The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Films
Ten More Spiritually Literate Films
The Ten Most Spiritually Literate International Films
The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Documentaries

Each year we see hundreds of movies and review those we can recommend to you as good companions for your spiritual journey. When we call a film "spiritually literate" we mean that it is a good illustration of one of the practices in the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy. In the sidebar coding on our review, you'll see what we have identified as the film's strengths.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

Cha Cha Real Smooth
Directed by Cooper Raiff
A touching dramedy about a twenty-something college grad who demonstrates a remarkable gift for empathy and kindness.

Directed by Baz Luhrmann
A dazzling portrait of Elvis’s life and career that reveals the roots of his appeal.

Empire of Light
Directed by Sam Mendes
A tribute to how kindness creates friendships and how movies can be transformative.

Everywhere Everything All at Once
Directed by Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
A wacky, life-affirming fantasy with a steady throughline of self-discovery and growing empathy typical of inner work.

Directed by Oliver Hermanus
A well-crafted story about a bureaucrat's spiritual transformation in the face of death.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Directed by Dean Fleischer Camp
A heartwarming, hilarious, poignant, and life-affirming story about a mystical shell.

Directed by Chinonye Chukwu
The inspiring and touching story of a Black mother whose bearing witness catalyzed the civil rights movement.

White Noise
Directed by Noah Baumbach
An unforgettable movie about family, disasters, consumerism, addiction, and finding meaning in surprising places.

Women Talking
Directed by Sarah Polley
A parabolic drama, about a group of abused women discussing how they will respond to their abusers, that demonstrates how conversation can lead to change.

The Wonder
Directed by Sebastian Lelio
A mystery set in 1862 Ireland in which reason is pitted against faith as a nurse tries to figure out a so-called miracle.

Ten More Spiritually Literate Films

After Yang
Directed by Kogonada
A slow-moving nudge to savor the complexities and connections of life.

Directed by Valerie Buhagiar
A jubilant movie about a middle-aged woman who has spent her life serving the church and finds a new more fulfilling way forward.

Catherine Called Birdy
Directed by Lena Dunham
A raucous and ribald medieval comedy that will cheer independent adolescent girls.

Directed by Lila Neugebauer
A convincing story about two wounded people who harvest a friendship out of pain and trauma.

Directed by Reid Carolin, Channing Tatum
A heart-warming story about how a difficult dog and a damaged war veteran transform each other.

The Duke
Directed by Roger Michell
A true story about a elder who steals a painting in order to help others, demonstrating the philosophy of ubuntu.

A Love Song
Directed by Max Walker-Silverman
A simple, sensitive film about love, loss, and the nourishment provided by music.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Directed by Anthony Fabian
A delightful comedy about the many meanings of the clothes we choose to wear and what these choices say about our lives and values.

She Said
Directed by Maria Schrader
A quietly compassionate retelling of an early #MeToo movement moment.

Directed by Todd Field
An invitation to ponder the spiritual complexities of power through the lens of the world of orchestral music.

The Ten Most Spiritually Literate International Films

All Quiet on the Western Front
Directed by Edward Berger
A gripping and graphic portrait of the war that changed the nature of combat.

Argentina, 1985
Directed by Santiago Mitre
A shocking and highly ethical presentation of genocide, justice, and empathy.A

Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
A bittersweet fable about belonging and loneliness.

Costa Brava, Lebanon
Directed by Ziad Doueiri
A prophetic film about how a family handles the encroachment of toxic waste upon their home.

Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski
A travelogue starring a donkey who experiences the good, the bad, and the beautiful in our world.

Directed by Audrey Diwan
An urgent tale of a search for an illegal abortion and a little compassion in an alienating environment.

Hit the Road
Directed by Panah Panahi
A delightful and deep exploration of Iranian politics through an intimate family lens.

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom
Directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji
A transformative film set in Bhutan about finding happiness and cultivating a good heart.

Neptune Frost
Directed by Saul Williams, Anisia Uzeyman
A mind-bending trip through a world both like and unlike our own.

The Quiet Girl
Directed by Colm Bairead
A very special coming-of-age drama that focuses on the characters’ kindness, compassion, and nurturing.

The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Documentaries

All that Breathes
Directed by Shaunak Sen
A stunning documentary about compassionate caregivers to the kites in New Delhi.

The Conductor
Directed by Bernadette Wegenstein
A portrait of a truly inspiring woman who has changed the classical music scene and empowered other women musicians.

Escape from Kabul
Directed by Jamie Roberts
A hard-hitting documentary about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the evacuation of tens of thousands of Afghan citizens.

Good Night Oppy
Directed by Ryan White
A remarkably touching documentary about twin robots exploring Mars who became like family to people on Earth.

Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song
Directed by Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine
The origin story of the spiritual song that has swept the world as a modern prayer.

A House Made of Splinters
Directed by Simon Lereng Wilmont
A documentary filmed inside a special orphanage in the Ukraine where the children express both sorrow and hope.

Directed by Daniel Roher
A tribute to a heroic Russian freedom fighter.

Nothing Compares
Directed by Kathryn Ferguson
A bold documentary about a prophetic singer and songwriter Sinead O’Connor.

The Territory
Directed by Alex Pritz
A documentary revealing how indigenous peoples are trying to protect their land -- and the whole Brazilian rainforest -- from the invasion of nonnative farmers and illegal settlers.

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
Directed by Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler
A startling and thoroughly researched documentary about the history of slavery and racism in the United States.