I don’t get to the cinema that often.  Especially to see movies for grown-ups.  But there were a few I really wanted to watch before the Oscars and I made it happen this week.  I saw Joy, Brooklyn and Spotlight.

Three great stories.  About following through on the dreams you had as a child.  About taking a journey that scares you and finding wonderful treasures along the way.  And about speaking up for those without a voice and making a difference.

It really got me thinking about how those three themes relate to all of us.

Can we remember what we were like as a child?  What dreams we had?  What we wanted to be when we grew up?  Are we doing something similar now or something completely different?  Do we have passions from our childhood that we might be able to follow through on today?  Are we brave enough to try and to keep getting up when we fall like the main character in Joy?

What about life’s journeys?  Whether it’s about physically going somewhere on a trip or adventure, moving to a different city or starting a journey with a new job, career, sport or passion.  In Brooklyn, young Eilis travels across the ocean to a new country, a new life.  On her own.  Would we be able to take that kind of leap in our life?  Would we regret it if we didn’t?

And the classic David and Goliath story.  People in power taking advantage of those who are not.  In Spotlight it’s about child abuse but in life it could be about regular folks fighting the government for medical coverage, workers being paid unfairly, or innocent people being framed for crimes they didn’t commit.  Have there been times in our lives when we saw something wrong happening to someone who couldn’t speak up for themselves?  Did we do something about it?  Or did we look the other way?

Movies are a reflection of life.  Frank Capra once said, “I made mistakes in drama.  I thought drama was when actors cried.  But drama is when the audience cries.”  And we cry or laugh or smile or get nervous as movie-goers because we put ourselves in the character’s shoes.  We feel their pain and happiness.  Because it somehow reflects our own lives.

What movie will inspire us next?  To follow our heart, take a leap of faith, or stand up for the underdog?  Will we be a bystander or an actor in the story of our lives?