25 Inspirational Movies Like The Blind Side To Add To Your Watch List

Sometimes, you just want to watch a movie that's gonna make you feel good. That was certainly part of the appeal of the 2009 Sandra Bullock film "The Blind Side," which is reportedly her fourth-highest grossing film to date. Though critical opinions on the film vary – some see it as an example of the white savior narrative – it did win Sandra Bullock her very first Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, so there's got to be something there.

It's really not surprising that "The Blind Side" was so popular. It contains several elements that moviegoers across the country (and across the world) just can't get enough of. First of all, it's not just an inspiring story, it's an inspiring true story, something that's bound to get those tear ducts working. It's also a sports movie, which is one of the few genres that almost everyone – from your baby cousin to your grandpa – can get behind. And don't forget that it stars Sandra Bullock, one of the most charming and beloved movie stars in recent history.

"The Blind Side" is not an especially unique movie, all things considered. Luckily for viewers, that means there are plenty of other films out there that will give you the same squeeze in your heart you get when you watch it. Whether it's narratives inspired by real-life, sports dramas, or films about overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles that are your thing, there's something for everyone. Check out this list of all the movies you should watch next if "The Blind Side" is on your mind.

Erin Brockovich

If there's one actress who can rival Sandra Bullock in box office draw and general appeal, it's got to be none other than America's sweetheart herself: the one and only Julia Roberts. If "The Blind Side" is the kind of movie that makes your heart sing, you might want to check out the best biopic in Roberts' repertoire – Steven Soderbergh's 2000 film "Erin Brockovich." (Like Bullock in "The Blind Side," Roberts also won her first Oscar for the role.)

The movie tells the real-life tale of Erin Brockovich, who, in 1993, was an unemployed single mother of three. After losing a personal injury case, she manages to get a job at a law firm where she uncovers a cover-up involving contaminated water that has been causing illness among the residents of a small town. Despite her rather unconventional way of going about things, Brockovich proves herself to be an effective legal clerk, and she becomes hell-bent on proving her case.

Like Bullock's Leigh Anne Tuohy in "The Blind Side," Brockovich is a brassy southern woman who isn't afraid to tell it like it is. Roberts' spirited performance makes it impossible for you not to root for Brockovich, and, luckily (spoiler alert), her hard work does eventually pay off. If you're in the mood for a riveting true story about a woman who just won't back down, "Erin Brockovich" is your best bet.


"The Blind Side" is definitely heartwarming, but it's not exactly a movie that's going to get your blood pumping. If you're looking for something that will give you more of an adrenaline rush, then "Adrift" is the film for you. Based on a true story, "Adrift" stars Shailene Woodley as Tami Oldham, a sailor living in Tahiti. She falls in love with a British man named Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin), who is hired to sail a yacht back to San Diego. While at sea they encounter Hurricane Raymond, a devastating storm that alters their course and forces them to fight for their lives.

Do not read the Wikipedia page for this movie before watching it (major spoilers!), and instead trust that it's a thrilling ride from start to finish. It doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the survival movie genre, but Woodley's incredible performance is more than enough to make it worth watching. Oldham's astonishing strength in the face of a harrowing situation is totally inspiring, though it might make you want to steer clear of sailboats for a little while afterward.

Under The Tuscan Sun

While some of the most beloved films based on true stories are about people overcoming seemingly impossible odds in order to achieve their goals, sometimes the most charming stories are those about people simply finding themselves. Arguably the most popular film in the 'divorced white women finding themselves' genre is the Ryan Murphy-helmed adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Eat Pray Love," which stars the one and only Julia Roberts. But instead of streaming that film, instead consider "Under The Tuscan Sun," the more highly rated of the two (sorry Julia).

Based on the memoir of the same name by Frances Mayes, "Under the Tuscan Sun" follows Frances (Diane Lane), a San Francisco writer who goes through a traumatic divorce which causes her to lose her house. Her best friend Patti (Sandra Oh) convinces her to take a trip to Tuscany to recover. While there, Frances decides to buy an abandoned villa and start a new life. She is later joined by Patti herself, as well as several colorful locals.

