Kiki's Delivery Service is a good way to start 2021 | YouTube screenshot

After the insane roller coaster ride that was 2020, I don’t think I’m alone in my desire for a clean slate in 2021. Like a lot of people, I look to media to inspire a fresh start from time to time. Here are some of my favorite movies that inspire change and new beginnings.

Wild (Rent on YouTube)

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Wild is one of the best movies about a fresh start that I can think of. Reese Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed, a woman haunted by the death of her mother and the events that followed. She tries to find clarity and peace by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, without any real training. This is, in my opinion, one of Witherspoon’s greatest performances. Cheryl is alone for the better part of the film, and her inner transformation is made all the more real by Witherspoon’s performance. As she struggles to push through her own physical strain and exhaustion, Cheryl faces off with the demons of her past and learns to make peace with them. Wild is the perfect watch for anyone looking to leave the demons of 2020 behind. I know I am. 

The Truman Show (Rent on YouTube)

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Even if you’re not a big fan of Jim Carrey’s kooky comedic characters, you may want to give this movie a try. Carrey plays Truman, a young man that lives a seemingly perfect blue collar life in a small island town. What he doesn’t know is that he’s actually living in a literal glass bubble. Truman’s entire life has been filmed since his birth and is broadcasting 24/7 as the world’s most popular reality television show. This movie will have you rethinking what you value the most in life and what you might be missing out on. Be like Truman, and go after it.

27 Dresses (Sling)

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This is a guilty pleasure favorite of mine. It’s a classic, cheesy, ridiculous romantic comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Katherine Heigl is cast as a woman who always plays second fiddle to everyone in her life. She’s the poster child for “always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” especially since she’s been a bridesmaid for 27 weddings. She pairs up with a cynical newspaper writer of a Commitments column, played by James Marsden, as she becomes a bridesmaid for her baby sister. She realizes her need to please everyone in her life is actually holding her back from achieving her dreams. All my people pleasers out there, make 2020 your own.

Kiki’s Delivery Service (HBOMax)

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This is a classic from the famous anime film company Studio Ghibli. It’s known for incredible and detailed animation, heartfelt stories and characters. Kiki’s Delivery Service is no exception. It follows the story of Kiki, a young witch who is tasked with spending a year on her own to finish her training. As she handles the challenges with her newfound independence she finds herself struggling to keep her magic powers alive. It’s a beautiful analogy for anyone who’s experienced a creative block in their life. 

Blinded by the Light (HBO)

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This was an absolute hidden gem of 2019 for me, and I don’t know that many people who saw it when it was actually in movie theaters. Based on the true story, Blinded by the Light is about a young Pakistani student in the late ‘80s and his family who are living under the umbrella of mass unemployment in Thatcher’s England. With racism, poverty and pressure from his parents around every corner he discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen, and its melodies and powerful lyrics spur him to change his fate and stand up to the forces against him.

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