The new year has started, we’ve all made delusional (or realistic) resolutions to ourselves that will most likely be broken within the next couple of months. Whether it’s going out to the gym to get that beach body you always dreamed of, to write that next great American novel, or maybe even finally finding the love of your life, you’re still striving for something new and it is because of the thought that it being a new year can lead to a new you. Revitalization, a rebirth of who you want to be as opposed to who you’ve been so far. If that’s the case, I believe the following movies might be just what you’re looking for.

#1 Her (Now In Theaters)

Photo by Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture – © 2013 – Untitled Rick Howard Company LLC

This is one that just might take the cake for me in terms of my favorite movie of 2013, and that’s not something I throw around lightly. The writer, Spike Jonze, hits you with a bat of emotions in terms of such poignant and powerful dialogue, as well as character development that it had me completely immersed into the world he had created. In the not too distant future an eccentric, creative, sensitive, and lonely man named Theodore (played masterfully by Joaquin Phoenix) develops a relationship with his new operating system (voiced brilliantly by Scarlett Johansson). Why this merits so much praise is that it’s not a simple drama in the least, or the story of a boring man taken in by a whirlwind of a pixie dream girl. It’s a wondrous meditation on relationships as it takes a long and well deserved look at just what love is. Whether love is something that can only be between two corporeal beings, if having that person there with you is necessary, how sex can factor into it, even going into the importance of personal growth and how that affects a relationship. Not enough can be said about this film, I highly recommend everyone see this no matter what genre of movies you gravitate towards.

#2 Thanks For Sharing (DVD)

© 2013 – Roadside Attractions

A film packed with a powerful cast ranging from Mark Ruffalo to Gwyneth Paltrow to Tim Robbins and even Pink, this is one that surprised me. Going in hoping for a romantic comedy lightly powdered with serious tones, I was refreshed to find that it takes the subject matter very seriously. Three disparate characters at varying points of sobriety from their shared demon, sex addiction, all struggle and help one another as they make their way through life. Addiction of various forms affects us all in different ways whether it’s us suffering directly or through someone we may know, it’s comforting knowing that there is always time to make a difference and face those trials head on. This film will take you through a range of different emotions in the best way possible as you slowly become invested in each character, hoping to see them progress and absolutely despising when they fall. A wonderful film if you’re needing something stronger to continue on the path of who you want to be in the world.

#3 12 Years A Slave (Now In Theaters)

Photo by Jaap Buitendijk – © 2013 – Fox Searchlight Pictures

I warn you now, if you’re squeamish, have triggers about racism, or cannot emotionally handle watching some graphic depictions about one of the worst parts of America’s history, then this film is not for you. To say that Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance as Solomon Northup brought me to tears is an understatement, he channels something deep and buried within that will evoke every bit of sorrow you can fathom. This film, based on a true story, will quietly open your eyes as you get a glimpse of the atrocities that happened during the times of slavery in America. Solomon Northup is a free man with a wife and two children, and he is also a rather well-to-do violinist, when he is fooled by a couple of men and thrown into a life of slavery. What makes this movie so powerful though is the director, Steve McQueen’s eye for handling the story in such a realistic fashion that the vile hatred you develop for some of the characters become a venom that stays with you throughout the film, as well as the harsh scars and deep sadness that permeate through Solomon’s trying times. This film is a must see no matter what because similar to the other movies, there is always hope for change even in the darkest of times.

#4 Kill Your Darlings (Now In Theaters)

Photo by Jessica Miglio – © 2013 – Sony Pictures Classics

This is admittedly one I haven’t gotten around to seeing yet, but if my gut is right about this (which it normally is) then this is something that should be a good watch. The plot, starring the quintessential beat generation authors of Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) are brought together by way of a murder, and how that affects their friendship. While this does not scream out like something that will help in making a new you, I believe it will be one that will shake you down and give your inspiration vault a good punch or two. No, not the murder part, but by way of the fiery passion and thirst for life that these three took to just about every facet of their life. At the least I imagine if you’re not privy to who they were or what the beat generation stood for, you’ll be able to have an excuse to see ol’ Danny (Radcliffe) boy as he continues his career.

#5 The Rocket (Now In Theaters)

© Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

Everyone loves a feel-good movie at different points in time, if you’re down in the dumps or have been watching way too many serious dramas, they’re a good change of pace. This one has the makings being more than the same regurgitated trash that Hollywood will send your way to cash in on your emotions. A boy named Ahlo (played by Sitthiphon Disamoe) that is thought to be a curse to his village in Laos is thrust into a journey of adventure into a land that has been scarred by the legacy of war so that he may finally prove he’s not bad luck, which culminates in a rocket competition. The trailer for this one alone has me smiling and wondering about the sort of outrageous adventures the young boy will encounter on his journey; I mean Ahlo befriends a man who is essentially a James Brown impersonator. It looks to have all the ingredients to be a treat for a good date or at the very least a heartfelt watch as a boy who has been told his whole life that he’s cursed does everything in his power to reinvent himself and prove otherwise.

Here’s to hoping all of our readers a wonderful new year in bettering ourselves and our loved ones. Once more unto the breach, dear friends! I would love to hear your thoughts on some other flicks you think would be a good fit for this theme as well, so leave comments below, share with friends, or even get at me on Twitter!