Though "Under the Tuscan Sun" is certainly not the only movie of its kind, it's one of the better ones, and it's hard not to be charmed by Lane's character — despite her many quirks. It's a cheerful, easygoing film that doesn't require much from the viewer except for a slight suspension of disbelief. (Though it is based on a true story, after all.) If that sounds like your jam, then queue it up ASAP.

Coach Carter

There's nothing like a movie about a really great coach who inspires his athletes to do good on and off the field. Luckily for you, that perfectly describes the next film on this list. Released in 2005, "Coach Carter" stars Samuel L. Jackson as a coach who has returned to his hometown of Richmond, California, in order to lead the high school basketball team. Initially, Coach Carter's strategy is a success, and his team finds themselves on a winning streak. But when they begin to ignore their academic responsibilities, Coach Carter puts a stop to their success, locking the gym doors and halting the season until the players can get their grades up.

You can imagine how this one goes. Despite forceful objections from the players and their families, Coach Carter refuses to give in and is determined to teach his players the lessons he thinks they need in order to succeed in life. Jackson is in peak form in the film, and the credit sequence – which tells of the future lives of Carter's players – is a real tearjerker. The fact that it's based on a true story is just icing on a really delicious cake.

Remember The Titans

Where would the entertainment world be without Denzel Washington? Well, you certainly wouldn't be watching "Remember the Titans," that's for sure. Like Bullock's "The Blind Side," 2000's "Remember the Titans" looks at the conflict between two of the most American institutions: football and racism. Based on a true story, "Remember the Titans" follows Herman Boone (Washington), a football coach in 1971 Alexandria, Virginia who is involved in the efforts to integrate the high school football team. When Boone is named head coach over the school's white coach, the racial tension in the town comes to a head, and Boone must work to find harmony within a volatile situation.

"Remember the Titans" is a Disney movie, which means it can be rather sentimental at times. Luckily, Washington is excellent in the role, and he keeps the character from feeling like merely an archetype of Black strength and tolerance in the face of racial hatred. As far as football movies go, it's an especially stirring one, and Washington's speech in a misty graveyard on the site of the Battle of Gettysburg is enough to inspire even the most hardened individuals.


If you're in the mood for a heartwarming tearjerker, this is the movie for you. Based on a real story that sounds almost too incredible to be true, "Lion" follows a five-year-old boy named Saroo (Sunny Pawar) who gets lost on a train that takes him thousands of miles away from his home. He eventually ends up in Kolkata, where he lives on the streets until he is adopted by Australians Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John Brierley (David Whenhan). Now a 30-year-old man (played by Dev Patel), Saroo is determined to find his home and his family, and he might be able to do just that with the help of a new piece of technology called Google Earth.

"Lion" tells a truly remarkable tale, and it will make you believe in the power of family and home in a whole new way. Patel's performance is certain to pull on your heartstrings, and Pawar is astounding in his role as a young Saroo. (If you want to see something totally adorable, check out Patel and Pawar at the Oscars together.) If the end credits scene doesn't make you tear up, you might need to go to the doctor to get that checked out. But don't worry, Nicole Kidman will be there to comfort you.


Technically, the 2014 film "Wild" is part of the 'divorced white women finding themselves' genre made famous in films like "Eat Pray Love" and "Under the Tuscan Sun," but it's a pretty unique take on the issue. The movie was directed by the late and great Jean-Marc Vallée and stars Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, the woman who wrote the memoir that the film is based on. In 1995, Cheryl is reeling from the loss of her mother, the demise of her marriage, and a nasty heroin habit. Unable to cope with her life in the "real world," Cheryl decides to hike part of the 2,653-mile Pacific Crest Trail despite the fact that she has no hiking or backpacking experience. Cheryl must face down the physical hardships of the trail and her own demons if she's to make it out of the wilderness in one piece.

