Loneliness & Longing in Film: Highlights from 10 of the Most Profound Movies I’ve Seen

James Governale
18 min readOct 8, 2020

I was asked to do a movie challenge, and I did.

A challenge to 10 images of movies having made an impact on my life. 10 movies, 10 images, 10 days, no explanation. Afterwards, it got me thinking about the themes present in the movies I chose. I found it hard to post only a pic without any explanation. After my first post, I added a quote from the movie. Then I posted a clip of a favorite scene within the comments. Perhaps, the ‘challenge’ was to have others identify the movie from the image. I found it more fun to spark discussion as to why these movies had an impact on me.

I decided to choose movies I saw as an adult, since from a kid’s perspective I found many movies impactful. It would be too difficult to choose only 10 movies from childhood! There’s definitely more than 10 impactful movies from adulthood, but they are catalogued differently in mind than childhood movies. I figured it would be fun to see which one’s came up for me at the time of doing this challenge.

Most of my film choices are well-written, character-driven dramas. They have many emotional moments, with messages I’d classify as deep or provocative. For me, the most profund moments come in the form of emotional resonance. What are the characters feeling? How do their feelings inform their choices and actions? I like exploring the question “why do I care so much about this character?” What has me invested and caring about how the movie plays out?

My selection shows what I’m drawn to. It revealed more than I thought it would. Hey, it’s just a fun little movie challenge, right? Or is it? I noticed the character analysis showed different sides of me. How much I related to core characters of these movies. What they were experiencing? What their inner monologues were? What affected them so deeply and motivated them? I was intrigued by how they chose to communicate their thoughts and feelings.

There was a common theme of loneliness as an undercurrent for many of those core characters. Sometimes the loneliness brought about a penetrating longing that felt tangible. Their loneliness and longing shaped how they made their decisions and how they moved themselves through the story. Here’s a deeper look at each of these movies and my thoughts about what they convey.


1. The Impossible

James Governale

I’m a holistic health coach & writer living in Brooklyn, NY. I’m the creator of www.highheartwellness.com assisting others to reach desired health goals.