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. 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 Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Directed by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Six stories set in the Old West, each with a message about mortality.

Eighth Grade
Directed by Bo Burnham
A fascinating and nuanced portrait of a 13-year-old compulsive cell phone user yearning for connections.

First Reformed
Directed by Paul Schrader
A slow movie classic which explores a rainbow mix of religious and spiritual themes.

Green Book
Directed by Peter Farrelly
A road movie turned buddy movie about the friendship between two very different men.

If Beale Street Could Talk
Directed by Barry Jenkins
A masterwork about resilient young love and the challenges faced by blacks in racist America.

Leave No Trace
Directed by Debra Granik
A thoughtful story about a father and daughter who discover that kindness is good medicine.


Directed by Marc Turtletaub
A lovely film about friendship and the challenges of middle age.

The Rider
Directed by Chloe Zhao
A deeply spiritual film about a Native American's experiences of loss, caregiving, and starting over.

Directed by Jason Reitman
An extraordinary dramedy about an aspiring supermom who discovers the importance of self-care and the value of the sameness of everyday life.

Directed by Paul Dano
An impressive domestic drama illustrating emotional literary and the spiritual practice of impermanence.

Ten More Spiritually Literate Films

At Eternity's Gate
Directed by Julian Schnabel
A distinctly different biopicture that will evoke your empathy for Vincent Van Gogh.

Beautiful Boy
Directed by Shawn Ku
A poignant drama about parents struggling to deal with an unimaginable tragedy.

Bohemian Rhapsody
Directed by Bryan Singer
A biopicture that is all about the music of Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury.

The Land of Steady Habits
Directed by Nicole Holofcener
An engaging and well-acted drama about the challenges of middle age and suburban living.

Lean on Pete
Directed by Andrew Haigh
A sobering portrait of a boy on his own that reveals the universal yearning for home.

Private Life
Directed by Tamara Jenkins
A dramady carried by many magic moments of heartache and humor.

A Private War
Directed by Matthew Heineman
The life and work of an award-winning female war correspondent whose zeal for the truth make her into a fearless person.

Support the Girls
Directed by Andrew Bujalski
A thematically rich dramady about three women who bond together in response to the humiliations at their workplace.

We the Animals
Directed by Jeremiah Zagar
A poignant portrait of three brothers growing up amidst poverty and patriarchy who are seeking more from their lives.

What They Had
Directed by Elizabeth Chomko
A wonderfully human portrait of a family facing a crisis that brings them all to a deeper, richer, and more rewarding life together in love.

The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Foreign Language Films

Directed by Ali Abbasi
A breathtakingly bizarre parable about belonging.

The Cakemaker
Directed by Ofir Raul Grazier
A subtle, unexpected love story steeped in pain.

Directed by Nadine Labaki
A thoroughly absorbing tale of poverty, determination, and faith as equal parts resistance and resurrection.

The Guilty
Directed by Gustaf Möller
A tense chamber thriller that packs a gut-wrenching punch, even without special effects!

Happy as Lazzaro
Directed by Alice Rohrwacher
A symbol-filled fable fixated on innocence, holiness, and inhumanity.

I Am Not a Witch
Directed by Rungano Nyoni
An assured and surreal interrogation of misogyny and superstition.

The Insult
Directed by Ziad Doueiri
A spiritual masterwork about the harm that can be done with cruel and dehumanizing words.

Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
A Japanese film that touches the heart with its sensitive and soulful advocacy of kind-heartedness.

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
A cinematic valentine to a Mexican maid whose kindness has a positive impact on all those around her.

22 July
Directed by Paul Greengrass
A thought-provoking drama about the reactions to a lone terrorist who kills 77 people in Norway in 2011.

The Ten Most Spiritually Literate Documentaries

City of Joy
Directed by Madeline Garvin
An inspiring story of compassion and service in a program training rape victims to be community leaders.

Dark Money
Directed by Kimberly Reed
An expose of how political campaigns are being funded with little or no disclosure of where the money is coming from.

Fahrenheit 11/9
Directed by Michael Moore
A powerful, even frightening, documentary on what's happening to America's democracy.

The King
Directed by Eugene Jarecki
A documentary about the rise and decline of Elvis Presley as a metaphor for the rise and decline of America.

On Her Shoulders
Directed by Alexandria Bombach
The inspiring spiritual odyssey of a young Yazidi woman who has brought hope to her people.

Pick of the Litter
Directed by Dana Nachman, Don Hardy, Jr.
A remarkably suspenseful account of the service dog training of five puppies.

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word
Directed by Wim Wenders
An inspiring profile of the Catholic Pope who truly walks his talk about love, mercy, and service.

Springsteen on Broadway
Directed by Thom Zimny
A breathtaking personal tribute by the songwriter/storyteller to the spirituality of place, relationships, and service.

Won't You Be My Neighbor
Directed by Morgan Neville
An inspiring portrait that reveals how Mister Rogers showed children that they are loved and capable of loving.

The World Before Your Feet
Directed by Jeremy Workman
A fascinating documentary about a zealot, the turf he loves, and his gift of wonder.

Ten More Spiritually Literate Documentaries

Do You Trust This Computer?
Directed by Chris Paine
An absorbing documentary on the implications of the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence.

Five Seasons : The Gardens of Piet Oudolf
Directed by Thomas Piper
An enchanting tour led by the world's most famous garden designer and avid plant lover.

The Dawn Wall
Directed by Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer
A suspenseful rock-climbing documentary with the power to lift spirits.

The Heart of Nuba
Directed by Kenneth A. Carlson
An inspiring and enlightening portrait of a Catholic doctor in Africa serving over a million people every year

King in the Wilderness
Directed by Peter Kunhardt
An extraordinary documentary on the last 18 months of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s selfless and harrowing spiritual journey.

Leaning Into the Wind
By Thomas Riedelsheimer
Another creative documentary adventure with the environmental artist.

Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story
Directed by Ashley Bell
An extraordinary documentary focusing on two women committed to helping abused elephants.

Mantra: Sounds into Silence
Directed by Georgia Wyss, Wari OM
An edifying and inspirational documentary about the global phenomenon of kirtan music.

Mercury 13
Directed by David Sington, Heather Walsh
A splendid documentary about the little known female pilots tested for spaceflight in 1961.

Of Fathers and Sons
Directed by Talal Derki
A rare opportunity to see how boys are immersed in violence and trained to become killers by a terrorist group.

The Five Most Spiritually Literate Animated/Family Films

Big Fish and Begonia
Directed by Xuan Liang, Chun Zhang
A creative Chinese animated film that marvels at mysterious connections.

Isle of Dogs
Directed by Wes Anderson
An imaginative tribute to dogs with some social commentary on the side.

Directed by Aaron Kopp, Amanda Kopp
A documentary on the storytelling process combined with a incredibly moving animated tale of an empowered African girl.

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda
An entertaining animated film about a young boy adjusting to a new baby with the help of his ancestors.

Paddington 2
Directed by Paul King
A sweet family film about a talking bear whose spiritual practice of kindness is what we need so desperately in our times.