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Inspiring Movies to Help Troubled Teenagers

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Movies are not only used for entertainment purposes, but can greatly influence the hearts, minds, lives of troubled youth. If you are looking for help hope, purpose, meaning for troubled teens, here are inspiring movies that deal with family problems, divorce, relationship issues, drugs, loneliness, identity crisis and many more other issues that help with successful recovery and restoration of their lives.


Victor (2017)

Victor Torres and his family moved to Brooklyn, New York from their native Puerto Rico in search of a new life and the American dream. His family faced hardships, but to help his struggling family, he became a new recruit in a street gang. He is quickly enslaved by drug use and a very profitable business. This drug business gets out of hand and eventually Victor's parents, Manuel and Lila, desperately search to find a way to help their son. Take a look at the road to recovery to rescue Victor.

The Secret Handshake (2015)

Roy lives an ordinary suburban life with his wife and three daughters. But he finds things a little mundane and wants a change. When a boy named Brody tries to turn Roy’s oldest daughter’s life upside down, he takes it upon himself to help this boy become a man. Roy thought the perfect solution is a camping trip with this boy and a few older men. But a surprise comes along for the three men. They learned something about themselves and find that there are a few things this young boy can teach them. It is a delightful, entertaining, wholesome, adventurous movie that will appeal the entire family. This movie will help troubled youth by showing what is lacking in their lives, which are good father figures and role models to take on a challenging tasks of molding and shaping a young person's life.

To Save a Life

To Save a Life is a powerful movie of how one person can choose to be the individual who makes a big difference and influence in people's lives. This should be the goal of teens today.

It showed how Jake, a popular high school senior and basketball player who lived the party life and was the center of it, his life was transformed. How you might ask? His outlook on life and people changes when a traumatic event takes place from a childhood friend, one in whom Jake was estranged from. He began to inquire everything about himself and realized there may be a lot more to life than partying, popularity and attention.

He reflected on his actions and the incident taught him to evaluate his actions and the proper way to treat and value all his peers. He learned to reach out to some new students who are not popular and not within his normal group he would usually hang out with. Eventually he just start reaching out to every type of person you would meet in high school, the smart ones, the colored ones, the one made fun of, etc. Jake found many ways to make his friend's traumatic death into a legacy.

This is a very life changing movie that brings out to many teenagers of what is really important in life and high school as well as what is not important. It is a movie that can be shown to middle school/high school aged youth groups because it tackles the present issues that today's youth are faced with. It deals with a lot of issues that plague our families and youth today: popularity, bullying, family problems, divorce, relationship issues, depression, underage drinking, sex, teen pregnancy, drugs, abusing oneself and cutting and provides the solutions as well.

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Freedom Writers

This is an awesome inspirational movie with lots of valuable lessons to learn from and think about. It is based on the book, Freedom Writers Diary and the author is a teacher, Erin Gruwell. Hilary Swank took on the role of Erin Gruwell.

The movie is about Erin Gruwell who is beginning her first teaching job as a high school English teacher in the slums of the city. This young teacher faced some challenging situations. First, there is conflicts from the students, tension with gangs break out, and then Erin's supervisor does not comply with her approach to educate these young people. Even some teachers disagreed with her methods and gave her a very hard time. In the midst of these challenges, perseverance and not giving up became her main aim to make a difference in each life of these inner city young people. Her new class project is for each student everyone to keep a journal and make daily entries.

Erin connected with her students by eventually reading the journals. This has helped to understand the pain in their lives and hardships they have faced. This has driven her to become even more influential in their lives and education. She gave these students hope, faith inspiration in dreaming and becoming what never thought they could be and become.

This is a heartwarming film for students with low self-confidence and low self-worth. It also taught about perseverance in the midst of challenges, and to believe in one's dream despite your background, racial pressures, and the views and opinions of others and not to let anyone put you down. All it takes is one person to believe in you and fight for you and for your future. Anything is possible and anything can happen, but it begins in how you view yourself.

America (2009)

America is actually the name of a young man who was taken by the authorities from his mother who was addicted to crack and placed into the foster care system as an infant. He experienced a short time of stability and balance in his life when he lived with Mrs. Harper, the nanny to one of his foster families.

He later reunited with his mother, but she soon abandoned America and he is again placed into foster care. Behind in many subjects at school, not being able to concentrate and full of anger and rage. After attempting suicide, America is placed in a youth treatment center where Dr. Brennan, a psychiatrist helps him open up about his painful past. She helps me come to terms with his roller-coaster life. Through their sessions, Dr. Brennan attempts to help him discover the help and courage to get his life on track,despite the many challenges, hard times he encountered as a child; so he can move forward in his adulthood and survive.

This is an excellent movie that shows what young people need. They need compassion, love and someone to understand them. A very moving story that covered themes of drug abuse, depression, anger, violence, abuse, suicide and neglect.

Homeless to Harvard

This movie is based on the true story of Liz Murray. As a young child she grew up with drug addicted parents who were mentally ill, but very loving. She was then removed out of the horrible home environment and placed in the foster care system. This teenager had to parent herself, learn things on her own, choose to make decisions and endure times of hardship. It is a very emotional, moving movie, may even break your heart. Her entire story is outlined in her book, 'Breaking night : a memoir of forgiveness, survival, and my journey from homeless to Harvard.'

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© 2018 Janellegems

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