A Monster Calls (J.A. Bayona, 2016, USA)

I first read the brilliant novel A Monster Calls written by Patrick Ness almost two years ago. Immediately after finishing the last page I went to my son and told him that we were going to read it together. That night I began it again, reading it out loud to him. The novel so moved … Continue reading A Monster Calls (J.A. Bayona, 2016, USA)

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Grave of Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988, Japan)

#97 in my list of top 100 spiritually literate films is Grave of Fireflies. This is the heartbreaking anime story of two orphans left to survive on their own after air raids wipe out their town and kill their mother. The older brother is caring, protective, and selfless as he stops at nothing to give … Continue reading Grave of Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988, Japan)

Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, USA, 2016)

"If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?" This line is at the heart of this film. It is the idea that haunts the screen from the very first images to the last scene and consumes the main character, Dr. Louise Banks. When alien spacecrafts have landed in … Continue reading Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, USA, 2016)

Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, Italy, 1948)

#98 in my top 100 spiritually literate films is Bicycle Thieves. This film is the pinnacle of Italian neo-realism. It is an unflinching look into the desperation of the poor and destitute. The story is stripped bare until there is only the understated essentials remaining. A father and son try to fix an injustice that … Continue reading Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, Italy, 1948)

Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1957, Italy)

#99 in my top 100 spiritually literate films is Nights of Cabiria. This is the heartbreaking yet glorious story of a prostitute in search of redemption. A near death experience forces her to reconsider her life, and her question, "What if I had died?" begins a quest for purpose. Cabiria joins a group that is … Continue reading Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1957, Italy)

Bella (Alejandro Gomez Monteverde, 2006, USA)

#100 in my top 100 spiritually literate films is Bella. This is a film that treads lightly but sensitively around abortion, adoption, and the sanctity of life. It’s a tragic but ultimately triumphant film about overcoming evil with good by confronting your own demons and learning to care for those that can’t care for themselves. … Continue reading Bella (Alejandro Gomez Monteverde, 2006, USA)