With all of the talent behind it, it's no surprise that "Wild" is such a success. Strayed is a talented writer with a distinct style, and her voice really shines in this adaptation. Witherspoon, who is most well-known for playing bright, bubbly characters, is surprisingly well-suited for the role, and she really leans into Cheryl's darker impulses. Vallée's unique directorial style – famously epitomized in Season 1 of "Big Little Lies" – is perfect for the film, and its numerous flashback sequences (something Vallée is especially known for) are one of its greatest strengths. It might not inspire you to hike a thousand miles without preparation, but hopefully it will inspire you to do a little soul searching, albeit in a safer environment.


Before Pablo Larraín directed the critically acclaimed Princess Diana biopic "Spencer," he directed another equally compelling film about a famous political figure. His 2016 movie "Jackie" stars Natalie Portman in the title role and follows Jackie O in the week following her husband's assassination. Like "Spencer," "Jackie" is a powerful snapshot of a woman trying to keep it together during an extremely trying time.

Portman's performance as the beloved first lady is completely eviscerating, as is the way Larraín chooses to portray her strength in the wake of tragedy. The chill-inducing moment when Jackie refuses to take off her blood-splattered clothes after the assassination because she wants the world to see her devastation is hard to shake off. What makes the film so interesting is that it's not about the Kennedys at all, but rather Jackie's determination to preserve her husband's legacy at all costs.

Whether or not you agree with Jackie's framing of the story or her husband's political decisions is immaterial – the portrait Larraín paints of Jackie is extremely focused, despite the global implications of its subject matter. Many fans were upset that Portman didn't win the Oscar for this role. To honor her impeccable work, why not give the film a watch?


Nothing makes a good movie like the story of a real-life hero who puts their life on the line to make the world a better place. That's exactly why this next film gets a spot on the list. Directed by Gus Van Sant, "Milk" follows Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), who became the first openly gay man in America to hold major public office in 1977. After moving to San Francisco with his partner Scott Smith (James Franco), Milk helps make the Castro District a safe haven for gay and lesbian individuals. His election to public office is a huge win for the LGBTQ residents of the city, but he also gains some powerful enemies in the process.

It's hard not to be inspired by the story of Milk, both in its factual and Hollywood-ized forms. He knew what he was doing was dangerous, but he was compelled to do it anyway, consequences be damned. "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door in the country," he once said, as if predicting his own assassination by political rival Dan White in 1978 (via The Guardian). It's hard to imagine the effect both his life and his death had on the LGBTQ community at the time, but the film does an admirable job of trying to cement his legacy. It also contains a masterclass performance by Penn, who thankfully humanizes the near-mythical figure of Milk.

Battle of the Sexes

Within the league of real-life sports accounts, tennis player Billie Jean King's story is a pretty exceptional one. In 1973, King participated in what was then the most-watched televised sporting event of all time. The so-called "Battle of the Sexes" pitted King against fading tennis legend Bobby Riggs, who was determined to prove men were better than women at the sport. The film adaptation of the story stars Emma Stone as King and Steve Carrell as Riggs, and makes for a pretty compelling watch.

Along with struggling to compete in the extremely underfunded women's tennis league during this time, King is also forced to come to terms with her sexuality when she begins an affair with her hairdresser (​​Andrea Riseborough) while still married to her husband (Austin Stowell). While having marital problems of his own, Riggs challenges the top female tennis player to a match. After he beats the first woman he takes on, King eventually accepts his offer, determined to prove his sexist assumptions wrong.

It's an inspiring narrative, and Stone and Carrel both give engrossing performances as two people who are positioned as total opposites. If you're looking for a story you can really cheer for, add "Battle of the Sexes" to the queue.

Just Mercy

In terms of insurmountable odds, there are few systems as seemingly impenetrable as the U.S. justice system. Despite that, the protagonist of the 2019 film "Just Mercy" is willing to take on those odds. Based on a true story, the movie follows Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), a young graduate of Harvard Law who moves to Alabama to defend those who are most vulnerable. Along with Eva Ansley (Brie Larson), he creates the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery. His first big case is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a man on death row for the murder of an 18-year-old white woman. Stevenson discovers evidence that McMillian is innocent, but finds it increasingly difficult to get McMillian's case heard within the corrupt legal system and police force of Alabama.

