Humanist Movies

SELECTED MOVIE REVIEWS OF INTEREST TO SECULAR HUMANISTS

Most of the mainstream media do not address moral or religious issues.  Often, moral discussion in the movies never goes above the level of "good guys and bad guys."  There are a few exceptions, though.  Some movies make an effort to examine modern morality or to critique religion.
Here is a list of movies that we are considering for upcoming meetings, as of 2012.
These reviews include movies that have elements that are of interest from a humanist or free thought perspective. The reviews were previously published in WASHline, the newsletter of the Washington Area Secular Humanists, P. O. Box 15319, Washington, D. C.  20003.
What is a humanist movie? Opinions and tastes differ radically. Some atheists may be looking for “The Great American Atheist Movie.” Other reviewers (including some Christians and Muslims) think that most Hollywood movies are humanist by default, since they rarely discuss or deal with religion (even though they are usually uncritical of religion when it is mentioned).
Movies are about human actions, conditions, and challenges in an effort to solve problems or make lives better. Movies need action and drama. Characters in good movies are not purely good or evil, but we can learn from their efforts to overcome problems. So some humanist movies may be about religious people, if their beliefs are sincerely examined, for example. A humanist movie can be about people with bad behavior, if the reason for their evil behavior is indicated and they aren't rewarded for it. Of course, humanist movies can be about good people who accomplish difficult tasks. All of these topics can educate us about the human conditions, and that makes them humanistic movies. If nothing else, the movies should provoke some thought and discussion.
With these criteria in mind, here is an incomplete list of some movies that I think are humanistic. Click on the titles to see the review.
Select a movie from the following categories:
 
Current Drama
Blue Crush
The Brothers McMullen
Citizen Ruth
Contact
Da Vinci Code
Fearless
Hard Eight
Heart of the Beholder
House of Sand and Fog
In the Company of Men
The Insider
The Invention of Lying: Ricky Gervais plays a member of a society that never discovered how to lie, but he invents lying and proceeds to use it to get whatever he wants, including starting a religion.
Kalifornia
The Ledge
Men With Guns
October Sky
The People vs. Larry Flynt
Rangoon
Sirens
The Usual Suspects
Worlds Apart: Story of a young Swedish girl who was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, but looses her faith and is ostracized by her family.
X2: X-Men United
Historical Fiction
Angels & Insects
Black Robe
Catholics
Dangerous Beauty
Heart of the Beholder
The Insider
The Life of Brian: Monty Python's satire of the Gospel stories.
Little Buddha
Men With Guns
October Sky
The Passion of the Christ
The People vs. Larry Flynt
Princess Mononoke
Quills
Rangoon
Rosewood
Sirens
Science Fiction
A.I: Artificial Intelligence
Contact
Matrix: Revolutions
Princess Mononoke
The Thirteenth Floor
X2: X-Men United
Documentaries/Historical Recreations
The Aristocrats
Evolution Conspiracy
The God Who Wasn't There: Review of evidence that Jesus didn't exist and Christianity was borrowed from other, earlier pagan religions.
Hoop Dreams
The Insider
October Sky
The Passion of the Christ
The People vs. Larry Flynt
Quills
Rangoon
Religulous: Bill Maher's scathing review of odd religious beliefs and believers.
Roger & Me
Rosewood
Something Beautiful for God/Hell's Angel:  Mother Teresa of Calcutta   (by Christopher Hitchens)
Waiting for Armageddon: Documentary about Christian fundamentalists, including their ideas about the end of the world and their support of Israel (which will be destroyed when the world ends, according to Christian dogma).
Who Killed the Electric Car? Examination of GM's electric car made in the 1990's and then crushed to keep the cars off the market.


Reviews are Copyright (c) 1996-2012 by Washington Area Secular Humanists (WASH), Inc.
All reproduction for fair use must include this copyright notice and give credit to WASH. Uncredited use of excerpts is expressly prohibited.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the board of directors or all members of WASH.