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Friday, July 12, 2024

5 inspiring and introspective films and shows to watch this Holy Week

3 min readWhen reflecting becomes too exhausting, these pieces of film and television are here to do it for you.
Profile picture of Mharla Francesca Santiano

Published over 1 year ago on April 07, 2023

by Mharla Francesca Santiano

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Photos from The Good Place (2016–2020), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Only Yesterday (1991), Pan de Salawal (2018)

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Reflecting is difficult.

Sometimes, it’s hard to flesh out our feelings, lay it all out on an empty table and analyze them one by one to understand ourselves better. It gets a little too real. Thankfully, films and shows help by sometimes saying what needs to be said, their truths leaving us space for catharsis. This Holy Week, when reflecting becomes too exhausting, these pieces of film and television are here to do it for you.

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

Photo from Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

Photo from Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

I'm sure you've already heard that iconic "In another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you" line, and it deserves to be celebrated with the entirety of the film that contains it.

Everything Everywhere All at Once (EEAAO) carries the perspective of the "least successful" version of the main character, Evelyn Wang, as she navigates the pressures of being a mother of a complicated queer daughter, a wife with a dwindling marriage, and a daughter under the shadow of her father's expectations. She attempts to find a resolution as she explores every version of herself in every universe imaginable. *EEAAO *provides the elements of fun through colorful switching of universes, slow motion action sequences, and oddly comedic scenes in between. All the while, retaining the realism of issues that almost everyone can relate to, whether there's the presence of a multiverse or not.

EEAAO is available to stream on HBO GO.

2. The Good Place (2016–2020)

Photo from The Good Place (2016–2020)

Photo from The Good Place (2016–2020)

Nothing could be more reflective than a series about ethics, philosophy, and the afterlife.

The Good Place follows the (after) life of Eleanor Shellstrop, and how she adjusts to the show's supposed "heaven," or "The Good Place." Eleanor counts her entry to The Good Place as a mistake, as she recalls how her life back on Earth was not the most deserving for a spot in the afterlife's heaven. Eleanor then finds ways to earn her spot, giving the audience episodic refreshers for ethics theories and philosophy lessons, and eventually uncovering secrets of the afterlife.

The Good Place is available to stream on Netflix.

3. Pan de Salawal (2018)

Photo from Pan de Salawal (2018)

Photo from Pan de Salawal (2018)

Sometimes, there's pain in healing, and Che Espiritu's Pan de Salawal becomes a perfect example.

Aguy, a little girl with healing powers, and Sal, a 68-year-old baker struck with the sadness of being alone and struggling, become the heart of the film. Tagging along with their journey are the interconnected stories of their neighborhood — a blooming love story, the doubts of a widowed father, a hairdresser reevaluating his career, and many more of Sal and Aguy's friends. Throughout the movie, viewers get to experience new perspectives of how healing looks like, and how it's not always a pain-free route. The film snaps a perfect combination of the simplicity of the characters' daily lives, their distinct emotional journeys toward healing tied with the warmth of magical elements provided by the lovable Aguy.

Watch Pan de Salawal on Netflix.

4. Only Yesterday (1991)

Photo from Only Yesterday (1991)

Photo from Only Yesterday (1991)

Only Yesterday by Isao Takahata gives the viewers two main characters: Taeko and her memories.

27-year-old Taeko decides to visit the countryside, and as she drives along the familiar soil, the film seamlessly captures Taeko's life in the past, memories of her fifth-grade self flooding her mind. The film becomes a medium for Taeko's journey both in the past and in the present, showing scenes of her younger self in mundane yet pivotal moments: first crushes, the emotional irrationalities of puberty, and even flunked math quizzes. Studio Ghibli quickly became a canvas for fantasy and otherworldliness, but in Only Yesterday, it finds its magic in what it means to be human — displaying longing, nostalgia, and fascination with life.

Only Yesterday is available on Netflix.

5. Nomadland (2020)

Photo from Nomadland (2020)

Photo from Nomadland (2020)

Finding who you are and where you belong shouldn't be a hurry, and Nomadland doesn't fail to tell the truth.

Chloé Zhao's *Nomadland *provides a platform for the exploration of its main character Fern who engages in the culture of being a nomad, which, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is "a member of a people who have no fixed residence but move from place to place usually seasonally and within a well-defined territory." The movie also explores the attachments Fern makes with her fellow nomads as she travels, her past, and even a bubbling romance along the way. Nomadland employs a gentle approach to storytelling, taking its time as it shows sceneries of nature, and reflective character close-ups, making Fern's journey slow yet tender.

Nomadland is available to stream on Hulu.

As Holy Week breathes a space for reflection, moving pictures can become a needed companion in one's introspective journey through characters with familiar traits, powerful lines that make you pause in your tracks, and their intimate storytelling that pierces one's soul.

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Profile picture of Mharla Francesca Santiano

Mharla Francesca Santiano

Blogs Writer

Mharla Santiano is a Blogs Writer at TomasinoWeb. She loves writing about real life, and finds it both a fun and healing experience whenever she takes pieces of the world she’s moving in and puts them into pages like a novel. She has no favorite genre of movies, and simply watches anything she “vibes with,” but knows that The Parent Trap (1998) and Ponyo (2008) are her immovable favorites. She also finds herself writing movie reviews, making it a creative outlet whenever she fixates on one. And probably because she relates to it as well. She loves pink, pop music, and iced coffee.

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