Main Content

The Best Pictures of Resilience


Editor’s Note: Spoiler Alert! This post mentions plot points of some of the most popular movies this awards season. Our lawyers would prefer we didn’t name the films because of a little thing called copyright law, but it won’t take long to figure them out.


“Lights, Camera, Action:” Famous words in showbiz. They’ll be saying them right before they begin broadcasting a super prestigious awards show that’s coming up.

It’s peak awards season and this is the award everyone talks about—before movies come out, when they come out, after they’re released, and even long after people have forgotten about them. It’s the most admired; the one actors, directors, and producers alike all dream of winning someday. They even give out this huge award for the best picture of the year and it’s the one that everyone cares about. Winning that award is like winning the lottery or the World Series of Cinema. There are eight movies left in the running for it; all fighting for the bragging rights and fancy trophy that come along with it.

Three of the movies still in the running to win have a common theme: resilience. It’s something we see every day—especially when we’re interacting with people affected and impacted by disasters who face some serious adversities as a result. Watching these films, it’s easy to see why we admire the characters in them. Through fictional scenarios, people can gain an understanding of the qualities we see in survivors and, maybe a little more indirectly, why many of us here at FEMA love what we do.

There’s one movie this year that stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a fur-trading frontiersman who is left behind by his hunting party. Not only was he left behind, but it happened after he was mauled by a bear. Talk about adding insult to injury…

DiCaprio (famous across various sections of the internet for not having won one of these awards) faces near-certain death. The odds of survival are slim: he’s left alone in the wilderness, without his family. He’s severely injured and nearly murdered. His son is stabbed, he’s far from his wife who haunts his thoughts, and his future is left in question. And yet, somehow, he finds strength to continue on and try to survive. He refuses to give up; channeling perseverance and sheer grit in order to survive.

Another film this year features Charlize Theron as an impressively strong female character and shows a similar perseverance and resilience. While living under a tyrannical ruler in post-apocalyptic Australia, she escapes austere conditions and oppression and heads across the desert. Her final destination, her homeland, is the only place where she believes she can survive. Chase after chase ensues. Supplies are limited, but she and her drifter companions carry on. She faces chaos and destruction, but her drive to make it home and her determination to get there gets her through.

And then there’s Matt Damon; the epitome of resilience. In this year’s exploits, Damon is part of a crew sent to explore Mars—leaving him to find a way to get into some kind of trouble outside of Earth’s atmosphere. While working to complete a mission, a serious wind storm hits. It destroys his suit’s communication system, making him lose contact with the team. In an effort to stay alive, they leave without him. While the team believes he has died, he actually managed to survive.

Through a series of challenges including traveling across a foreign planet, essentially becoming a pirate, having only a playlist of corny disco music to listen to, and even running out of ketchup, Damon continues on. He uses his ingenuity, his botany skills, and his somewhat-dry sense of humor to get through. In the face of adversity, it’s important to maintain an ability to laugh.

Resilience makes a great movie theme. Rooting for the underdogs as they face incredibly challenging situations and circumstances is one of the best parts of watching this kind of movie.

And so, when the fancy couture dresses and the dapper tuxedos start making their way down the red carpeted walkway, we’ll have our popcorn handy. These are some of the best pictures of resilience we’ve seen—and we’ll be watching for them.


One more note from the lawyers: FEMA does not endorse any third party organizations, films, actors, or awards shows.

Last Updated: 
06/02/2017 - 09:20


Let's be a bit more broad and vague. Let's watch movies and feel resilience. 10 bucks to sit through another half-assed Hollywood film: now that's resilience.

You're right, everyone loves the underdog!

Pay $10 for a comedy or romance (w/date), not likely. (Hell No!) LOL Action and Sci-Fi (w/spec. effects) ONLY...