Five films to watch to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving

Are you a glass half full or glass half empty type of person? Our perspective on whether we choose to be optimistic or pessimistic immensely affects our outlook in life. With Thanksgiving coming up soon, here are five inspiring and enjoyable films that nurture a spirit of gratitude.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): James Stewart stars as George Bailey, a man so fed up with life that he is considering suicide. An eccentric angel comes down from heaven to help George realize how different things would be if George had never been born.

Although traditionally seen as a Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life is perfect for Thanksgiving because it gives an important message to be grateful for the beauty of life despite the hardships and daily grind.

Pollyanna (1960): Pollyanna (Hayley Mills) is a cheerful, optimistic girl who becomes orphaned at the age of ten. She goes to live with her stern Aunt Polly, a wealthy, influential woman who views her niece’s “glad game” with skepticism and even disgust.

Pollyanna brings cheer and a sunny outlook to the townspeople, but her own view is challenged when she suffers an accident and becomes paralyzed. Pollyanna is a lighthearted movie that advocates looking on the bright side and bringing joy to those around you.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973): The Peanuts celebrate Thanksgiving together in this 25-minute cartoon full of mishaps and hilarity. Over a feast of toast, popcorn and candy, the kids discover that the importance of Thanksgiving is not the food you eat but rather the people you eat it with. It is perfect to watch if you have children or younger siblings, or if you want to embrace the nostalgia of your childhood.

My Life (1993): Could you be grateful for anything if you had four months left to live? Bob Jones (Michael Keaton) has terminal cancer and is not expected to live long enough to meet his unborn child. Bob struggles with denial, grief and rage over his prognosis, realizing that he has not lived the life that he had hoped for.

Eventually, he resolves to make the most of the time he does have left by recording videos for his future child to watch and reconnecting with his family. Despite the fact that the film is about terminal illness, My Life ultimately provides an inspiring and thought-provoking exploration of life, forgiveness and gratitude.

Wonder (2017): Based on the novel by R. J. Palacio, Wonder offers a heartwarming look into the struggles of a child with a facial difference. 5th grader Auggie Pullman, who has been homeschooled his whole life, goes to public school for the first time, where he must learn to combat ignorance and bullying.

Throughout the film, Aug- gie comes to embrace his differences and realize what a wonder he is. “No one is ordinary,” Auggie says, a truth for which we should all be immensely grateful.

It’s easy to complain about the things you lack, but Thanksgiving is all about recognizing and appreciating the many things you do have.

These five films will challenge your perspective and increase your sense of gratitude in your own life.