Lock-down Watch List: 7 Thought Provoking Movies That Expand Your Mind

Increasing your intelligence does not always land on the lap of books, eating brain food or the learning of new skills. It also does not necessarily rely on watching of documentaries and current affairs programs, albeit they do give you a good information berth. I believe that you can find meaning in every single thing you watch. There is a point to be made even if the point is no point because at least then, you will give good movie advice including what not to watch.

I have watched all movies in the film selection below so my opinion is not influenced by a post someone else wrote. These movies have proved to shed a light on different themes, some of them of the most unsettling nature and others that allow you to see things from different perspectives. Its a trail mix of potential, reality, absurdity and mind-altering concepts. Every movie has a trailer and all of them are on Netflix. Since I did enjoy all of them (I really hope you do too), I will give them between four and five stars with five being ‘WATCH THIS NOW’.

If you’d like a books review instead of a movie one, then read this list of books that will most certainly make an impact on your life, because unlike fiction, these are real stories or real people in real places with real life experiences.

7. Room

(118 minutes)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Brilliantly directed by Lenny Abrahamson, Room is an intensely felt cinematic experience, unsettling in its adaption and loud with its portrayal of the intimacy shared between a mother and a child. Superbly acted by Brie Larson, it portrays a sexually motivated psychopath who kidnaps a woman and holds her hostage for seven years, repeatedly raping her until she conceives. Frank grows up in a shed, never having stepped into the outside world. All he knows is his mother, the 11-by-11 foot shed and the little furniture available in that cramped box. The young boy has to sleep in the closet when ‘Old Nick’ (the kidnapper) comes to visit i.e. to rape the mother which practically happens almost every night.

It’s based on the Irish-born novelist Emma Donoghue‘s award winning novel with the same title. Even though the terror present is quite unimaginable, the film leaves a heart-felt imprint of the astonishing capacity a child could have in influencing horrid circumstances.

It makes sense why Room bagged the People’s Choice Award in 2015 at the Toronto International Film Festival because such films raise vital questions like: What happens when all problems disappear yet there is still a feeling of dissatisfaction? What are the essentials that we as humans actually need to survive? What values define us as a people?

6. Fractured

(100 minutes)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fractured is a movie that highlights the psyche of a traumatized mind and the lengths we can go to to prevent ourselves from facing that trauma. Hospitals may very well remain an eerie place with long hallways and ghastly smells but hopefully, the healthcare system will better with time. However, in this movie, they system is still full of cold stares by nurses and long avoidable delays. For the ones that love surprise endings or unseen twists, this is that movie. It might make you mad in the end but at least, you didn’t see it coming.

5. FlatLiners

(108 minutes)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Flatliners involves medical experiments that involve afterlife experiences, young and fiercely competitive med students and regrettable consequences that are gorier than initially expected. Courtney, played by Ellen Page  asks her friends to stop her heart for three minutes on the condition that they resuscitate her. She sees potential in breaking into a new field of science and is willing to die, for a few minutes, to get a glimpse of the outer body experience. Would you put your life on stake like that for something you love? More importantly, would you trust your friends to bring you back from the dead on time?

I loved this film because of it idea and inquiry into what happens in those few minutes after death when the brain, weirdly enough, is still conscious even when the heart is not beating. There are a few superficial horror jolts here and there but nothing to rave about. Spoiler: someone dies. It also stars the famous Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries Series.

PS: There is a new way to watch Netflix movies together with your friends. It synchronizes the video to play at the same pace among all your friends laptops and even has a group chat on the side bar. What an amazing concept! Find out more here: Netflix Party or download the chrome extension and start watching with your friends. But first, hold on for the top three movies.

4. A Fall From Grace

(120 minutes)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I will be quick to admit that I did not, not even once, see the plot twist coming. “A Fall From Grace” is Tyler Perry’s first movie for Netflix which focuses on themes of deception and greed and, was reportedly shot in just five days. It acts as a cautionary tale of the many faces people wear to meet their end goals and the perils of trusting strangers. It features a graceful, sad, downtrodden woman, played by Crystal Fox  with a vengeance in sight and of course, a young man who, at some point, will eventually end up shirtless. It’s the ‘why-she-done-it’ type of mystery.

