Motivational Movies on Netflix

From the sports-related motivation of Nyad and Hustle to the world of dance in Yeh Ballet, here are some motivational movies on Netflix that will reinvigorate you.
Motivational Movies on Netflix

A character fighting against societal barriers, the lazy protagonist chasing thrill because of their mundane life, or a couple’s love prevailing over societal stereotypes; in some films, the motivation that drives the character is fleshed out really well so that the viewer can truly feel connected to the protagonist’s journey.

Some motivational films on Netflix especially make for a riveting watch because of how they fulfil this demand. Here is a list:

Wake Up Sid (2009)

Is it not motivating to watch Aisha (Konkona Sen Sharma) uproot her life to make something of herself and build her writing career while navigating the chaos that is Bombay? Sid’s (Ranbir Kapoor) journey from being a careless and bratty college student to someone who has more direction is also resonating and heartwarming.

Ayan Mukerji has intentionally approached the casting of the film, and the performances of everyone included are stellar, including Anupam Kher and Supriya Pathak's portrayal as Sid's parents and Sid’s friends Laxmi (Shikha Talsania) and Rishi (Namit Das).

Ayan Mukerji’s handling of the coming-of-age trope allows the story to flow brilliantly across multiple themes of friendship, family, and adulting. When we see Aisha strolling through the streets of Bombay with a diary in hand and hope in her heart of starting her life here or building a space she can call her own, one furniture piece at a time, it can push anyone into action.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)

Based on the 2009 eponymous memoir by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, this Netflix original is one of the most inspiring l movies out there. Trywell Kamkwamba, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor from 12 Years A Slave (2013), is a farmer trying to keep his crops alive in the wake of excessive rains.

His son William (Maxwell Simba), who is excellent at fixing electronics and is interested in energy production, finds a way to continue his learning even after his parents cannot pay the school fees. When drought hits, William fights with his cynical father to build a windmill.

The movie is motivating, the set design is astonishingly accurate, and the soundtrack complements the conflict that slowly builds up. The motivation to build the windmill comes from nothing but utter starvation, and the tumultuous relationship between Trywell and William in the background has been well-executed.

Yeh Ballet (2020)

Dance struggle movies were all the rage in the early 2000s. The Step Up franchise made us believe that with the right team and a never-give-up attitude, you can win competitions and establish yourself as a dancer while simultaneously pursuing other commitments and not messing up a single step along the way.

Yeh Ballet is about two Mumbai boys, Nishu (Manish Chauhan) and Asif (Achintya Bose), from underprivileged backgrounds. When Saul (Julian Sands), an old ballet teacher, discovers them at a small dance academy, he helps them transcend boundaries as male ballet dancers.

The movie is shot at real locations, and the story is inspired by Manish’s real journey as a dancer. The novelty of ballet, the dry humour, and the fantastic performances by Manish and Achintya, both in terms of acting and dance, make this motivational movie on Netflix a refreshing take on the ‘struggle against all odds’ trope.

Hustle (2022)

If you love Adam Sandler’s humour, you will enjoy Hustle. Stanley Sugerman (Adam Sandler) is a basketball scout who used to work at the NBA level but has now been demoted. Dejected, he goes overseas and discovers a Spanish street basketball player, Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez). Can he get a single father who has never played on a proper court to the NBA level?

This movie skillfully melds multiple motivational messages without being preachy. This motivational film rests on taking a chance rather than redemption or victory.

It’s not just a sports motivational film; it’s much more. With an impressively shot high-intensity coaching drill, a smattering of former and current NBA stars, and a detailed deep dive into how the NBA works, this movie will be a treat for anyone who loves basketball.

Nyad (2023)

Yes, this is about sports (swimming), but no, it’s not full of the usual cliches that characterise the genre. Diana Nyad (Annette Bening) has had one life-long dream: to traverse the open waters from Cuba to Florida as a swimmer (Bening also scored an Oscar nomination for this role). Her friend Bonnie (Jodie Foster) and boat captain John (Rhys Ifans) decide to help her.

This movie is based on Nyad’s memoir Find a Way: The Inspiring Story of One Woman’s Pursuit of a Lifelong Dream (2015). The film incorporates news reels referred to in the memoir to give it an almost documentary-style vibe. It is the intensity with which it delivers the hardships that Nyad and Bonnie’s friendship goes through, rather than just the physical hardship of swimming, that will move you.

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