6 Philosophical Movies About Identity You Should Watch

6 Philosophical Movies About Identity You Should Watch

Last update: 29 December, 2015

As many movie fans know, the big screen is a place where we can explore and investigate the very essence of what it means to be a human being.

In fact, here we have dissected 6 p hilosophical movies about identity that are worth a watch…

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tells the story of a man who cannot forget a person who lives so far inside his mind that he seems to touch his soul. The suffering of the protagonist is impressive in this powerful film.

Can a person be so important in our lives to that they make a mark on our personal identity? According to this film, it seems obvious that the answer is yes.


In a futuristic world, genetic predisposition decides what role in life you play. Do you think one day this could be a reality? The story of Gattaca shows that dreams and willpower can lead the individual to overcome all kinds of obstacles.

Another valuable lesson for us from Gattaca is about life being seen as a career. Don’t ever hold anything for the return and put all your will and enthusiasm in what you do.



A man with short-term memory investigates how he got himself into his current situation. The film is told in reverse, from the end to the beginning, and the tattoos the protagonist gets to help him remember give a good account of the narrative.

Now, do we deceive ourselves to make sense of everything that we do not understand? Yes, probably. Memento is a clear example of this.

The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ was the controversial film by Martin Scorsese which was an adaptation of the novel by the Greek writer, Nikos Kazantzakis.

This film depicts Jesus as a man who doubts himself and cannot find his place in the world; losing his identity along the way.

Are we really predestined in life? Does our identity obey its development based on a master plan whose lines escape us? Should we follow fate when our dreams say something different?

The Matrix

Now let’s turn to one of the famous plays by the Wachowski brothers starring Keanu Reeves, The Matrix.

Can you imagine one day discovering that everything you live is a lie? Would it be possible to believe that what surrounds us is virtual and created in our image to meet basic needs? What if you discover that you are the chosen one?

Who are we really? Are we born for any purpose that escapes us? Do we create our identity throughout life, or perhaps never discover what our true purpose is in the world?


We will finish our review with the British film, Excalibur, by John Boorman, which narrates the Arthurian legends of Camelot. Arthur was born with a purpose, to be king and unify all countries around Camelot.

Excalibur is full of symbolism related to identity. A round table where no one is better than the other, a king to be torn between his duty as a monarch and his private life as a husband. It is an allegory about friendship and loyalty…

The vast mythology that makes up this film is still worthy of further study.


The people around us, the feeling of belonging, dreams and life goals and even our search for stability and happiness are reflected masterfully in these films.

Which is your favorite?

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