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Felicity Warner / HCM
Culture > Entertainment

Three Cinematic Moments That Inspire Me To Be My Best Self

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.

Edited by Olivia Spahn-Vieira

It’s not a stretch to say that sometimes, fiction sounds more appealing than reality.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to save the world from intergalactic threats, traverse through both time and space, or possess some epic super-powers? Who wouldn’t want to live in a world where evil is defeated, and everyone gets to live out their own “happily-ever-after?”

Unfortunately, though, fiction is nothing more than just that: fiction. It’s a place born of pure imagination — inspired by our world, yes, but wholly separate nonetheless. And as incredible as it would be to harness an Infinity Stone or soar among the stars, that’s just not feasible in the “real” world.

Yet there is one cinematic component that can be integrated into our mundane reality: the message, the main theme. The dialogues, written by brilliant, introspective writers, performed by the heroes of our dreams.

Film and television are overflowing gold mines of tantalizing wisdom; ready to transform, ready to inspire. In fact, several movie moments have provided me with joy, with love, with hope: qualities that show me the beauty of our real-life reality, and inspire me to embrace — and pursue becoming — my best self.

Here are three of the quotes that I find myself returning to, time and time again…

#1: “Everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be. The measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.”

When I walked into my local theatre to watch Avengers: Endgame, I expected to shed (more than) a few tears — after all, it was the end of an era, the conclusion to the 22-film saga that defined a decade.

What I didn’t expect, however, was for my heart to be touched by a line of a side character, one I’d never paid much attention to before: Thor’s (late) mother, Frigga, Queen of Asgard.

In this scene, Thor’s grappling with all he’s lost, coming to terms with the person he’s become. He’s let himself go — spiralled into darkness, afraid to return to his previous heroics in fear of losing the little that he has left. And so, when he encounters his mother on a trip to the past, he breaks down before her — prompting a beauty of a scene, which produced this masterpiece.

Let’s take this one more time. 

Everyone fails at who they’re SUPPOSED to be — that is, the “potential” that they’re always told they have.

[But] the measure of a person… is how well at they succeed at being WHO THEY ARE.

Not the person others think they can become. Not the person others want them to become.

But the person that they are, deep in their hearts. A person following their dreams, even if those dreams aren’t what others consider “a good use of their abilities.” Somebody pursing writing, or acting, or working retail in a bookstore, simply because that’s what their heart calls for them to do.

We live in a society in which we’re expected to be perfect: always at the top of our game, consistently succeeding — no, excelling

For many, this is how we try to strive for our “potential”: to live up to some idealized version of ourselves that someone — a family member, an educator, the voice inside our heads — is telling us to be.

They’re saying it to be inspiring, of course. “You can do anything, if you put your mind to it,” they say. “The world is your oyster. You’re smart, you’ve driven, you’re resilient: I know you’ll go great places.”

What they may not realize, though, is that this may seem like more of a burden, a weighted expectation, than a gift. Sure, you might possess the quote-unquote “potential” to live the future of your dreams — but what if you can’t make that dream a reality? Scratch that — what if you don’t want to make that your reality?

When I hear this quote, I’m reminded that I don’t need to reach that unattainable self. I don’t need to become a person on a pedestal, nor to become something that others are telling me I could (read: should) become. Instead, what matters is following my passion: staying true to myself, and seeing where my heart leads.

Like Frigga says, in order to be my best self, I can’t subscribe to what others believe I should become — I’m in control of my destiny, and I must stay true to my heart.

#2: “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.”

*Wipes tears from the corner of my eyes*

Okay, okay. I’m totally not crying. I promise. But this TV quote is screenwriting gold: not only does it crop up in one of the most emotional scenes in, in my opinion, one of *THE* best Doctor Who episodes of all time, but it’s also incredibly thought-provoking.

We’re not going to be on this Earth forever — unlike the regenerating Doctor, our lifespans are finite. We’re here, we live, and in a blink, it’s over — until we’re nothing more than a whisper, carried away by the autumn breeze. 

One day, many, many years from now, we will just be stories — be that a gilded tale from the mouth of a descendent, bringing a smile to their grandchild’s face, or an exhibit in a history museum. Perhaps one’s legacy will be inscribed in a textbook, or immortalized in a film.

Regardless, only one’s story will live on. So, if you think about it… a life is nothing more than you living out a story, your story.

You can choose whether your days are filled with light and love, or whether they’re bogged down by stress and sorrow. You are in control of the pen; you are scripting out the tale.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed or blue, when I don’t know what to do, I often find myself coming back to this episode, fast-forwarding to this scene. Perhaps I just want to see Matt Smith’s tear-jerking performance; perhaps I’m in the mood for a good cry. But more often than not, I find myself ruminating over these words: We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.

Life is short, and this line has inspired me to always make the best of it: to script myself a dramedy, and craft myself a happily-ever-after.

If I’m going to make my life a “good one,” I might as well make it the best that it can be.

#3: “Sometimes you can’t see what you’re learning… until you come out the other side.”

At its core, Wonder Woman 1984 is a film centred upon truth. From its starting moments to its end, it hints at the importance of sincerity, and warns against deceit — not to mention, the standout track in Zimmer’s score, aptly titled “Truth,” underlies all of the important scenes.

Yet within the movie’s first five minutes — scratch that, within just the opening monologue — Diana Prince, voiced by Gal Gadot, shares this pearl of wisdom.

She’s right, of course. After all, there’s a reason people say that “hindsight is 20/20”: often, the fact that you’re learning lessons is obscured, hidden from internal view until you’ve conquered the situation. Even if they may seem overwhelming in the moment, facing challenges builds character, and emotional pain strengthens your resolve.

When I’m faced with a daunting task, or feel as though what I’m doing has no point, I often find myself returning to these words. After all, though it may seem useless in the moment, every moment, every interaction is an opportunity to learn, a place to grow, a time to thrive. 

These words help me persevere through the hardships, for they remind me of the value found in each and every task: I’ll just have to make it through — in Diana’s words, to come out the other side — to find out what the value, what the lesson, really is.

Embracing individuality, and accepting who you are. Penning your own life story, and scripting your own ending. Persevering, and embracing life’s many lessons.

Films and television shows aren’t only good for entertainment — no, their thematic messages have a way of pulling on the heartstrings, and thoughtful dialogue often ruminates in your mind for months and years to come.

When things get tough, when life seems like it’s putting on the breaks, entertainment’s where I turn — for escapism, yes, but also for inspiration. So, thank you to the Writers’ Rooms, to the creators writing these scripts, for providing me with all these gems; thank you, for introducing these lines into the world.

Thank you for creating these cinematic moments, for they do more than entertain — they also inspire.

For as long as she can recall, Eden has been a natural storyteller. She's a fantasy fanatic, a contemporary connoisseur, and an enthusiast of all things cinematic! She's also intrigued by the complexities of neuroscience and cognition, and how they intertwine with creativity. Eden has written bylines for The Strand and The Varsity, and has contributed numerous pieces to both scientific and literary blogs. When she's not writing for HerCampus, you can find her watching the latest Marvel movie, drafting her next screenplay, or jamming out to Broadway tunes.