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

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
An adventuresome sci-fi thriller about the race to communicate with intelligent alien life to avert disaster.

Eye in the Sky
Directed by Gavin Hood
An ethical and immersive film about the collateral damage of drone warfare.

Directed by Denzel Washington
A poignant screen adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play in which Denzel Washington stokes the fire in his belly.

Directed by Garth Davis
A true story that will elicit your empathy through the miracles in the life of a man who goes on a quest to locate his birth family.

Manchester by the Sea
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
An elegant and spiritually sobering film about the ways in which guilt, loss, isolation, and self-destruction can erode the foundations of our lives.

Directed by Barry Jenkins
Sixteen years in the life of a gay, poor, and bullied black man whose quest for wholeness touches our hearts.

Directed by Jim Jarmusch
A tribute to the life and times of a bus driver, poet, and master of everyday spirituality.

Directed by Martin Scorsese
An exploration of the toxic fallout from the belief that your culture and/or religion is superior to that of others.

Directed by Oliver Stone
An inspiring portrait of a courageous whistle-blower who alerted us to the demise of privacy.

20th Century Women
Directed by Mike Mills
A dramedy about a mother's unusual project to teach her son how to be a good man.

Ten More Spiritually Literate Films

The Edge of Seventeen
Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig
An immensely appealing teen comedy that speaks to us with immediacy and grace about adolescence.

Hacksaw Ridge
Directed by Mel Gibson
An adrenaline-charged World War II story revolving around the nonviolence of a Seventh Day Adventist conscientious objector.

Hidden Figures
Directed by Theodore Melfi
The true story of three patient and patriotic African-American women who make an invaluable contribution to the success of the early space program.

I, Daniel Blake
Directed by Ken Loach
An award-winning film that puts you in the shoes of people coping with poverty and the bureaucracy of England's welfare system.

La La Land
Directed by Damien Chazelle
A renovated version of the old-fashioned movie musical about making it big in the City of Stars.

The Lobster
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
The wildest love story in many a moon.

Pete's Dragon
Directed by David Lowery
A very special family film with its spiritual depiction of awe and wonder in the face of an astonishing wild creature.

Queen of Katwe
Directed by Mira Nair
A celebration of the manifold accomplishments of a young African chess prodigy.

Directed by Clint Eastwood
A tense ethical thriller probing heroism and the fallibility of computers.

Sunset Song
Directed by Terence Davies
A remarkable film that skillfully mixes the luminous and the harsh, the beautiful and the horrific parts of the human adventure.

The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Foreign Language Films

The Brand New Testament
Directed by Jaco van Dormael
A dramedy about the Divine Feminine with a surplus of laughter, tears, music that touches the soul, and miracles that soften the heart.

Embrace of the Serpent
Directed by Ciro Guerra
A cross-cultural masterpiece set in the Amazon.

The Innocents
Directed by Anne Fontaine
A bright and bold portrait of a heroic French woman doctor whose compassion is a beacon to those she helps.

A Man Called Ove
Directed by Hannes Holm
A Swedish dramedy about the strange and wonderful ways in which a difficult person's heart can be tenderized.

The Measure of a Man
Directed by Stephane Brize
A mesmerizing portrait of what it's like to live in the prison of unemployment.

Directed by Leena Yadav
An explosive Indian drama about the toxins of gender inequality and the exhilarations of women's empowerment.

Sand Storm
Directed by Elite Zexer
A story about a young Bedouin woman and the tough values choices she must make.

Sweet Bean
Directed by Naomi Kawase
A heart-affecting Japanese drama about the marvels of cooking, the wonders of nature, and the spiritual legacy of a wise old woman.

The Tenth Man
Directed by Daniel Burman
Another engaging and insightful drama by Argentinian director Daniel Burman on the pitfalls and perils of father-son relationships.

Things to Come
Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve
A touching portrait of a resilient woman facing multiple challenges as she ages.

The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Documentaries

The Eagle Huntress
Directed by Otto Bell
A breathtaking experience of the good medicine of a golden eagle in alliance with a 13-year old Mongolian girl.

I Am Not Your Negro
Directed by Raoul Peck
An inspiring documentary on the legacy of the African-American writer and activist.

The Ivory Game
Directed by Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson
An extraordinary documentary that gives us hope that the last wild elephants in Africa can be saved from extinction.

Landfill Harmonic
Directed by Graham Townsley and Brad Allgood
An astonishing documentary about a youth orchestra that will stir your soul and bring you tears of joy.

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
Directed by Werner Herzog
A bold and multidimensional documentary about the glories and the drawbacks of the Internet.

My Love, Don't Cross That River
Directed by Moyoung Jin
An emotionally jubilant celebration of marital love.

Seed: The Untold Story
Directed by Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz
A boldly creative and ethically robust documentary about protecting the food supply.

Directed by Ava DuVernay
A call to speak truth to power regarding the history of racism in the U.S. and the creation of a prison industrial complex.

When Two Worlds Collide
Directed by Heidi Brandenburg and Mathew Orzel
A stirring portrait of an indigenous leader defending the Amazon rainforest.

Zero Days
Directed by Alex Gibney
An incredibly important documentary tracing the opening salvos of cyberwarfare which have been shrouded in secrecy.

Ten More Spiritually Literate Documentaries

Blood on the Mountain
Directed by Mari-Lynn Evans and Jordan Freeman
A hard-hitting documentary about the death and destruction heaped upon the coal miners of West Virginia.

Directed by Kirsten Johnson
Vivid and memorable images from the career of documentary cinematography Kirsten Johnson.

Do Not Resist
Directed by Craig Atkinson
A scary documentary on the increasing militarization of American police.

Equal Means Equal
Directed by Kamala Lopez
An illuminating and hard-hitting documentary that makes a solid case for equal rights for women.

Fire at Sea
Directed by Gianfranco Rosi
A heart-rending documentary about a small island between Libya and Sicily where illegal immigrants from Africa stop on their way to Europe.

The Music of Strangers
Directed by Morgan Neville
A rounded and rousing look at the talented Silk Road Ensemble musical collective.

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
An entertaining documentary on the television writer and producer who pioneered socially relevant television in America.

O. J.: Made in America
Directed by Ezra Edelman
A substantive and often sensationalistic documentary about the downfall of O. J. Simpson and the rage of African-Americans against injustices.

Directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud
An immersive experience of what life was like for animals and early humans during the Golden Age of the forest.

Time to Choose
Directed by Charles Ferguson
A hopeful and helpful look at the positive efforts all around the world to stop the progression of climate change.

The Five Most Spiritually Literate Animated Films

Finding Dory
Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane
An inventive animated film about short-term memory loss, the longing to return home, and the lessons learned on a quest.

The Little Prince
Directed by Mark Osborne
A creative and spiritual reworking of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's magical and enlightening 1943 novella.

Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
The quest of a young Polynesian girl to become a way-maker for her people.

The Secret Life of Pets
Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney
A delightful and funny animated family film about the playfulness of animals.

Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush
A spunky 3-D animated film about a bunny whose life is energized by big dreams and rock-solid optimism.