According to Netflix, the movie was watched by 26 million viewers within the first week of its release. “My heart is full. I’m grateful, I’m humbled by it,” Perry said in a thank you video he shared on twitter. If you have watched enough Tyler Perry movies, you have an idea of the type of woman he likes to feature in his films; middle-aged angry black woman but that aside, it remains one of Perry’s most relevant works, interesting to watch with a bunch of friends.

3. Black Mirror

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Black mirror is a series (with independent episodes) that combines technological possibilities with a multi-genre blend including satire, science fiction, thriller and horror. By independent episodes I mean, not related to the previous episode. It’s like watching 19 movies in one selection. If you are interested in seeing the insane potential technology has to change or destroy human life, take a comfortable seat and grab some popcorn. Personally, it ranks among my top five series of all time because of its unpredictable nature, the stylistic visuals it encapsulates and the complex technological advancement it highlights. The film is Charlie Brooker’s baby and features well-known names in the acting scene and some surprise pop stars like Miley Cyrus. It will influence how you see the after life, the future, love, sex, online privacy, connection among many other elements.

There is also a Black Mirror movie called Black Mirror Bandersnatch that quite literally lets you choose how the movie will progress by giving you alternative scenarios with a timer that counts down, making the movie watching experience even more exciting.

Related: (7) Powerful Life Poetry For Hard Times

2. The Platform

(94 minutes)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Picture a cell with hundreds of floors, each floor stacked on top of the other. In the middle of these cells in a hole where everyday, a platform with food begins to descend stopping at each cell for only a few minutes before it goes down to the next. There are two people on each cell and this is the only opportunity they have that day to eat. So, what’s the problem here? For starters, even though the food is a lot, nothing ever remains by the time it reaches the last cell. The prisoners on the upper levels greedily eat as much as they can with no consideration whatsoever for the people below them. However, if they ate just a small amount, everyone would get a share of the food which would sustain all the prisoners as opposed to just the ones on the top levels. System sound familiar?

The rich get richer and the poor remain poor and die. In today’s society, greed has taken over with stratification systems in place and the embodiment of the selfish gene. The rich and powerful ‘grab and eat’ all they can, controlling nations and ‘eating’ even when they are not ‘hungry’ regardless of how the poor man below him is doing. The award-winning film by Spanish director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, also titled El Hoyo, has interesting developmental twists which come together to paint a reflection of our current world. Snowpiercer ( a recent favorite) carries pretty much the same themes.

Watcher be ware: some scenes are quite violent and cannibalism also features slightly. That, however, should not deter you from watching and sharing this movie.

1. Inception

(148 minutes)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Inception is by far one of the most intriguing movies ever made in the history of man kind (alongside Deadpool ;-)) starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Memento director Christopher Nolan, who apparently spent ten years writing the screenplay, created a unique concept with astonishing execution that involved jumping from one dream to another and another, dissolving time and reality in a complex maze. Its an intellectually stimulating science fiction movie with astounding visuals and a stream of interesting cast .

The movie is a perplexing labyrinth of reality intertwining with dreams intertwining again with reality. How does time in dreams work? Does it work? Does gravity? How deep inside a dream can one go? If someone is able to jump into your dreams when you’re asleep, imagine the possibilities there could be of unearthing those delta-state vivid visuals and applying them in real life. Even if I explained how the movie ended, one would still need to know the background information that led the movie there. Explaining the movie itself would also lead to more questions than there are answers. In short, Inception remains a movie immune to spoilers. Watching it is the only way to understand.

Worthy Mentions

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Also read: How To Survive A Pandemic and How Marcus Aurelius Can Help

Click here for more reviews.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. kinge says:

    Nice opening line and the reviews are well done. Interestingly, inception is on my all time favourite list.


    1. KENDI KARIMI says:

      Thank you. It’s just one of those unmatched movies. I really love it too.

      Liked by 1 person

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