The best movies about community focus on the strength and spirit of groups who come together. Be it a high school football team or just friends coming together to make lives better, these movies will leave viewers feeling connected.
Rosemary’s Baby shows the power of community to help in times of need, while It’s a Wonderful Life shows its importance through family. Additionally, the films demonstrate the terrifying realities that can result from tight communities with unnerving realism.
The Great Gatsby (1995)
The Great Gatsby is one of the classic works in American literature. Along with Melville’s Moby Dick, Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, and Ellison’s Invisible Man, it provides one of the primary texts addressing ideas about America and its place in the world. This novel has become a cornerstone in high school curricula as well as popular culture through stage adaptations. Additionally, scholarly attention is drawn towards its treatment of social class differences, inherited versus self-made wealth issues, as well as gender and race issues.
This story takes place during Prohibition in West Egg, Long Island, and features first-person narrator Nick Carraway as he interacts with wealthy millionaire Jay Gatsby and his extravagant parties that celebrate the Roaring Twenties culture of materialism and shallow values. Fitzgerald’s character of Gatsby attempts to win back his former flame, Daisy Buchanan.
Fitzgerald employed various literary techniques throughout the novel to render characters and their relationships realistically, such as flashbacks that reveal Gatsby’s past and how it affects his present behavior, examination of East Egg’s moral code against that of West Egg residents, showing true love as a potential means for wealth accumulation; as well as considering true love’s power to manipulate situations of powerlessness or inequality.
The Brothers McMullen (1999)
This hilarious and insightful comedy about three Irish Catholic brothers and their wives explores issues of love, sexuality, religion, and family dynamics. Edward Burns made his feature directorial debut with this movie, which won the Grand Jury prize at Sundance Film Festival 1995; furthermore, it marked Fox Searchlight’s inaugural release under Tom Rothman’s label dedicated to independent and foreign film releases.
The Brothers McMullen is an entertaining blend of comedy, drama, and honesty. The characters are well-developed, while the dialogue is natural and relatable; no single plot line takes too much focus, allowing each brother a turn at being front and center as they work through their issues.
Mike McGlone was the star of this film and has gone on to enjoy a fruitful acting career, appearing in everything from Matt LeBlanc’s monkey baseball comedy Ed to Denzel Washington/Angelina Jolie cop thriller One Tough Cop. Jennifer Jostyn also made waves, going from guest spots on Gilmore Girls and ER to movies including Deep Impact and Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses. Elizabeth McKay, who played Ann, had less of an acting career overall but did appear in a supporting role in the 1997 movie Brokers.
The Blind Side (2009)
The Blind Side takes an altogether different approach than Precious and opts for a more conventional storybook family drama. The movie tells the accurate tale of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, two wealthy white families that adopted Michael Oher from Memphis Ghetto; Leigh Anne became Michael Oher’s caretaker while helping to realize his dreams of playing football – an emotionally powerful tale highlighted by Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy. Her performance stands out among similar movies about community.
When The Blind Side movie premiered in 2009, it became an instantaneous classic and earned Sandra Bullock an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Leigh Anne. Additionally, Michael Lewis released the New York Times best-selling book that is based on Oher’s true journey from being a misunderstood homeless teenager to college and NFL stardom. Both movie and book focus on this accurate tale of transformation.
At its release, The Blind Side was widely criticized for its depiction of white savior stereotypes, and Michael Oher has pointed out its inaccuracy, saying the Tuohys exploited him unfairly and inaccurately. Families can discuss The Blind Side’s issues and evaluate whether or not its popularity merited all its praise, as well as whether or not Michael’s success can solely be credited to their efforts.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2002)
The Pursuit of Happiness is an inspiring movie about one man who persistently pursues his goals despite others doubting him and discouraging him from doing so. This film shows why it is essential to go after your dreams no matter how difficult they may seem and is based on an actual story demonstrating how someone from nothing can go on to become successful.
This film chronicles the life of Chris Gardner, an ex-homeless person. Based on Gardner’s memoir of the same name published in 2006, this biographical drama film stars Will Smith and Jaden Smith, with Quincy Troupe playing his father as featured actors. Directed by Gabriele Muccino.
It is an inspirational movie for viewers of all ages and can serve as a lesson on what happiness really means: not as an endpoint but an ongoing process, like baking a cake where ingredients and quantities can be chosen individually to achieve one’s personal happiness recipe.
The movie also teaches us how important having a support network during difficult times can be, particularly friends and family who will always be there when things get tough.
The Village (2007)
The Village is a fairy tale-esque story about community. Set in 19th-century Pennsylvania, residents of a small village live in fear of nameless creatures found lurking in nearby woods, watching towers and guards protecting its perimeter, warning villagers not to venture into it as those entering risk being killed by these beings – particularly red hued creatures who draw people inside it like bees to honey. When these unknown forces murder young Noah, his daughter Ivy petitions the elders for permission to enter into this strange forest in search of medicine; her petitioning father, Edward Walker, consents and grants her license for her entry despite these instructions by all-wise elders not allow her entering it for medical assistance despite this warning system in place and watchtowers surrounding her village perimeters and guards being in place at all times by its leader Edward Walker himself and his elders’ advice against going there alone for fear that unknown beings.
Bryce Dallas Howard brings Ivy to life as an inspiring character who displays both her independence and an offbeat sense of humor in The Village. Though her blindness plays a central role, Ivy does not let it keep her away from those she cares for – in fact, she can sometimes recognize their “color,” adding another layer to its magical and yet disturbing qualities.
Peacock Entertainment has licensed Community’s six seasons for a full-length feature film due to be released sometime between 2023 and 2024, featuring original cast members Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, and Jim Rash.
The Other Lamb (2013)
The Other Lamb is one of this year’s more daring works to explore female subjugation, blurring the boundaries between psychological horror and topical character study. Polish filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska has created a haunting tale that provides a clear understanding of male dominance’s dangers.
This movie follows a young girl living within a religious cult led by Shepherd (GAME OF THRONES’ Michiel Huisman). While their lives appear idyllic in an isolated forest commune, it quickly becomes evident that their leader may not be their savior; as more women question his authority, his power only continues to increase.
Raffey Cassidy made her big screen debut in Yorgos Lanthimos’ strange and brilliant The Killing of a Sacred Deer and has returned as Selah, a teenager raised in an insular community ruled by an apparent messianic leader with dark intentions. Cassidy shines once more as Selah in The Other Lamb.
The Other Lamb utilizes a dreamlike, surrealist aesthetic to provide an extraordinary cinematic experience for viewers. Though at times confusing, this is all part of its charm, drawing on our fascination with cults and deprogramming techniques to deliver an unexpected revenge tale.