Stevenson's single-minded, years-long fight to save McMillian's life is certainly inspiring, if not a bit depressing. Foxx is excellent as the dignified, desperate McMillian, and the journey the film takes viewers on is both heart-wrenching and heartwarming. The film oozes earnestness, which might have been off-putting were it not also filled with so much passion and urgency. You can probably predict where this one is going to go and how the story will unfold, but it's a spirited re-telling nonetheless.

The Way Back

If there's one thing Hollywood loves, it's a good redemption story. Redemption is the name of the game in the 2020 film "The Way Back," which stars Ben Affleck as a former basketball star with an alcohol problem. While working as an ironworker, Jack (Affleck) gets a call from the father at his old Catholic high school where he used to be the star basketball player. Father Devine wants him to coach the school's ailing basketball team after the former coach had a heart attack. Jack agrees, and he eventually begins to bond with the team and is able to lead them to victory. At the same time, Jack must confront a tragedy in his past and deal with his drinking problem if he is to ever move forward and be there for his family and his team.

The narrative itself may be somewhat formulaic, but Affleck is extremely good in the lead role, making the film worth watching for that alone. As David Sims wrote in The Atlantic, "In 'The Way Back', the actor puts aside his movie-star image and taps into a dark time in his life. The result is the best work he's ever done." If you like your basketball movies with a side of self-destructive behavior and just a sliver of hope for a better life, "The Way Back" might be right up your alley.


A story about the people who brought statistical analysis to baseball might not seem like a killer blockbuster idea at first, but the 2011 film "Moneyball" proves that assumption wrong. With a script co-written by Aaron Sorkin, "Moneyball" stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics. While on a scouting trip for the 2002 season, Beane meets Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a young economist who has an interesting theory about evaluating players using statistics.

Known as sabermetrics, Brand's method uses statistical analysis in order to evaluate the overall performance of players and predict their future performance. Beane knows something needs to change if the Athletics want to assemble a competitive team, so he adopts Brand's radical approach. Despite opposition from other members of management, Beane is committed to seeing his plan to fruition and creating a winning lineup.

"Moneyball" is sort of a backstage sports movie focusing less on the players and more on the strategy behind the game. Despite its rather unconventional approach to telling the story of America's favorite pastime, "Moneyball" was a hit, garnering a total of six Oscar nominations in 2012. With Sorkin's typical slick, fast-talking script and Pitt's undeniable charm, a home run was inevitable.

Stick It

It's not surprising that some of the best sports movies involve teenagers. High school students are old enough to have their own goals and exhibit their own agency, but young enough that they still need the support of the adults around them – as seen in "The Blind Side." Though it isn't often taken into consideration when discussing the best sports movies America has to offer, 2006's "Stick It" deserves more praise than it gets.

A high school movie, a comedy, and a sports drama all in one, "Stick It" just oozes charm. Missy Peregrym plays Haley, a defiant teenager once considered one of the best gymnasts in the country until she walked out of a competition with no explanation. After a run-in with the law, Haley is given two options: She can either go to a juvenile detention facility or attend an elite gymnastics academy. She chooses the latter, and heads to Houston where she finds herself under the care of famed gymnastics coach Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges). Her defiant attitude exasperates Vickerman, but she eventually wins over both her coach and the rest of her teammates, transforming the sport of gymnastics in the process.

"Stick It" may seem like the kind of movie you watched at a sleepover when you were 12 (which, to be fair, it is), but it also holds up as an especially trenchant treatise on girlhood, competition, and feminist solidarity. Peregrym is incredibly dynamic and charming as Haley, and Bridges is perfectly cast as the gruff-but-loving coach. If you end up trying to do somersaults in your living room after watching this one, well, you're fully responsible for any injuries you may incur.

