Movies aren't always only for entertainment. Some movies make you think, or raise moral questions, along the lines of the ABC News show called What Would You Do? You don't have to experience the situation in person to ask yourself or think about what you'd do if it was happening to you.
Here are five great movies that make you think, that ask "what would you do?"
The Contender. Joan Allen stars as a vice presidential nominee who has her reputation dragged through the mud during the confirmation process, when a college sex party is brought to light. Although in private she denies vehemently her participation in the sexual incident, she refuses to do so in the hearings, standing on the principle that the incident should not be a consideration in her confirmation.
What would you do? Would you stand on principle and do nothing as your name and reputation, and by association, that of your family as well, were being trashed for something you didn't do?
Waking Ned Devine. This movie makes you think about the nature of community; it centers around a very small town that bands together to cash in a winning lottery ticket that belonged to a deceased resident. The plan will only work if every resident agrees; but that raises the question of what would happen to a dissenter.
What would you do if your entire community, every person you knew, asked you to do something that was against your moral or ethical code?
A Murder of Crows. There are several ethical question raised in this movie, which stars Cuba Gooding Jr. The one that's really intriguing is what happens when Gooding's character is given a manuscript–a really good, fully complete manuscript–by a man who later dies without family, friends, and perhaps most important, without agent or publisher.
What would you do? Would you pass on it, or would you take the manuscript, publish it under your own name and reap the rewards?
The Emperor's Club. Kevin Kline stars as a professor at a prestigious boys' school, where some of the students are under great pressure; one of those students is also a cheater. Should he report the boy, or let it go, and how will this decision affect other students?
What would you do? Would you give a second chance, and hope that the generous opportunity helps the boy, or would you stick to the rules and report the infraction?
John Q. Denzel Washington stars as a man who has health insurance, although it won't cover his son's life-saving operation. Despite his pleas for treatment, the hospital refuses.
What would you do? Would you accept the hospital's denial, knowing it meant the death of your child, or would you do anything to get him the care he needed? How far would you go?
Movies that make you think about yourself, about the world around you and your place in it can be important because every bit of insight we have into ourselves makes us a better person. The beauty of the movies listed above is that the call to look inward is subtle enough that if viewers want only to be entertained, they can be, because these are very enjoyable movies.
The Contender, 2000
Waking Ned Devine, 1998
A Murder of Crows, 1998
The Emperor's Club, 2002
John Q, 2002