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
The Five Most Spiritually Literate Animated Films

Each year we see hundreds of movies and review those we can recommend to you as good companions for your spiritual journey. To explain our choices, we note which of the 37 spiritual practices in the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy each film's story and characters illustrate. 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

The Big Sick
Directed by Michael Showalter
A touching romantic comedy with rounded, funny, and vulnerable lovers.

Call Me by Your Name
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
An astonishing drama of sexual awakening that explores the exhilarations and anxieties that accompany first love.

Directed by Alexander Payne
A dramedy about an ordinary man given the choice to become a bodhisattva.

The Florida Project
Directed by Sean Baker
A vibrant portrait that shows us from a child's point of view how play and enthusiasm can be ways to survive poverty.

Directed by John Carroll Lynch
The poignant story of the spiritual journey of a nonagenarian facing changes in his daily life.

Directed by Reginald Hudlin
A rousing courtroom drama about Thurgood Marshall as an ardent NAACP lawyer in a town convulsed by racial hatred of blacks.

The Shape of Water
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
A sensuous film that is both a fairy tale and a socially relevant portrait of the prejudices afoot in our times.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Directed by Martin McDonagh
A sturdy depiction of the grace that accompanies turning an enemy into a friend.

A United Kingdom
Directed by Amma Asante
A moving film about the love, courage, and perseverance of an interracial couple facing wide-ranging challenges to their marriage.

Directed by Stephen Chbosky
An extraordinarily sensitive drama that tutors us in the spiritual practices of wonder and kindness.

Ten More Spiritually Literate Films

Directed by Kogonada
A mesmerizing film about the poetics of place and the difficult choices we must make to stay true to our passions.

A Ghost Story
Directed by David Lowery
A moving and minimalist ghost story that delivers food for thought about travels through time and the art of letting go.

The Journey
Directed by Nick Hamm
An account inspired by historical events that illustrates how dialogue and empathy can help politicians build peace.

The Lost City of Z
Directed by James Gray
A mesmerizing quest movie about a British explorer's dangerous expeditions in the Amazon rainforest.

Directed by Aisling Walsh
An inspiring portrait of the resilience of a crippled but immensely creative woman.

Directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein
An authentic and endearing portrait of an oddball in his Brooklyn Hasidic community.

Directed by Dee Rees
A tale of two families that reveals the malevolent growth of racism in the United States.

Directed by Bong Joon-Ho
A rollicking tale about animal rights, interspecies love, and corporate greed.

A Quiet Passion
Directed by Terence Davies
A visually stunning and brilliantly acted biopicture of Emily Dickinson.

War for the Planet of the Apes
Directed by Matt Reeves
The third in a series of sci-fi epics that surges with an unflinching focus on spiritual matters.

The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Foreign Language Films

After Love
Directed by Joachim Lafosse
An intense family drama revolving around the split of an unmarried cohabiting couple with two children.

The Divine Order
Directed by Petra Volpe
The story of the transformation of a submissive housewife into a change-maker in her small conservative Swiss town.

Directed by Alain Gomis
A drama about how music eases the pain of a seasoned survivor struggling with some unexpected challenges.

First They Killed My Father
Directed by Angelina Jolie
A deeply human study of the Cambodian genocide and the brave survival of one little girl.

Journey to Greenland
Directed by Sebastien Betbeder
The cross-cultural journey of two long-time friends visiting one of their fathers in a remote Inuit village.

The Midwife
Directed by Martin Provost
A satisfying dramedy about a woman seeking fresh directions and adventures during middle age.

The Passion of Augustine
Directed by Lea PoolAn intriguing drama about a musically gifted religious who creatively handles the many challenges facing her convent school.

A Taxi Driver
Directed by Jang Hoon
The inspiring story of a South Korean cab driver whose life is transformed by his heroic activities during the 1980 Gwangju Uprising.

Directed by Cesc Gay
A heart-affecting drama about death, friendship, and love.

The Women's Balcony
Directed by Emil Ben-Shimon
A well-done religious drama set in Jerusalem where the members of a small synagogue confront changes demanded by a fundamentalist zealot.

The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Documentaries

Cries from Syria
Directed by Evgeny Afineevsky
A documentary masterpiece chronicling the stages of the Syrian revolution and the staggering suffering of the Syrian people.

Faces Places
Directed by Agnes Varda and JR
A playful and wonder-drenched documentary about an unusual creative collaboration.

Hare Krishna! The Mantra, the Movement, and the Swami Who Started It All
Directed by John Griesser, Jean Griesser, and Lauren Ross
A dynamic documentary about the visionary Vedic scholar who launched the Hare Krishna movement.

Human Flow
Directed by Ai Weiwei
A meditative and visually stunning overview of the plight of refugees around the world.

Directed by Brett Morgen
A soul-stirring cinematic tribute to Jane Goodall and her reverence for chimpanzees.

Directed by Ceyda Torun
A magical and immensely endearing documentary about the love affair between the people of Istanbul and the stray cats who wander the streets of the city.

Last Men in Aleppo
Directed by Feras Fayyad
An unflinching, grippingly realistic, and heart-rending documentary about the senseless carnage of war.

Letters from Baghdad
Directed by Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum
An exquisite documentary on the extraordinary life and work of Gertrude Bell.

Directed by Scott Haze
An inspiring documentary about an African millionaire whose goodness leads him to serve the street orphans of Nairobi, Kenya.

Nowhere to Hide
Directed by Zaradasht Ahmed
A laser-sharp documentary on the impact on civilians of five years of war and destruction in Iraq.

Ten More Spiritually Literate Documentaries

Audubon: John James Audubon and the Birds of America
Directed by Al Reinert
A beautiful documentary on the life of the ornithologist and naturalist and his artistic masterpiece The Birds of America.

California Typewriter
Directed by Doug Nichol
An entertaining documentary about people who love typewriters.

Directed by Peter Bratt
A deft and compelling documentary about one of America's premier Latino labor leaders and civil rights activists.

Directed by Various Directors
The drama, the political talk of citizens, and the surprises of Election Day 2016.

The Farthest
Directed by Emer Reynolds
Top-drawer documentary on the astonishing mission of the Voyager spacecrafts past the outer planets of our solar system and beyond.

The Last Dalai Lama?
Directed by Mickey Lemle
An edifying and uplifting documentary on the spiritual insights, practices, and epiphanies of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry
Directed by Laura Dunn and Jef Sewell
A spiritually abundant documentary on the life and work of a humble rural seer.

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World
Directed by Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana
A stirring documentary on the impressive contributions of Indians to popular music.

Seven Songs for a Long Life
Directed by Amy Hardie
A touching documentary about the healing powers of music in a hospice setting.

School Life
Directed by Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane
A thoroughly entertaining documentary set in an Irish prep school where two eccentric teachers draw out the students' creativity.

The Five Most Spiritually Literate Animated Films

Directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina
A wonderful animated feature set around the Day of the Dead in Mexico.

The Breadwinner
Directed by Nora Twomey
An animated feature about a young girl who defies the Taliban in Afghanistan through her courage and storytelling.

In This Corner of the World
Directed by Sunao Katabuchi
A Japanese anime film about a young woman's daily life in a town near Hiroshima during World War II.

Loving Vincent
Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
A creative animated feature exploring the mysterious death of Vincent Van Gogh.

The Red Turtle
Directed by Michael Dudok de Wit
A magical and mystical animated film about an island, a castaway, a shapeshifting being, and dreams.