The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Films
Ten More Spiritually Literate Films
The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Foreign Language Films
The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Documentaries
Ten More Spiritually Literate Documentaries

Each year we see hundreds of movies and review those we can recommend to you as good companions for your spiritual journey. We encourage you to see these movies in the theater or via DVD or a streaming service. Click on the links to read full reviews.

The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Films

Directed by Kenneth Branaugh
A soulful, richly human, coming-of-age film brimming with meaning.

Bergman Island
Directed by Mia Hansen-Love
An exploration of love, creativity, and the power of the imagination as experienced by two filmmakers.

Directed by Sian Heder
A heartwarming story that illustrates family love and how singing can set you free.

Don’t Look Up
Directed by Adam McKay
A thought-provoking parable, both funny and sad, about the reactions to the consequences of climate change.

Directed by Jared Brush, Byron Howard
An exuberant celebration of community and the myriad ways we can co-create home.

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
An unusual road movie full of life lessons for an engineer, a dog, and a robot.

The Lost Daughter
Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal
A sobering drama about how motherhood can sometimes bring out our shadow sides.

Directed by Fran Kranz
A fictional story that proves how open-hearted conversation can lead to healing, even after the tragedy of a mass shooting.

The Power of the Dog
Directed by Jane Campion
A sly meditation on masculinity and power.

West Side Story
Directed by Steven Spielberg
A dazzling version of the classic story of race conflict and undaunted love.

Ten More Spiritually Literate Films

The Card Counter
Directed by Paul Schrader
A character study of a gambler seeking redemption for his past actions as part of the American war machine.

East of the Mountains
Directed by S. J. Chiro
A deeply rich and tender-hearted drama about an elder’s experience of compassion.

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
An inspiring story filled with moments of grace about a mother determined to build a safe home for her children.

In the Heights
Directed by Jon M. Chu
A vibrant musical about seeking your dreams, finding your home, and living with zeal.

King Richard
Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green
A dynamic sports drama about the core values of the American dream.

Little Fish
Directed by Chad Hartigan
A love story set during a pandemic that reminds us of the importance of memories.

Directed by Michael Sarnoski
A touching meditation on grief and a critique of the high-end restaurant scene.

Son of Monarchs
Directed by Alexis Gambis
A richly thematic and symbolic story of the parallel migrations of a Mexican scientist and the butterflies from his home region.

Directed by Stephen Daldry
An intense examination of the effects on a relationship of the COVID pandemic lockdown.

Directed by Sara Colangelo
A substantial film about the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund that addresses whether it is possible to put a price tag on a life.

The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Foreign Language Films

About Endlessness
Directed by Roy Andersson
A tutorial on the spiritual practice of attention.

Drive My CarDrive My Car
Directed by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
A slow-moving meditation on alienation and connection.

I’m Your Man
Directed by Maria Schrader
A spunky sci-fi dramedy that asks some good questions about what humans want in relationships and if AI beings should have rights.

Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache
Directed by Khyentse Norbu
Lessons in paying attention for a young Tibetan convinced he’s dying unless he can find the sacred feminine in the world around him.

Directed by Alex Camilleri
A gripping portrait of the choice between tradition and modernity facing a Maltese fisherman.

Parallel Mothers
Directed by Pedro Almodovar
An excavation of history, trauma, truth, and the connections that can heal.

Prayers for the Stolen
Directed by Tatiana Huezo
An empathy building film about young girls in a Mexican village whose strong friendship helps them survive dangers from without.

There Is No Evil
Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof
A quartet of moral parables about the death penalty and personal liberty.

They Say Nothing Stays the Same
Directed by Joe Odagiri
A character study about a Japanese elder who models kindness, hospitality, and reverence.

What Do We See When We Look at the SkyWhat Do We See When We Look at the Sky?
Directed by Alexandre Koberidze
A quietly affecting call for all of us to pay closer attention to the world around us.

The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Documentaries

Becoming CousteauBecoming Cousteau
Directed by Liz Barbus
A visually appealing documentary about Jacques Cousteau’s vast and enthralling explorations of the watery world.

Convergence: Courage in a Crisis
Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, Hassan Akkad, Lieven Corthouts, Mohammad Reza Eyni, Amber Fares, Guillermo Galdos, Lali Houghton, Sara Khaki, Wenhau Lin, Muricio Monteiro Filho, Juhi Sharma
Stories of volunteer heroes in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen
A bold animated film about a refugee and the search for home.

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in TimeKurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time
Directed by Robert W. Weide and Don Argott
An endlessly fascinating portrait of the man and the writings that captured our imaginations in the late twentieth century.

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52
Directed by Joshua Zeman
A scientific quest for a whale unable to communicate with other whales that is also a metaphor for loneliness in our times.

Not Going QuietlyNot Going Quietly
Directed by Nicholas Bruckman
A portrait of a young man dying of ALS who inspires others to be heroes and urge public officials to secure health care for all.

Paper & Glue
Directed by J R
The inspiring stories behind JR’s monumental, creative, socially conscious immersive art.

Storm Lake
Directed by Jerry Risius, Beth Levison
A rousing salute to local newspapers as the glue holding communities together.

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
A thrilling mashup of a concert film and a social justice documentary.

Writing with FireWriting with Fire
Directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh
A motivating documentary about a group of fearless women journalists in India.

Ten More Spiritually Literate Documentaries

Directed by Jamila Wignot
A sweeping biofilm about the immensely creative Black choreographer and dancer.

A dazzling and enlightening documentary on China’s capitalism, consumerism, and economic growth.

Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to PowerBarbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power
Directed by Abby Ginzberg
A truly inspiring portrait of a courageous and committed public servant.

Bring Your Own BrigadeBring Your Own Brigade
Directed by Lucy Walker
An examination of two California megafires and what we can learn from them about forest management.

Echoes of the InvisibleEchoes of the Invisible
Directed by Steve Elkins
A meditative documentary that touches on a remarkable number of spiritual practices.

Directed by Amanda Lipitz
An emotion-laden documentary about three girls adopted from China who trace their roots and develop compassion for Chinese birth parents.

Mission: Joy – Finding Happiness in Troubled Times
Directed by Louie Psihoyos, Peggy Callahan
Two spiritual masters of the practice of joy in conversation about its relevance to our times.

The Neutral Ground
Directed by CJ Hunt
An account of what the arguments around the removal of Confederate statues in the South reveal about racism in the U.S. today.

Directed by Robert Greene
A uniquely daring documentary about sexual abuse and communal healing.

Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer
Directed by Dawn Porter
A powerful documentary on the history of race massacres in the U.S. and how what led to them endures to this day.