Blue Crush

You won't find one of the greatest surfing movies of all time on this list (that would be "Point Break," of course) because it doesn't quite fit the bill, but there's another classic option that might give you that inspirational thrill you're looking for.

Based on a magazine article written by author Susan Orlean, 2002's "Blue Crush" follows a group of young surfers in O'ahu. Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) lives with her younger sister, Penny (Mika Boorem), along with her best friends Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake). In order to make ends meet, Anne Marie, Eden, and Lena all work as maids at a hotel, but what they really love to do is surf. Anne Marie dreams of becoming a champion surfer, but finds herself losing focus with the arrival of a charming football player (Matthew Davis).

Despite the Hollywood-ized narrative and the unnecessary romantic subplot (along with some less-than-stellar CGI), "Blue Crush" is still a thrilling ride filled with compelling characters and heart-pounding surfing action. Rodriguez is especially well-cast as a tough-as-nails surfer girl, but it's fun to watch all of the women in the film excel at what they do. There are no shark attacks in this one, but it might just be inspiring enough to convince you to get off the couch for a few minutes.


The 2004 film "Miracle" tells one of those stories that seems almost too good to be true. The perfect storm of political strife, personal determination, and the power of collective spirit, it's amazing to know that the events of the film actually happened. "Miracle" centers on the real experiences of Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), the head ice hockey coach at the University of Minnesota, who is hired to be the coach for the 1980 U.S. Olympic team. Bringing his unique style to the ice, Brooks assembles a group of fiery players who struggle to get along at first. He is finally able to unite the team as they face down a common enemy: The Soviet Olympic team, who are predicted to win gold that year.

As you might be able to guess, the 1980 U.S. Olympic team becomes a symbol of Cold War conflict and American patriotism during this time, and the players realize they are fighting to win much more than a sporting event. It's nearly impossible to stop your heart from pounding as you watch this movie, so it's perfect to put on if you are looking to awaken that kernel of hope and optimism within your soul. Plus, Russell's performance is pretty spectacular (per usual), and it's hard not to root for a guy with that much pizzazz.

Good Will Hunting

"Good Will Hunting" is one of those movies that hits you right in the chest every time you watch it. First released in 1997, the film follows Will Hunting (Matt Damon), a math prodigy employed as a janitor at MIT. One night, he solves an extremely difficult math problem he sees written in an empty classroom and his skills are discovered by math professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård), who takes it upon himself to mentor Will. When Will is arrested in the wake of a brawl, Professor Lambeau makes him a deal: He will get Will out of trouble if he sees a therapist named Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). He agrees, and Maguire comes to be one of the most important people in Will's life.

Alongside Damon and Williams, the film also stars Ben Affleck as Will's best friend and Minnie Driver as his love interest. It's impossible not to cheer for these characters, and it's one of the most affecting stories about therapy ever put to screen. It was something of a phenomenon when it first came out – it made $225 million on a $10 million budget (via IMDb) and earned Damon and Affleck Oscars for Best Screenplay – but it's just as compelling today. Damon and Affleck are charming as the Cambridge-bred boys, and the film is full of quotable lines and inspiring moments. How do you like them apples?

Dead Poets Society

One of the most appealing types of moving, heart-warming films are those that revolve around inspirational teachers. Like films that follow dedicated coaches trying to bring success to their teams, stories about teachers are full of pathos, and the best of them can move even the most stoic people. If you're after the best of the best, then look no further than "Dead Poets Society," another inspiring film starring Robin Williams.

Williams plays John Keating, a newly hired English teacher at an all-boys prep school known for being extremely traditional and strict with its students. In order to connect with his pupils, Keating uses – you guessed it – unorthodox methods in his classes. He eventually breaks through to them, allowing them to finally see past the pressures and expectations of their parents and be who they really want to be.

