Every December we announce our choices of the Most Spiritually Literate Films of the Year. In the excitement of the end-of-year releases, many critics overlook the films released in the first half of the year. Yet the "off-season" yields some surprising and inspiring movies. So we are giving you a preview of our best films lists at mid-year.
And Breathe Normally
Directed by Isold Uggadottir
A moving story that showcases the need for openness and hospitality in our increasingly constricted world.
American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel
Directed by Jeanine Butler, Catherine Butler
An educational and intriguing exploration of progressive Christians attempting to reclaim the radical potential of their faith.
Angels Are Made of Light
Directed by James Longley
An engaging documentary about Afghanistan's youth that activates our empathy.
The Best of Enemies
Directed by Robin Bissell
A remarkable film of hope, daring, and vision.
The Biggest Little Farm
Directed by John Chester
The hopeful story of a natural farm built on biodiversity and a recognition of interconnections, impermanence, and transformation.
Directed by Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
A heart-wrenching and unflinching documentary filmed by a young mother and citizen journalist living through the siege of Aleppo, Syria.
Directed by Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska
A heart-stirring eco-documentary about a nurturing female beekeeper in Macedonia.
Directed by Patrick Creadon
Fascinating documentary about a religious leader who was a master of human relations.
Directed by Benjamin Gilmore
A powerful story of a soldier seeking to make amends who turns his enemies into friends.
Knock Down the House
Directed by Rachel Lears
A brisk and meaningful look at four women running to change American politics.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Directed by Joe Talbot
A uniquely affecting meditation on race, gentrification, and belonging.
The Lavender Scare
Directed by Josh Howard
Another shocking and horrific expose of American hatred and ignorance.
Light of My Life
Directed by Casey Affleck
An extraordinary and deeply spiritual drama about the power of stories and the parent-child bond.
Directed by Nia DaCosta
A bleak but edifying slice of small town drama in the midst of an opioid crisis.
Directed by Garth Davis
A creative, relevant, and reverent film about Mary Magdalene, a deeply spiritual woman for all ages.
Directed by Olivier Assayas
A dramedy about all the ways digital technology is shaking the book publishing world to its core.
The River & the Wall
Directed by Ben Masters
A remarkable documentary that gives us hope that young people documenting the consequences of a border wall will make a difference.
Directed by Paddy Breathnach
Moving drama about a suddenly homeless family dealing with the challenges of this increasingly common situation.
Sea of Shadows
Directed by Richard Ladkani, Sean Bogle, Matthew Podolsky
A documentary that unreels like an action thriller to tell the story of attempts to save the vaquita porpoise from extinction.
Sorry Angel (Plaire, amer et courir vite)
Directed by Christophe Honore
An exquisite exploration of unexpected love in a time of illness and loss.
Directed by Christian Petzold
An elusive but effective exploration of migration and liminal space.
Woman at War
Directed by Benedikt Erlingsson
A watershed Icelandic film which will speak to the hearts and minds of all committed women who are working toward the creation of an ecological world.
Directed by Danny Boyle
An imaginative movie about the magic of the Beatles' music.