Steven Benjamin’s Picks:

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel, that is the purpose of life.”

This is great for those who need a new perspective – perhaps you’re feeling discouraged in your workplace – well Walter Mitty shows that it’s never too late to reclaim the fervour for life, whilst it also demonstrates the beauty even within the concrete jungle… to be, or to find the ‘ghost cat’.

Stand By Me

“We knew exactly who we were and exactly where we were going. It was grand.”

A story of friendship, youth and adventure (even if that adventure was sort of morbid – to find the body of a missing boy). This film just makes it onto the list due to enduring friendship. Despite going their separate ways, the four boys would remain loyal to each other. We grow up, we complicate our lives, innocence erodes, but in this story the purity of youth remains in that pocket of time.

Little Miss Sunshine

“Everyone, pretend to be normal”

So not everyone will have to smuggle a dead body out of a hospital, but everyone’s confronted a moment where they’ve had to decide whether to conform or just be themselves, even at the cost of looking silly. This film certainly reminds us not to judge, that everyone has their own problems, and that we can overcome them together, or just by the power of our own convictions.

The Way, Way Back

“You’ve got to go your own way, and you, my friend, are going your own way.”

A ‘coming of age’ story – it’s about breaking free of your inhibitions and growing as a person to discover your true strength. There will always be those who put you down, but what goes on in the real world, need not dictate the way you live your life. In this film, a Waterpark is Duncan’s escape from the problems of his world, and its where he learns how to be who he wants to be.


“I like to look for things no one else catches.”

Never give up on love, or your dreams – well, so often they’re one and the same. Amelie is never afraid to spice up life with a bit of fantasy and playful whimsy, never forsaking the joys of childhood, or seeing things with that sort of outlook. You may have great dreams, but when the moment arises to realise said dreams, one mustn’t be afraid to go for it.

Terrence Nell’s Picks:

Secondhand Lions

Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most: that people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love, true love, never dies… No matter if they’re true or not, a man should believe in those things because those are the things worth believing in.

A heartwarming coming-of-age story about a boy whose unreliable mother leaves him on a ranch with his two great uncles, former globetrotting adventurers who still have wild streaks. The film is both fun and touching, yet also raises questions about what it means to grow up and to grow old.


“Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.”

The story of Matilda is about a young girl who triumphs over her dark surroundings by unlocking her hidden potential. She learns to read on her own by utilising the powerful tools of her local library and it’s books and also has a strong desire to protect others and do what is right. The story celebrates, as it does in most Roald Dahl books, the triumph of right over wrong and perhaps good over evil.

Shawshank Redemption

“… some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice,”

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Stephen King, who penned Stand by Me, also wrote the short story on which The Shawshank Redemption was based. At times the film get’s quite gritty, but it’s a comforting tale of friendship that illustrates how your hope and outlook in life is what shapes your life experience, regardless of where you may be (prison or “free” in the world).

The Dead Poet’s Society

“But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – - Carpe – - hear it? – - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”

This film carries with it a very positive message for teens about seizing the day and positive self-expression. It also encourages individuality and celebrates the importance of inspiration. The students in the film are weighed down under the fearsome load of duty and obligation until an unorthodox teacher, who harnesses the power of literature to open their minds, enters their lives. 

The Pusuit of Happyness

“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.”

An inspirational and often emotionally wrenching film based on a true story. It carries with it the message of remaining optimistic, even in the face of insurmountable difficulty. As Winston Churchill so famously said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, while an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” 

Special Mentions: Just missing out on this list for reasons we shall not mention; The Perks of being a Wallflower, Cool Runnings, Singing in the Rain

“… a gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” — Cool Runnings (1993)