Williams is naturally gracious and kind hearted in the role, and his younger castmates are bursting with energy and excitement. The film stars Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard ("House"), and Josh Charles ("The Good Wife") in their breakout parts looking fresh-faced and ready to take on the world. If you ever need a little pick-me-up (or a good cry), the "O Captain, My Captain" scene is just a click away.

Hidden Figures

The title of the 2016 film "Hidden Figures" says it all. Sometimes, the utility of a biopic is in its ability to bring to light the extraordinary accounts of those who have too often been ignored, and "Hidden Figures" does just that. The film follows three Black women – Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) – who work at NASA in the early 1960s. The research center where they are employed is segregated by race, and the trio's contributions are undervalued by the agency. Though many of their colleagues are extremely inhospitable, the women eventually become major players in one of the country's most important achievements: launching astronaut John Glenn into orbit.

Like many Hollywood biopics, it's fairly formulaic in how it tells its story. Kevin Costner's character in "Hidden Figures" is probably given too much credit for what he did to integrate NASA, especially since it was Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary who did the brunt of the work (and took most of the abuse). Nonetheless, the film boasts strong performances from its lead actresses, and, above all, tells an important story that every American should know. And those heartwarming end credits do not disappoint.

The Life of Pi

"The Life of Pi" is an inspiring movie about a teenage boy trying to overcome nearly unbeatable odds. Interestingly enough, the story behind the making of the film is just as exciting. "The Life of Pi" was once called an "unfilmable" movie, and three directors had already left the project before director Ang Lee came on board (per Entertainment Weekly). Fox 2000 Pictures was ready to cancel production all together when Lee shared his vision for the film. He cast first-time actor Suraj Sharma in the lead role, despite the fact that he didn't know how to swim and much of the film takes place at sea. Lee also decided to use 3-D cameras so that the stormy scenes would be more realistic.

What Lee ended up with is a pretty extraordinary result, all things considered. The film follows the Patel family, who have just decided to sell their zoo in India and move to Canada. They begin their journey on a freight ship with several animals, only for a devastating storm to strike, leaving their teenage son, Pi (Sharma), as the only human survivor. Pi is not alone, however, as a Bengal tiger joins him in the lifeboat. While stranded at sea, Pi and the tiger form a close bond, relying on each other to make it through the grueling days to come. "The Life of Pi" is, above all, a story about survival, and a compelling look at the power of human (and animal) will. If it doesn't make your heart do a little pitter-patter, what will?

The Aviator

A quick disclaimer: Martin Scorsese's 2004 film "The Aviator" is nearly three hours long. If you can handle its marathon runtime, it's well worth a watch. The historical epic tells the story of billionaire aviator Howard Hughes, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. In the 1930s and '40s, Hughes is a hugely successful figure: He's a director of Hollywood films like "Scarface" and "Hell's Angels," a pioneer in aviation, and a lover of starlets like Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale). However, in his private life, Hughes suffers from mental illness, and his struggles with OCD and depression worsen with every new success.

There are a number of things to love about this movie, one of them being its excellent cast. First of all, there is no other film where you can see Blanchett play Katharine Hepburn, and it is worth watching just for that. DiCaprio is also excellent as the dually confident and anxious Hughes, playing both his highs and his lows with equal amounts of passion. The supporting cast includes the likes of John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Gwen Stefani, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, and Adam Scott. Hughes' own story was larger-than-life, so it's only right his biopic be just as epic.


If there's one thing that "The Blind Side" teaches, it's that every kid deserves supportive, understanding adults around them who truly have their best interests at heart. The 2017 film "Gifted" is a simple story that illustrates precisely this idea. The film follows Frank (Chris Evans), a man who lives with his niece, seven-year-old Mary (Mckenna Grace), in St. Petersburg, Florida.

After Mary's teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate), notices Mary's exceptional mathematical skills, the school principal recommends she attend an elite private school for gifted children. Frank's overbearing mother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), wants to send Mary to the school, but Frank disagrees because he wants Mary to have a normal childhood. Along with his neighbor, Roberta (Octavia Spencer), Frank fights for Mary's right to stay at her current school, while his mother threatens to separate them.

