There are books and films that move me to tears, and characters whose situations and journeys really inspire me. Making a note to myself as I continue to express the chaotic thoughts dancing in my mind.
Taran Wanderer (1967 book from the Chronicles of Prydain) - Taran goes on a journey to understand his heritage; meeting, learning from, and building a community around him
Shall We Dansu (1996) - Shohei Sugiyama is an earnest working husband and father who finds a simple delight in dance, despite the shame in his culture
American Beauty (1999) - Lester Burnham is a burnt-out husband and father who finds delight in an attraction that returns him to appreciation for the life and family he has had
Harry Potter (1997-2007 books, 2001-2011 films) - a cast of wonderful characters, especially Severus Snape
Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008) - Aang struggles with how to restore balance to the world, while also sticking to his value of nonviolence
Ratatouille (2007) - Remy, the underdog genius rat chef, caught between the lifestyles or humans and rats, struggles with how to express his talents and be recognized as a success
Hairspray (2007) - Tracy Turnblad has such a bright, colorful, stylish, contagious, dance-filled, musical vision of a world with simply civic justice and joy for all
Black Mirror (2011-2019) - beautiful explorations of technology, culture, and the human condition
Wreck-It Ralph (2012, 2018) - Ralph and Vanellope face the prejudices of being the "bad guy" and the "misfit" when they just want recognition and connection like everyone else
Orange is the New Black (2013-2019) - everyone's just trying to survive, and their backstories are heartwrenching situations of being at the wrong place at the wrong time; S3E13 and S5E07 are examples bring moments of peace
Steven Universe (2013-2020) - Steven's innocence, coming-of-age, and simple compassion for others is beautiful
The Book of Life (2014) - Manolo struggles with how to make his family proud as a matador, while also sticking to his value of not killing the bull.
La La Land (2016) - Mia and Sebastian take a journey experiencing the conflict between the demands of shared love and our individual dreams
The Good Place (2016-2020) - beautiful team and re-imagination of what the afterlife is all about
Song Lang (2018) - Dũng and Linh Phụng share a bromance, in a world where everyone is dealing with their debts, conflicts, and loneliness
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) - Lars–despite the shame of being a poor artist and middle-aged and living at home–strives to be a success for his family, his community, his love, and for the love of his music craft
Soul (2020) - Joe Gardner gets a second chance to live in the moment
The Queen's Gambit (2020) - Elizabeth Harmon at the intersection of genius, madness, community, and success
That's my short list for now; I'll write more about them later.