This Movie Changed Me

Movies create space to explore some of life’s biggest questions. This Movie Changed Me features conversations about how they teach, connect, and transform us. In each episode, host and lifelong movie fanatic Lily Percy guides guests to explore and celebrate the transformative role movies play in their lives.

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Movie characters can rewrite the possibilities for our lives. That’s what Uma Thurman’s role as The Bride did for Lauren Wilford. The character redefined Lauren’s idea of femininity — helping her find her inner strength, determination, and persistence.

For Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla, the classic German film Wings of Desire transformed how he makes music. It showed him the value of silence and space in sound — qualities he embraced in his music for movies like Brokeback Mountain and Babel.

As an Indian-British-American girl, Rajpreet Heir didn’t feel like she fit anywhere. But Bend It Like Beckham spoke to her across continents. The movie helped her embrace an important truth — that she was never defined by a single identity.

Complex portrayals of women with mental illness are rare. But that’s what Vulture’s Angelica Jade Bastién saw in the Bette Davis feature Now, Voyager. Angelica says the movie saved her life, giving her hope and encouraging her own healing.

Looking for some chill in your life? For the 20th anniversary of The Big Lebowski, Scott Oliver talks about how the movie helped him keep perspective in a time of chaos. In typical Dude fashion, he remembered “nothing is f***ed,” even if it felt that way.

Siblings. Love them or hate them, if you had one — or many — odds are they played a big role in your life. Song Exploder’s Hrishikesh Hirway talks about his relationship with his sister, and how You Can Count On Me shaped the type of brother he wanted to be.

From bodybuilding to thriving in the male-dominated Goldman Sachs, Jacki Zehner turned to Wonder Woman to become the leader she is today. In leading a campaign to bring her hero to the big screen, Jacki embodied the power of women to change the world.

Movies can fundamentally shape the course of our work. That’s how the 1940s noir-Western The Ox-Bow Incident transformed salsa musician-activist-lawyer Rubén Blades. It taught him that it wasn’t enough to speak about justice — he had to defend its ideals.

What movie helps you reckon with the loss of a loved one? Jamie Berube turned to Interstellar to cope with the death of her father. Matthew McConaughey’s character showed that her father’s love was still alive, beyond the dimensions of time and space.

Toy Story helped Monsignor Charles Pope through a time of personal crisis. From ego to failure to self-acceptance, Charles Pope embraced his inner Buzz Lightyear and in the process, himself.

For Samantha Powell, the pressure to be the perfect adult felt like a stranglehold. But this all changed with Bridget Jones’s Diary. The movie loosened the grip of perfectionism, and taught her she didn’t need to be flawless to be happy.

What movie mirrors your life so perfectly you think it was made about you? For Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican, that film is Avalon. The story of a Jewish immigrant family reminds him that families are so much more alike than they are different.

Naomi Shihab Nye uncovers poetry in the everyday, an art practiced in Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age classic, Boyhood. Naomi found herself “living inside” the movie — seeing her daydreaming-childhood-self and life as a mother on screen.

Love is an ability, not just a feeling. That’s the lesson Dan in Real Life brought home for meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg. The story of Steve Carell’s flawed but loveable character echoed Sharon’s own work — to realize love as a capacity within ourselves.

Dear Sugars’ Steve Almond talks about the liberating vulnerability of this Robert Redford classic. It taught him to embrace the complexity and pain in his own family, and in the process, move towards a more meaningful life.

Sexual tension? Romance? Teen angst? Sounds like a typical ’80s movie. But The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman says Say Anything is different, even radical, in its portrayal of women and men as friends.

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text’s Casper ter Kuile talks about this classic Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movie, one he always watches with a pint of ice cream. It shaped the world he longed for as a 14-year-old, and later on, even the kind of man he would marry.

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