Sometimes when I am reading dense background information on a human rights issue, my brain freezes over, and I wish I could just absorb it as a movie. Fortunately there are heaps of blockbusters that touch on the "big issues".
Here are ten of my favourites movies with a human rights theme.
© Flickr / Joakim Wahlander
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1. The Help
Based on the novel of the same name, The Help follows an aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s who decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
The Help, 2011 / MovieStills.DB.com
2. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Set during World War II, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas tells the story of the young son of a commandant at a concentration camp who makes friends with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence. Have tissues at the ready!
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, 2008 / Image sourced from MovieStills.DB.com
In Osama, the Taliban are ruling Afghanistan and women are not allowed to work. A family of women decides to have the preteen daughter masquerade as a boy so she can support the family.
4. Rabbit-Proof Fence
Rabbit-Proof Fence is set in Western Australia in 1931, three Indigenous girls escape after being taken from their homes to be trained as domestic staff. They set out for home across the desert.
Rabbit-Proof Fence, 2002
A moving snapshot of the career and life of Harvey Milk, an American gay activist who became California's first openly gay elected official.
Milk, 2008 / Image sourced from MovieStills.DB.com
6. The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner follows Amir who, after spending years in California, returns to Afghanistan to help his childhood friend Hassan. Based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini.
The Kite Runner, 2007 / Image sourced from MovieStills.DB.com
7. The Green Mile
A prison guard discovers that one of the death row inmates – an African-American man accused of murder – has supernatural powers. The Green Mile is both poignant and moving. Find out more about our work on the death penalty.
The Green Mile, 1999 / Image sourced from MovieStills.DB.com
8. Zero Dark Thirty
Zero Dark Thirty, 2012 / Image sourced from MovieStills.DB.com
9. Mary Meets Mohammad
An indie documentary, Mary Meets Mohammad. Local community member Mary is staunchly against the asylum seekers housed in Tasmania’s first detention centre, until her knitting club donates beanies to the inmates and she strikes up an unlikely friendship with Mohammad.
Mary Meets Mohammad, 2013
10. Lord of War
In Lord of War Nicholas Cage plays Yuri Olov, an arms dealer who starts to question his work. On the surface it looks like a bad action movie but it's actually a really fascinating look inside the global small arms trade.
Lord of War, 2005