Best ethics movies, ready for debate?

Top 10 movies worth talking about: controversial debates and intriguing questions

I love watching movies, however some movies are special: they make you think. Below are my pick of the best movies about ethical debates. Whether it’s ‘giving’, stealing from the government, euthanasia, illegal aliens, donors, lying and sex. Put like that it’s not that interesting, however in these movies it DOES become interesting. Some of these movies made Oprah.

Indecent proposal – Robert Redford, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson

This movie had people talking for weeks in the eighties. The eighties was all about money – and this movie asked the ultimate money question: would you sleep with someone for money? And would you want your wife to? And what are the consequences?

My sister’s keeper – Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin

What if your baby sister was conceived in a petri-dish to save your life? What if you were that baby sister? Would you want them to keep on harvesting your body for parts to keep your big sister alive? Those are only some of the question this movie asks.

Oh, and it features THE child movie star of our times: Abigail Breslin.

Seven Pounds – Will Smith

Another donor movie. Except, you don’t know till the end what the real deal is.
What if you felt so guilty about something you did, that you didn’t want to live no more. What if you wanted to make 7 deserving people happy?

Mad Money – Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes

Mad Money – Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes

Due to the economy a white suburban couple looses their income. The wife, who hasn’t worked for years, finds a job cleaning at a local department of the Federal Reserve. She figures out a way to steal the bills right before they get destroyed and replaced with new ones…
Fun and funny, and aside from the obvious moral issues, very family friendly and feel good. And it does make you think: would you go into this? That and you won’t expect the ending.

The Terminal – Tom Hanks, Catherine Zetra-Jones

A refuge gets stuck between allowed into the USA and being sent back – on JFK airport. He makes a life there and then…. gets sent back. The movie puts a face to the refuge problem, the problem of illegal aliens.
The word ‘alien’ is quite extreme really, when applied to people. Tom Hanks makes this problem tangible by (being a white guy) stepping into that role.
Can our humanity coexist with borders?

Pay it forward – Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, Haley Joel Osment

This movie made the Oprah show, so I probably don’t have to summarize it. Still, I will.
The basic premise is the idea that when someone gets something, they don’t have to pay you back – instead they have to give THREE people something that it really hurts you to give. The concept is inspiring, isn’t it? What would you do?
The basic question asked here was asked by Rouseau before: what prevents the bad guys from taking advantage of the good guys? And yet, if we let the bad guys dictate morality and the way society is organised, what kind of life do we create for each other and ourselves?

The invention of lying – Ricky Gervals, Jennifer Gardner, Jonah Hill, Lous C.K., Rob Lowe, Tina Fey

Imagine a world in which lying was never invented. Everything else was, but not lying.
Throughout the movie people are being compulsively honest. as in “I’m just too far out of your league”, or “your baby is so ugly it’s like a little rat”, “Yes, that dress makes you look fat”.
That alone is enough to critique US society, but the ethical question involved goes further. CAN a geek get the cute girl without lying? Makes you laugh? Good.

What Women Want – Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt

Helen Hunt plays the ambitious but vulnerable Darcy McGuire who gets the job Mel Gibson’s character (Nick) wants.
By a freak accident he becomes clairvoyant, or partially so: he can hear what women are thinking. What would you do with the power to know what the other sex REALLY wants? Well, Nick starts out using it to his own advantage, but falls in love with Darcy on the way.

Side Effects: love is a drug

About the ethics of pharmaceutical representatives. That and a sweet love story.
What are YOU willing to do for money?

Gattaca – Genetics in power in the future…

A reader bought this movie off this page, which reminded me of it’s existence.
I loved this movie. It’s thrilling and the plot involves a guy who lives in a genetically modified society where those born in the ordinary biological way are second class. The guy is too smart to stand for it and decides to try out for space travel, a high-gene level requiring job if ever there was one.
I won’t tell you the conclusion, but I do think the ethical question needs to be asked: if genes determine who we are (and they do only up to a point, science tells us), should genes determine careers?

A reader says: 

I love Gattaca. The hero never gives up working for his dream, even though the chips are all stacked against him, and it shows that a determined, intelligent individual can get round even the most watertight system. Success isn’t in your genes, it’s a choice you make.

Readers also recommend Inception. I haven’t seen it though, so I have no idea.

More movie recommendations.

Posted on Categories Movies - my favorites