Film can be a powerful medium for those coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis and the uncertainty it brings. Stories of strength, determination, hope and love – both fictional and real life – can inspire those of any background, providing valuable insight and perspective.
In this post, we review inspirational films spanning a range of cancer-related themes.
The 2011 film "50/50" follows 27-year-old Adam Lerner's life.
as he hears the news of his schwannoma neurofibrosarcoma diagnosis. While this information is a shock to him, he finds comfort in his close relationship with his best friend and two other cancer patients he meets during his journey to recovery.
There are several comedic moments between good friends in this movie that highlight the importance of loving those who show support, even at the most confusing times in a cancer patient's life.
This movie is an excellent choice to watch because it centers around a real-life experience from the film's screenwriter. He incorporated his own emotions, reactions, and relationships in this movie to capture the true significance of support for those living with cancer.
“Tig” follows the real-life story of actress and comedian Tig Notaro.
“Tig” is a wonderfully inspiring movie for cancer patients and supporters. Tig was able to receive treatments and welcome twins into the world with her wife, proving that taking risks and creating happiness are valuable ways to live life to the fullest. Seeing how Tig continues to take charge of every aspect of her career and personal life is an uplifting view of living with these diseases.
“Crazy Sexy Cancer” (2007)
One incredible story about finding yourself in the face of uncertainty comes from the 2007 film “Crazy Sexy Cancer.” The movie follows the real life of actress and photographer Kris Carr and her diagnosis of epithelioid hemangioendothelioma.
While Kris waits to learn more about her medical condition, she decides to take control of her life by using exercise and dieting as a form of therapy. Organic foods and yoga become a comforting constant in her daily routine, helping her face whatever answers she does or does not receive about the type of cancer she has.
This film is an excellent reminder for cancer patients and their supporters to consider taking control of the parts of life where change is possible. Finding a fun hobby, learning a new skill, and making time for the essential things personal to you are a few steps you can take to reach internal comfort.
“The C Word” (2016)
The director of this 2016 documentary film, “The C Word,” retells her diagnosis and journey to recovery, along with scientific recaps of treatments from French neuroscientist and cancer revolutionary Dr. David Servan-Schreiber.
This film is a unique look into individual control and determination to find answers for different types of cancer. Looking into the advancement of technology and medicine and how these two topics play a huge role in cancer treatments can provide hope and further determination in finding a cure for several types of cancers in the near future.
“1 a Minute” (2010)
This notable 2010 film, “1 a Minute,” reflects on the diagnoses, lives, and recovery processes of several women celebrities living with breast cancer. Numerous notable names, including Olivia Newton-John and Melissa Ethridge, speak about their experiences with the disease in hopes of raising funds and awareness toward finding a cure. The stories of these celebrities come forward to inspire the main character to keep moving forward in the hope of a cure for breast cancer in the future.
This movie is a beautiful reminder that cancer patients are never alone. Some of the most recognizable women in pop culture have also gone through the diagnosis and recovery process. They share their stories in this film to encourage others to keep pushing forward. With so many supporters in one docudrama, the love is truly alive in the cancer community.
“Terms of Endearment” (1983)
A film of love and endless support from friends and family in times of need makes the 1983 film “Terms of Endearment” one of the most memorable cancer movies of the 20th century. After several years of quarrels because of their different opinions of family and relationships, Debra Winger's character, Emma, confides in her mother when she receives a terminal cancer diagnosis. Emma shows her unconditional love for her mother by entrusting her with her children's lives.
Although “Terms of Endearment” is a tear-jerking film, the characters are a wonderful reminder that support is always right around the corner. Even after years of fighting, Emma and her mom can come together when they both need it the most, finding more joy in life while showing their continued love for each other.
“Mondays at Racine” (2012)
There is no shortage of community pride and support in the short documentary “Mondays at Racine.” This 2012 short film follows the real lives of sisters and hairstylists Rachel and Cynthia, who open their salon every third Monday for women with cancer. Rachel and Cynthia offer beauty appointments for women to feel their best — inside and out — as they share their stories of triumph and support.
“Mondays at Racine" is a beautiful look into the importance of community when living with cancer. The sisters use their mother's battle with breast cancer to inspire their work as they provide services and friendships to these women around the area. Fighting alone is not an option when you have wonderful friends by your side.
This 2013 drama film, “Lily,” focuses on the ordinary lives that can be turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis. Lily is a woman in her early 30s who receives a breast cancer diagnosis and can undergo the necessary treatments to recover from the disease. While her friends are ecstatic about her beating breast cancer, Lily wonders what comes next.
Although a simple film, the main character reminds us that life is full of unanswered questions, and it is up to us to make the most of these moments. Lily's simple demeanor makes her feel real, proving that these circumstances can happen to anyone.
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