Movies offer educational lessons beyond entertainment by Maria Krug '22

A beneficial way to teach teens while also keeping them engaged is through the art of cinema. Movies, shows and documentaries portraying real issues spanning from bullying and racism to poverty and economics, help open peoples' eyes and encourage thinking and conversation.

In my high school and middle school years I have learned that I retain information better when presented visually; like in a movie. From history to English classes, from “Romeo and Juliet” to “Growing up poor in America”, a movie can build interest in a topic that is being learned in the classroom. Here are a few movies that I've either watched in school or that I believe serve an educational purpose for teenagers.

Trial of the Chicago 7

“The trial of the Chicago 7” showcases a fight for civil rights after the Vietnam war. Seven individuals were wrongfully convicted due to protesting and fighting in court for their First Amendment rights.

This movie opened my eyes to the injustices created inside the court system of the United States. With prior knowledge from my AP Government class, I was able to better understand the events taking place in the movie. For example, I previously did not know all the rights an individual is granted when entering a court, which I learned in my Government class: the right to an attorney, the right to a speedy trial and the notion of being guilty until proven innocent.


“Seaspiracy,” a 2021 documentary, reveals the environmental impact that fishing has in our world. The film examines different human impacts on ocean life and brings awareness to ending fish consumption.

This documentary’s goal is to inform people about how much damage humans are doing to sea life. The final message the documentary leaves viewers with is the notion of committing to end overfishing and help restore sea life.

“Miss Representation” uncovers how the media and culture in our society contribute to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power. The film is directed at young women with the aim of establishing a more equitable world for women in the future.

“The Glass Castle” takes a look into a deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant family. The movie deals with themes including alcoholism and abuse within a family and how it ultimately breaks them up. I read the book first and after being so captured by the story, I went on and watched the movie.

While dealing with a strong topic, the movie also shows how even when circumstances are against you, there is still a way out and you can still make something of yourself. I believe this is a very important message that isn't usually discussed in school.

There you have it, my top 4 educational movies that helped me learn either crucial life lessons or helped me gain knowledge on a subject I wasn't previously knowledgeable about. I encourage students to watch these movies if they are looking to further educate themselves in issues impacting the world they live in.

All pictures and graphics by Maria Krug '22