New year, new dreams, new hopes, wishes and aspirations. To get into the spirit, here’s a list of films to watch about starting afresh.
Whether it’s divorce, mental illness, loss or expulsion, the characters in these movies are facing obstacles that will make you believe it’s possible to overcome anything.
Happy New Year!
Hope Floats (1998)
Nothing says “starting over” like returning to your home town divorced and broke and having to face all your high school rivals. Sandra Bullock does it in style as Birdie Pruitt, a faded prom queen picking up the pieces after her husband dumps her on national TV.
The Last Fall (2012)
Matthew Cherry’s debut feature stars Lance Gross as a professional football player searching for the next phase of his life after his athletic career ends.
When eccentric underachiever Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is expelled from the private Rushmore Academy for trying to build an unauthorized aquarium on school grounds, he’s forced to start afresh in the world of public school. Wackiness, of course, ensues.
Erin Brockovich (2000)
Julia Roberts is the ultimate underdog as an unemployed single mom with three kids who, despite a formal law education, parlays her passion for justice into a career in environmental activism. Watch her take down a major corporation in stilettos, proving that yes, you can fight city hall.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Several family members are in stages of starting over in this quirky comedy centered on a kiddie beauty pageant. Most notably Uncle Frank (Steve Carell), who’s trying to keep it together after a career collapse and suicide attempt.
Poetic Justice (1993)
One of the greatest bad movies of the 1990s. Janet Jackson stars as a South Central hairdresser and aspiring poet who loses her boyfriend to violence. Tupac Shakur is the kindhearted mail carrier who teaches her how to love again. Seriously.
Go For Sisters (2013)
In John Sayles’ latest indie drama about a pair of estranged friends on a dangerous mission, Yolonda Ross gives a convincing performance as an ex-convict looking to start a new life on the outside.
Eat Pray Love (2010)
More Julia Roberts, the ultimate comeback kid. Here, we see her bounce back from a divorce by flitting across countries to find herself in Italy, India and Indonesia.
Things We Lost in the Fire (2007)
In one of Halle Berry’s most tolerable roles ever, a widow and a recovering drug addict share a mutual loss and lean on each other for support.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
In David O. Russell’s multi-Oscar nominated novel adaptation, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence struggle to overcome mental illness, the loss of their spouses, and a host of personal problems through their unconventional friendship.
Bonus: Sleeping With The Enemy (1991)
In case you haven’t gotten enough Julia Roberts. Here, she stars as a battered wife who fakes her own death to escape her psychotic husband. Talk about starting anew. This thriller was riveting enough to inspire a “remake” of sorts 11 years later, the JLo starrer ‘Enough.’