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9 Movies to Stream to Support Your New Year’s Goals

By Marisa Cohen
January 01, 2022

New Year’s Day is a chance to sit in quiet contemplation about your resolutions and plans for the upcoming year. Who are we kidding? Traditionally, the first of the year is spent sleeping late, eating a carb-heavy brunch, and zoning out on the sofa in front of a football game or a Twilight Zone marathon.

This year, though, why not stream a movie full of goal-setting inspiration while you’re relaxing to help motivate you to take those New Year’s resolutions to the next level? Here are nine to try, no matter what your goals for the new year are. Cheers!

1. Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)

Amazon Prime

This quirky and all-too-relatable indie film follows Brittany (Jillian Bell), an underemployed, hard-drinking, 30ish slacker who is counseled by her doctor to get into better shape. Unable to afford a gym, she laces up some old sneakers and runs down the block. Then she runs down a few more. Against all odds and despite a series of setbacks, she winds up running in the New York City Marathon. You’ll be inspired by the way Brittany’s small steps toward a big goal change her entire life.

2. I Feel Pretty (2018)


If your goal is simply to love yourself as you are this year (which is as noble an idea as running a marathon!), check out this Amy Schumer feel-good comedy about an insecure woman who gets bonked on the head and suddenly sees herself as beautiful. With her newfound energy and self-regard (and without losing a pound or getting Botox), she manages to achieve success at work and in love.

3. A League of Their Own (1992)

Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube

Though you may remember this Penny Marshall comedy mostly for Tom Hanks sputtering, “There’s no crying in baseball,” the flick tells an inspiring story of women who worked hard to achieve an almost impossible dream—to play professional baseball in the 1940s, when they were still expected to wear skirts and makeup at all times. We're particularly inspired by the journeys of Kit (Lori Petty), who goes from small-town Oregon farm girl to championship pitcher, and Marla (Megan Cavanagh), a shy, awkward power hitter who follows her dream of gaining confidence and falling in love.

4. Hidden Figures (2016)

Disney+, YouTube

In order to achieve the goal of launching astronaut John Glenn into orbit, NASA relied on the spectacular brains of Black women mathematicians, known unironically as human computers. The women each had their own hopes and dreams, but shared the desire to be recognized for their contributions to science. They had to fight racism and sexism, and endure a long walk to the toilet designated for their use, but Glenn made it into space; and, these women, at long last, have made it into the history books.

5. Spellbound (2002)

HBO Max, Vudu

If your New Year’s goal is to go back to school, to read more books, or simply to finish the Sunday crossword, you won’t find anything more inspiring than this. It’s a documentary about eight kids from a range of backgrounds across the U.S. (many of whom are first-generation Americans) competing in the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. It shows that hard work and dedication, with the support of coaches and parents, can help you achieve anything, even the correct spelling of logorrhea.

6. Love & Basketball (2000)

Amazon Prime, Pluto TV, YouTube

Eleven-year-old Monica loves nothing more than playing basketball with her next-door neighbor, Quincy. They both dream of playing in the NBA—but it’s 1981, and girls don’t play pro ball. As Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) grow up, they fall in and out of love, play college ball, and pursue their dreams. Guess which one eventually gets to play in the big leagues?

7. Ratatouille (2007)

Apple TV, Disney+, YouTube

So let’s say your biggest goal in life is to become a top-rated French chef. You have exquisite taste and the knife skills of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto—but everyone tells you it’s an impossible goal, simply because, well, you’re a rat. Yes, an actual rodent. In this quirky and delightful Pixar film, a gastronomically inclined rat named Remy proves to everyone that he can make Julia Child proud.

8. Joy (2015)

Apple TV, Vudu, YouTube

Do you dream of starting a business from scratch and making millions? Then stop everything and watch this movie based on the real-life story of entrepreneur Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence), creator of the Miracle Mop. A single mom who works full time while also caring for her housebound mother, Joy dreams of using her creative spark and inventive imagination to create a new life. She has many setbacks—unscrupulous manufacturers and squabbling relatives just to name a few—but holds fast to her vision and eventually achieves her dream.

9. The Theory of Everything (2014)

Apple TV, Netflix, YouTube

What if you had a vision that would change the world’s very concept of time and space, but your body is slowly wasting away from the degenerative disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)? If you’re renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking, you not only continue to do world-changing work, but you also manage to marry the love of your life and have three children, as well as achieve worldwide respect and fame.

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