New year’s watchlist: 5 films about starting anew | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

With the new year approaching fast, more than the countdown parties and the fireworks, the holiday has always been about new beginnings and turning over a new leaf as we move on to the next chapter of our lives. What do you think makes new year’s resolutions so prevalent? While the age-old saying states that “art imitates life,” Oscar Wilde on the other hand disagrees, arguing the opposite. If there are films inspired by stories of growth and self-improvement, so are there real-life narratives being constructed at this very moment, driven and influenced by art. Sometimes, a good movie about the right thing can be just the push you need. Heading into 2023, if you’re looking for some cinematic inspiration, here are 5 films about starting anew to add to your new year’s watchlist.


This is a film that’s very close to my heart. Aside from loving it ever since I first saw it, I drew a lot of comparisons with the movie’s adorable little “Wilderness Explorer” Russell–I was very round before, maybe a little still nowadays. Disney’s ‘Up’ follows the story of Carl, a grumpy old man who can’t seem to let go of the dreams and aspirations he shared with his late wife, Ellie. However, upon meeting an unlikely cast of friends, including Russel, a talking dog, and an exotic rare bird named Kevin, Carl eventually learns to let go of the past, and embark on his own new adventure. It’s a beautiful film that shows that it’s never too late to start again.

The Notebook

Looking back at this romantic classic, infidelity will never be right, no matter what the situation. But the story of Noah “Duke” Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and Allison “Allie” Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) will always hit the spot–there’s a reason why it’s still being talked about to this day. A love story spanning years of star-crossed lovers who defy societal expectations, and even a world war, aside from taking notes on flirting from Gosling, there’s a lot to pick up from ‘The Notebook’, particularly on following your heart no matter how it looks from the outside.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

As a now working adult, this film hits a lot closer to home compared to when I first saw it as a grade schooler. A negative assets manager at Life magazine stuck behind a desk, chronically daydreaming of his office crush and a different life altogether, Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is thrust into an unexpected journey halfway across the world in search of a missing negative roll. Unbeknownst to him, however, this trip does more for him than just ensuring the success of the magazine’s final print issue. An adventure only a few would ever dare take in their lifetime, Mitty learns to break out of his shell, to finally choose to live the life he had only been dreaming of.

Good Will Hunting

I watched this movie for a philosophy assignment during my 2nd year in university. Self-acceptance and introspection are at the core of ‘Good Will Hunting’. A stunning performance by its star-studded cast, the film follows the story of Will Hunting (Matt Damon) and Dr. Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) as a troubled mathematical genius embarks on a journey to healing together with his therapist to unwrap the guarded secrets of his past for the sake of healthily moving forward. 2022 has been a challenging year and I’m sure each of you has gone through your own separate challenges or maybe you’re still in the middle of them. This film invites you to look around and see that you’re not alone. Perhaps you’ve been going through all of this by yourself, and in starting anew in the incoming new year, maybe it would do you well to simply ask for help.

A Silent Voice

I saw this film on a date that I won’t ever forget, in a past relationship that I can’t seem to get over– that’s a story for a different time. We’ve all made mistakes that we’re not proud of. Sometimes we get over it and move on with our lives, but for some, these begin to identify them, keeping them in place, preventing them from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. For High school student Shōya Ishida, that is, his history of being a bully has scarred him with the pain he used to inflict on others, and the loneliness created by his now-tainted reputation. However, things begin to take a turn for the better when he decides to wrap up loose ends by apologizing to the one he used to bully and by reconnecting with his past friends. While not the smoothest of processes, soon enough, he would come to see that he is no longer alone, finally giving him the courage to once again look people in the eye. People are difficult, I know, but to end the year, or maybe make it your mission for the next, try to make amends with those you’ve hurt. Whether or not it goes the way you imagine it, maybe it would at least take that weight off you. 

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