matter what the question is. This biographical sports film recounts the life of Daniel Ruettiger who dreamed of playing football at the University of Notre Dame, despite significant obstacles.
  4. Glory (1989) is an American war film directed by Edward Zwick about the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the Union Army’s second African-American regiment in the American Civil War. It stars Matthew Broderick as Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the regiment’s commanding officer, and Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, and Morgan Freeman as fictional members of the 54th.
  5. The Help (2011) is a period drama based on the book by the same name by author Kathryn Stockett. I both read the book and watched the movie, and I learned a lot from this story of young white woman and aspiring journalist Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan and her relationship with two black maids during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963 Jackson, Mississippi.
  6. Invictus (2009) Nelson Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman), in his first term as President of South Africa, initiates a unique venture to unite the Apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Bonus, Matt Damon’s in this one.
  7. Patch Adams (1998) is worth the sadness you’ll feel while watching a movie featuring the late, great Robin Williams. This movie is about living for something greater than yourself. It’s actually based on the true story of Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams (born May 28, 1945), an American physician, comedian, social activist, clown, and author. He founded the Gesundheit! Institute in 1971. Each year, Adams organizes volunteers from around the world to travel to various countries where they dress as clowns to bring humor to orphans, patients and others.
  8. Schindler’s List (1993) directed by Steven Spielberg is based on the real life story of Oskar Schindler. A businessman during the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, he sold off his last possessions to buy the freedom of 600-odd Jew prisoners.
  9. My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989) is not the feel-good movie you might be looking for right now, but it is incredibly inspiring. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown, an Irishman born with cerebral palsy, who could control only his left foot. Brown grew up in a poor working-class family and became a writer and artist.
  10. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) because of course this movie needs to be on this list. Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, a homeless salesman. This movie is based on the memoir of the same name written by Gardner with Quincy Troupe about Gardner’s nearly one-year struggle being homeless.

May you enjoy happy, healthy and inspiring quarantine viewing. Share your recommendations. We’d love to hear them.

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