50 Films: The must-watch films recommended by the people of Hestia

In 2020, we mark 50 years of providing support and hope for adults and children every step of the way of recovery. Throughout the year, we'll be sharing the unique lives and journeys of the people who make Hestia, alongside the books, films and songs that have impacted them the most.

We'll be updating this list weekly - happy watching!


  1. The Stoning of Soraya M

As recommended by Tahara, PA to Hestia’s Directors

The Stoning of Soraya M. has stayed with me. It’s based on a true story and is incredibly hard to watch. It’s so very true of incidents I have witnessed myself in Iran, the stoning of family friends who were accused of adultery. The film brings back images that can never be erased from my mind, but must be told to educate the world on the hardships that are still very much happening around the world.”


  1. Midnight Cowboy

As recommended by John, a volunteer for Hestia’s befriending service

Midnight Cowboy. It’s about New York, a place that I love, but about how amongst all of the glitter, America does have a dark side. I’ve travelled there about 5 or 6 times. It has a vitality that fires you up, but Midnight Cowboy also shows the dregs of New York that are often left out of films. I hope I get to go there once more before I kick the bucket.


  1. Wonder

As recommended by Sara*, who lived in one of Hestia’s domestic abuse refuges

“It’s about a boy who’s born with facial differences as a result of Treacher Collins syndrome but goes on to be a bit of a hero at his school. The story is about accepting people for who they are, which is a message I’m keen for my own two boys to learn. I want them to be kind, and I want them to be proud of who they are.


  1. Armageddon

As recommended by Saffron, who is living in one of Hestia’s mental health supported accommodations

“I won’t spoil it, but Harry, the main character, basically overcomes something and saves the world in doing so. I think I’m a bit of a romanticist. The way he helped everyone was almost in a romantic sense.”


  1. Shawshank Redemption

As recommended by Judy, a volunteer for Hestia’s Phoenix Project and Ealing Hospital Discharge Service

It shows you that no matter how deep in doo-doo life can get, as long as you’re prepared to walk through it, you can get out.”


  1. Raise the Red Lanterns

As recommended by Cosimo, Hestia’s Outreach Team Leader at our RBKC Integrated Mental Health Service

“I love cinema and there are just so many movies which have impacted me greatly. However, one which I fell in love with immediately was Raise the Red Lanterns by Chinese director Zhang Yimou. The film is visually stunning and sumptuous, whilst at the same time narrating a difficult story of a concubine in China’s patriarchal society in the 1920’s. When the film was released, I had developed a strong interest for Chinese culture and I was studying Mandarin. I was so excited that this was one of the first films of the fifth generation of Chinese filmmakers which went on to win important awards and was selected for the Oscars.”


  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

As recommended by John, Hestia’s Volunteer Manager

“I’ve only watched about 10 films in my life, but One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest impacted me the most. It’s set in an institution for people with mental health needs, and it says everything that needs to be said about togetherness and equality.”


  1. Life Is Beautiful (La Vita è Bella)

As recommended by Jasmin*, a survivor of domestic abuse and volunteer at Hestia’s befriending service

“I’m a massive film person and my favourite is Life Is Beautiful (La Vita è Bella) directed by Roberto Benigni. It’s a classic and if you’re not impacted by it then you haven’t got a heart! It’s a story about amazing triumph and even though it’s a bit slow, it’s the most touching film I’ve ever seen.”


  1. Forrest Gump

As recommended by Rube*, an ex-resident in Hestia’s mental health supported accommodation

Forrest Gump. He lived with what he had and always saw the brighter side of life. Despite the stigma, despite the cruelty because he was different, he was always positive. I’ve watched it about 20 times!”


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