Movies recommended by Eckhart Tolleby azaki00 | created - 26 Feb 2013 | updated - 04 Mar 2013 | Public
“Every movie that you see, if you get down to the basis of it, is about some sort of a conflict. Because if you went to see a movie with no conflict in it, after 15 minutes you will say I want my money back. There is nothing happening.
In a conflict the protagonist is being confronted with problems and challenges, their normal existence is disrupted. And unless their normal existence is disrupted, change doesn't happen.
So in good movies you see that the disruption of normal life which is initially – usually by those who are experiencing it – interpreted as negative. The disruption of normal life is ultimately that which brings about a shift in consciousness.
In not good movies all you experience is conflict. But it is never transcended on an inner level. It might be resolved on an outer level. e.g. finally the criminal get put away into jail so you feel relieved that at least he got what he deserved. But there is no change.
If the conflict that arises – disruption of a normal life – results in a deepening then that is not just happening to the characters on the screen. The viewer partakes, if only to a small degree, of the shift of consciousness that is happening to the characters on the screen by the act of identification.
That is the power of entertainment. That it invites you to identify. The suspension of disbelief draws you in, to such extent that you voluntarily suspend or let go of knowing that this is not actually happening. It is as if it were happening for you, especially if you identify with a character. And if the character that you identified with goes through transformation, then that can bring about the same in you. You are not totally the same person after watching than you were before. There been small degree of participation in the shift that happened to the character. That is the great possibility in movies; to bring that to humanity.” ― Eckhart Tolle
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1. Groundhog Day (1993)
PG | 101 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.
Votes: 526,578 | Gross: $70.91M
The power of surrender: when you inner attitude towards an event changes, the experience of it changes as well.
Eckhart remarked that he watched this movie about 5 times.
2. The Painted Veil (2006)
PG-13 | 125 min | Drama, Romance
A British medical doctor fights a cholera epidemic in a small Chinese village, while being trapped at home in a loveless marriage to an unfaithful wife.
Votes: 84,511 | Gross: $8.06M
Another lovely film about transformation through despair. The film is based on a very good novel.
The suffering erodes the egoic self and brings out love and compassion from the exterior superficialness.
3. The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
PG-13 | 126 min | Drama, Fantasy, Sport
A down-and-out golfer attempts to recover his game and his life with help from a mystical caddy.
Votes: 49,915 | Gross: $30.70M
Another film I recommend. What it means to be present. There are some wonderful shots of he going into absolute presence before he hits the ball.
To stop thinking without falling asleep. Which is really the essence of presence. As you watch that, the viewer is invited to experience that state of consciousness.
I'd like to see that a bit more in a films, to bring in actual moments of presence where the character is experiencing presence, and the viewer by viewing is entering the state of presence.
4. The Game (1997)
R | 129 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
After a wealthy banker is given an opportunity to participate in a mysterious game, his life is turned upside down when he becomes unable to distinguish between the game and reality.
Votes: 306,550 | Gross: $48.32M
Extreme anguish and suffering sometimes is one of the mechanisms to crack the shell of the ego.
The game is what we are all engaged in. The game of life.
5. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
PG-13 | 135 min | Biography, Drama
After John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician, accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish.
Votes: 747,102 | Gross: $170.74M
When you are aware of what your own mind is doing you are no longer at its mercy. What the protagonist went through to go beyond his insanity has parallels to what everyone can do to let go of his.
The mind does not really become beautiful until awareness arises, because until then it is not very beautiful.
6. The Last Samurai (2003)
R | 154 min | Action, Drama, History
An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.
Votes: 361,671 | Gross: $111.11M
I found some spiritual elements in this movie. The archetypal element of the protagonist having to descend into chaos and despair, and from there he experiences a rebirth.
In mystical terms this might be called the descent to the underworld, or the night journey.
Also this is a movie that has the courage to bring in some stillness, which is very rare. Which signifies the transcendent dimension in you.
7. Gran Torino (2008)
R | 116 min | Drama
Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino.
Votes: 654,447 | Gross: $148.10M
Self transcendence and letting go of self: Great movie again about transformation sohwing someone who is totally trapped in a miserable conditioned sense of self. Unfortunately the title is not very inspiring, it is called Gran Torino.
8. The Horse Whisperer (1998)
PG-13 | 169 min | Drama, Romance, Western
The mother of a severely traumatized daughter enlists the aid of a unique horse trainer to help the girl's equally injured horse.
Votes: 36,103 | Gross: $75.38M
Also one of the movies that has the courage to bring transformation through stillness.
Long moments of stillness like the scene when he is confronting the horse in the other side of the field.
9. The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
PG | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
When Joan Wilder is abducted while on a trip along the Nile, her boyfriend, Jack Colton, and pal Ralph rush to rescue her and retrieve a fabled jewel.
Votes: 45,291 | Gross: $75.97M
Some films are lovely because they show you a character with no ego. It is liberating in itself to see a human being who is not burdened with unconsciousness that we call ego.
There are movies that have no pretensions of being spiritual in any way whatsoever, and yet I discovered a protagonist that has no ego.
Done in a very light hearted way. Lovely teaching there of an egoless being. So how does that got in the Indiana Jones movie? I don't know.
10. The World's Fastest Indian (2005)
PG-13 | 127 min | Biography, Drama, Sport
The story of New Zealander Burt Munro, who spent years rebuilding a 1920 Indian motorcycle, which helped him set the land speed world record at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967.