It's an extremely pleasant, straightforward film that benefits from an endearing cast. Young actress Grace (who you've probably seen in nearly every movie or television show that features a five to 12-year-old girl), is so delightful and full of energy that it's kind of impossible to dislike the film. It's also nice to see Evans in a normal, non-superhero role, and Slate, as ever, is a bundle of quirky charm. If you're in the mood for something easy and relaxing, don't sleep on this one.

Akeelah and the Bee

There's something deeply compelling about movies that follow extremely talented children, which is probably why there are so many of them. One film that falls under this category 2006's "Akeelah and the Bee," which stars a young Keke Palmer as the title character. Akeelah is an 11-year-old girl who lives in South Los Angeles. When visiting English professor Dr. Joshua Larabee (Laurence Fishburne) sees her talent for spelling, he tells her she is good enough to compete in the National Spelling Bee. Dr. Larabee eventually becomes Akeelah's coach, but Akeelah's mother, Tanya (Angela Bassett), doesn't approve of Akeelah's newfound interest.

Akeelah is determined to achieve her goal no matter what, and she finds that she just might be able to do it with a little support from her community. Palmer is utterly delightful in the role, and it's difficult not to root for her, even when all the adults in her life are exasperated by her antics. Plus, the addition of two powerhouse actors – Fishburne and Bassett – adds a much-needed gravitas to the heartwarming film. If you're not too dispirited by an 11-year-old being a better speller than you, give "Akeelah and the Bee" a shot.

Gorillas In The Mist

Within the genre of inspiring true stories, there's one narrative that's hard to scoff at: the powerful connection between humans and animals. That connection is one of the ideas that anchors the 1988 film "Gorillas in the Mist," which tells the tale of primatologist and conservationist Dian Fossey. It features Sigourney Weaver in the lead role, and follows Fossey as she travels to Rwanda and Uganda to study gorillas. Fossey begins to bond with the animals, and as she learns more about them, she encounters the looming threat of poachers. Determined to save her beloved gorillas, Fossey wages war on the poachers, putting herself in harm's way in the process.

The best aspects of "Gorillas in the Mist" are Weaver's determined performance and the incredible true story. While some critics at the time were critical of Fossey's somewhat shallow characterization, many celebrated Weaver's delivery. Roger Ebert was especially impressed with the use of live gorillas and gorilla suits. He noted in his review, "Everything looked equally real to me, and the delicacy with which director Michael Apted developed the relationships between woman and beast was deeply absorbing. There were moments when I felt a touch of awe. Those moments, which are genuine, make the movie worth seeing." If you're looking to find inspiration within the animal kingdom, "Gorillas in the Mist" is a good bet.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

If you're a fan of Wonder Woman and don't know the story behind her inception, then this is movie for you. Directed by Angela Robinson, the mind behind "Herbie: Fully Loaded" and "D.E.B.S.," "Professor Marston and the Wonder Women" tells the story of William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), the man who created the iconic superhero. In this case, the maxim "behind every great man there's a great woman" is doubly true, as Marston had two formidable women in his life who aided in the process.

Marston was a psychology professor at Harvard in the 1920s. Along with his wife Elizabeth (a formidable scholar herself), he developed the lie detector test, an invention that played a huge part in his famous comic books. William and Elizabeth come into contact with a student named Olive Byrne, who just happens to be the daughter of famed suffragette Ethel Byrne and the niece of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. William, Elizabeth, and Olive enter a professional arrangement that quickly turns romantic, and they endeavor to live a life together in a polyamorous relationship, raising children in the suburbs. It's during this time that William, inspired by the two women, creates Wonder Woman.

While the precise nature of the trio's relationship remains contested (via Vulture), the film tells a fascinating story about what it takes to buck social conventions and live by your own moral code. It's thrilling to see how a character as iconic and influential as Wonder Woman was originated, and it's even more exciting to finally get to know the two women instrumental in her conception. How would the world differ without Elizabeth and Olive?