Hollywood is no amateur at delivering heart-warming and empowering films which highlight the importance of self-love and acceptance.
Hollywood is no amateur when it comes to creating heart-warming and empowering films that highlight the importance of self-love and acceptance; some of the greatest cinema classics inspire the proverbial ‘you’ to ‘believe in yourself’ and realize your worth. It’s refreshing to see a movie that contains a positive and uplifting message without coming off as preachy and trite. Some of life’s best lessons can be demonstrated on the big screen, providing comfort and support to those who truly need it. Hollywood successfully relays such messages through an array of genres, whether it be through humor, romance, or moving drama.
From modern-day Cinderella stories to a fourth grade rock band and even a sorority queen taking on Harvard, cinema loves a good story about self-love. This Valentine’s Day, it may be important to take a step back from worrying about being loved by someone else and discern how well you actually love yourself. Let’s take a look at some of the best movies about learning to love yourself.
Nancy Meyer’s 2006 rom-com Christmas staple The Holiday features the excellent foursome of Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black. The cozy winter film follows Amanda (Diaz) and Iris (Winslet), two lovelorn women on opposite sides of the world who arrange a home exchange in an effort to evade their heartbreak during the holiday season. Despite trying to escape their messy love lives, the ladies find two worthy suitors who immediately capture their attention: Iris’ brother Graham (Law) and film composer Miles (Black). The Holiday is a beautiful and moving story that inspires audiences to embrace who they are, flaws and all. Amanda is chastised by past flames for being emotionally distant, but she ultimately overcomes her roadblocks. Silver screen legend Eli Wallach co-stars as a famous screenwriter from the Golden Age of Hollywood, and poignantly reminds insecure Iris, “In the movies we have the leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.”
The iconic and beloved 2001 comedy Legally Blonde follows sorority queen Elle Woods, who attempts to win back her Ivy League boyfriend Warner by earning a degree at Harvard Law School. Along the way, she discovers that she’s much more than just a pretty blonde and triumphs against stereotypes and naysayers. Starring the charming Reese Witherspoon as the determined Elle Woods, Legally Blonde showcases the character’s growth and realization that she’s capable of so much more than simply fitting in the status quo. Elle’s fighting spirit and can-do attitude is admirable, and it’s wonderful to watch her come into her own and rattle some cages along the way. CNN perfectly summed up the message of the movie, proclaiming it to be a “sassy satire that retains its message: believe in yourself and follow your dreams.”
School of Rock
The 2003 beloved comedy film School of Rock is an endearing and hilarious flick that centers on struggling rock guitarist Dewey Finn, who is kicked out of his band and becomes a substitute teacher at a stuffy elementary private school. After witnessing the musical talent of some of his students, he forms a band of fourth-graders to win the Battle of the Bands contest. Starring the charismatic and always funny Jack Black as Dewey Finn, the movie depicts the diverse group of students embracing their talents and overcoming their insecurities in a heart-warming way. Dewey also grows as his reasons for joining the contest become about more than just money or fame; he genuinely loves teaching and inspiring his students. School of Rock was a critical and commercial hit and is both an inspiring and rocking good time for moviegoers.
2011’s period drama The Help is based on the Kathryn Stockett novel, and follows an aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s as she writes a book detailing the African American maids’ point of view on the white families they work for. The moving and emotionally driven film features a talented cast including Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, and Octavia Spencer. The Help is a beautiful tale of self-love and expression and encourages viewers to find their voice and hold on tightly to it. The women are able to be honest and feel heard during a time in which their voices were trying to be stifled. The drama was nominated for four Academy Awards, with Spencer winning for Best Supporting Actress.
A Cinderella Story
Hilary Duff stars in the 2004 teen rom-com A Cinderella Story, which is a modern day retelling of the classic Cinderella fairytale. The premise revolves around two internet pen pals who plan to finally meet at their high school’s Halloween dance. The movie features an impressive cast like Chad Michael Murray, Jennifer Coolidge, and Regina King, and follows the downtrodden Sam (Duff) as she combats her wicked stepmother and low high school social status while dreaming about meeting her internet beau (Murray). Over the course of the sweet film, Sam realizes her self-worth and value lies beyond a ridiculous high school hierarchy and her miserable stepmother’s antics, and finds her voice and confidence.