Votes: 48,248 | Gross: $5.13M
Another film I saw where I said wow this character has no ego. With every interaction he displays no ego. He is just a presence there, no reactions, everybody is immediately accepted.
Just wonderful to watch. Again I don't know whether this is accidental creation, or there is some higher consciousness that sometimes guides the script writer into creating a character that is free of ego, or whether the script writer is consciously aware that he is creating a character that is free of ego.
11. Changing Lanes (2002)
R | 98 min | Drama, Thriller
The story of what happens one day in New York City, when a young lawyer and a businessman share a small automobile accident on F.D.R. Drive, and their mutual road rage escalates into a feud.
Votes: 62,645 | Gross: $66.82M
One of the movies that shows the dysfunction of the mind on a personal level. It shows the nature of reactivity and what it does. A relatively insignificant event, through unconscious reactivity get amplified over the successive days into extreme madness.
And with all the insanity going on the foreground, on the background that movie shows you occasionally little hints of transcendence.
12. Being There (1979)
PG | 130 min | Comedy, Drama
A simple, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics.
Votes: 59,173 | Gross: $30.18M
There are movies that show people who are at pre-egoic stage. And that itself can be beautiful too. It is not your destiny to go there. But it is beautiful to see how anybody who is free of ego is so tuned into the totality of life, that he or she in their daily life are supported by events that happen to them because they are tuned into the totality. Not only are they helpful to other humans and situations, but life is helpful to them. In the absence of ego you are a blessing to the world.
Pre-egoic means the mind made self has not yet arisen. They are very simple humans. They at somewhat child like state. In mythology often described as the fool.
In absence of ego he is an unobstructed expression of the totality of life.
The fool sometimes might be mistaken to the enlightened person.
13. Forrest Gump (1994)
PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance
The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.
Votes: 1,546,891 | Gross: $330.25M
Another movie that shows someome at the pre-egoic stage.
16. Peaceful Warrior (2006)
PG-13 | 120 min | Drama, Romance, Sport
A chance encounter with a stranger changes the life of a college gymnast.
Votes: 24,173 | Gross: $3.96M
A film that the critics didn't like. But don't always listen to the critics. Based on a book with same title. About a young man trying to be present. It teaches you that there are no insignificant moment.
The camera show you the aliveness of what before was regarded as insignificant. It gives you an experience of presence.
17. King of Hearts (1966)
Not Rated | 102 min | Drama, Comedy, War
During World War I, a British private, sent ahead to a French town to scout for enemy presence, is mistaken for a King by the colorful patients of an insane asylum.
Votes: 3,268 | Gross: $0.02M
Some movies open up a spiritual dimension indirectly by showing the dysfunction of the human mind. In this movie it shows the dysfunction of the collective mind.
18. The Notebook (2004)
PG-13 | 123 min | Drama, Romance
A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.
Votes: 460,025 | Gross: $81.00M
Nothing lasts for long. Everything is destined to dissolve. If a film can show you to some degree the fact of impermanence, then that film can also be an access point it the transcendent dimension.
The shift between the old couple and the young couple, which you later discover are the same people, gives you the sense of impermanence.
Something arises in you if you don't resist impermanence, that is very still and very present. It is almost satisfying to watch what was before unpleasant to watch, the fact of impermanence. Once you don't resist it it actually quite satisfying to see how life forms continuously dissolve.
As you acknowledge the fleetingness of all forms, something in you that is not part of the fleetingness of all forms arises more strongly. And what is that? You can say consciousness itself, the formless in you. Because it is only from there you can be aware of the fleetingness of all forms.
20. The Matrix (1999)
R | 136 min | Action, Sci-Fi
A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.
Votes: 1,455,073 | Gross: $171.48M
Some films have at its core a truth that everybody deep down knows. And that I believe explains the great success of some movies, which on the surface maybe not that great, but there is a core truth that is there. For example, the Matrix movie, especially the original one. The core truth is life is a dream. You are all walking around like dream walkers. But dream implies that it is possible to wake up. And ofcourse that is the possibility in that particular film. It is about waking up from the dream.
21. Avatar (2009)
PG-13 | 162 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
A paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.
Votes: 1,013,337 | Gross: $760.51M
The transcendent dimension manifests there in two ways:
One is the underlying sense that nature or the world around you is pervaded by intelligence. That intelligence is not confined to the head, but you are surrounded by a field of intelligence. In other sense, every thing is an aspect of consciousness.
Although the movie has a lot of noise to it, I'd love to have seen a little bit more stillness in it. Nevertheless, it brings into the consciousness of a mass audience the sense of sacredness of nature.
The other way in which it is there – The transcendent dimension – in this particular film, is that in a movie one usually identifies with characters. And in this movie you are most likely to identify not with your own species, but with the alien species. And that brings in the transcendent dimension because it invites you away from egoic consciousness, the collective ego and identification with collective form of us.
22. Titanic (1997)
PG-13 | 194 min | Drama, Romance
A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.
Votes: 923,816 | Gross: $659.33M
Even in a blockbuster film like Titanic there is a spiritual dimension. It shows you the decaying wreck of the ship at the bottom of the sea several times in the movie. At the beginning, at the end and in the middle.
You see the life at the boat, and then it suddenly shifts to the image of the decaying of the ship at the bottom of the sea. The shift back and forth gives you sense of almost dream like quality of what is happening at the boat. And that is already gone. Because everybody knows even before you watch what is going to happen. And nevertheless, the film is going to capture your attention.
Also the woman who is the young girl on the boat and the very old woman in the present time. Whenever you see in film the shift between the same character as a young person and the same character as an old person it is deepening.