4 Movies That Teach Us How To Navigate In Real Life

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Movies can be much more than a two-hour, action-packed break from reality. From the importance of strategic thinking and skill to determination and experience, these movies are as educating as they are entertaining. 

Rounders: Strategic Thinking and Risk Assessment

Rounders is a drama directed by John Dahl which was released in 1998. It takes us into a story that revolves around poker. Matt Damon plays Mike McDermott who is a reformed gambler who returns to poker to help a friend. 

Where Rounders distinguishes itself from other casino-centered movies, is in its grabbing depiction of intense poker action. Although the story portrays a typical theme for casino action, it differs from the likes of Casino Royale’s glamourous picture of casino games and instead uses technical terminology and realistic portrayals to spark attraction to poker. 

Poker fans and observers alike are no strangers to the poker rules and tips to play a winning game. With limited time to make their move, players must make quick decisions and act. It teaches them how to strategically understand mathematical odds and read others: skills that expand into real-life business or personal scenarios. 

Rounders intelligently demonstrates the value of strategic thinking and skill in successful poker playing. When things start lacking for Damon’s character, he acknowledges his poorly conceived strategy. 

When his mentor Joey Knish (John Turturro) offers advice about managing risk and strategy, Damon’s character uses a cautious approach while operating ruthlessly when necessary. Rounders prompted viewers to develop careful strategies and consider the importance of skill in both poker and real-world situations. 

The Queen’s Gambit: Learn from Failure

If there is one thing Netflix’s inspiring show The Queens Gambit teaches us, it’s to never give up on your dreams. Set during the Cold War era, the show centers on orphaned Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) who is determined to become the world’s greatest chess player. In a time where women were perceived as mothers, Beth is ultimately faced with ridicule from the start. 

Despite the challenges, she pushes through and follows her dream, learning from failures along the way. Chess involves strategy and skill, making it similar to poker. 

All these skills are intelligently depicted in The Queen’s Gambit, with Beth researching the players, quickly reacting to her opponent’s game, and improvising her moves. 

However, the biggest lesson learned in The Queen’s Gambit is the ability to learn from failure. From replaying the matches in her mind, to persevering through the ridicule and doubts received from opponents, Beth proved everyone wrong and developed into a winner. The lesson to be learned is that temporary failure does not last forever. 

Whiplash: Reaching to Excellence

Damien Chazelle directed Whiplash which was released in 2014. It focused on Andrew’s (Miles Teller) path to becoming a great drummer, no matter what the cost is. 

The significance of skill, desire, and determination to reach excellence is perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from Whiplash. After enrolling in a music school to become a drummer, Andrew (Miles Teller) is mentored by an unconventional Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), who pushes him beyond the limits of logic and sensibility. 

Andrew shows perseverance through “tough love” and abuse from Terence, his willingness to become a successful drummer overpowers his failures and discouragements. However, the movie also teaches us that to reach excellence, don’t shy away from support. Without Terence’s mentorship, as brutal as it was, Andrew wouldn’t have had the same determination and strength to achieve his goals. 

Terence tests Andrew’s abilities, enabling him to become the best version of himself. His methods of bringing Andrew to that point are questionable, but it worked. Learning to take on challenges and surrounding yourself with people who can push you past your limits from time to time can be a special thing – it just doesn’t have to be as extreme as it was portrayed in Whiplash.

The Intern: Experience Matters

If there is one thing to be learned from 2015’s The Intern, although there are lots of them to learn, is that experience matters. Following Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widow who takes up an internship at a fashion site, the movie creatively suggests that it is never too late to learn a new skill. Set in a modern office, with younger interns and a modern boss Jules (Anne Hathaway), Ben is forced to test his skills and adjust to the modern workday. However, it’s not what Ben learns about his new career that intrigues characters and audiences alike, but rather what he teaches. 

With his business and life experience, Ben frequently teaches Jules and his younger colleagues the importance of communication, work/life balance, and, as Ben puts it, how to “dress to impress.” Ben repeatedly demonstrates that experience matters, even in an inexperienced environment, by educating his fellow characters on how to navigate through business and life. 

Although reluctant about her new intern, who seems to be “too slow” for the fast-paced work environment, Jules soon realizes that Ben’s life and business experience are far more valuable than his ability to send an email.