Because lonely academics are cute
September 18, 2008 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Movies about lonely academics who find new meaning in life?

I recently watched two movies that had a similar starting point: Smart People (an emotionally blocked widowed professor has a new chance to grow...) and The Visitor (a lonely widowed professor explores identity and immigration issues after an unusual experience in NYC...) and I'm looking for other movies to watch in this "genre".

Suggestions?
posted by dyslexictraveler to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
A darker version of the 'lonely teacher' scenario is 'Notes on a Scandal'.
posted by essexjan at 9:43 AM on September 18, 2008


The Savages.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:45 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


How about Wonder Boys?
posted by hal_c_on at 9:48 AM on September 18, 2008


Seconding Wonder Boys on preview.

Not an academic but there's the violin repairman in Un coeur en hiver.

Altered States is more sci-fi, but takes on some of those themes.
posted by palindromic at 9:49 AM on September 18, 2008


The Incredible Mr. Limpet

Er, note that the new meaning in life that he finds involves turning into a cartoon fish.
posted by Wavelet at 9:52 AM on September 18, 2008


You could watch The Mirror Has Two Faces if you really want to suffer.
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:53 AM on September 18, 2008


You're the man now, dawg!

Not really an academic, but somewhat similar to the idea
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:57 AM on September 18, 2008


Educating Rita
posted by idb at 10:01 AM on September 18, 2008


I.Q.? (Einstein is the emotionally repressed/crotchety academic)
posted by mysterious1der at 10:10 AM on September 18, 2008


Good Will Hunting, albeit in a sideways fashion.
posted by Skot at 10:11 AM on September 18, 2008


Proof is more about crazy, lonely academics finding more meaning in life, but I thought it was really good.
posted by sararah at 10:12 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


A Beautiful Mind?
posted by Sassyfras at 10:16 AM on September 18, 2008


Thirding Wonder Boys. It's like a far superior version of Smart People, set in the same city (Pittsburgh). When you watch it, look for me: when Michael Douglas's character comes home at night to find a massive party going on, I'm the guy on the left walking down the middle of the street in the snow. (It's right after the Howard Johnson's scene.) I'm also in the audience of the literary festival at the end of the movie, but you'd have to know where to look.
posted by arco at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2008


The Squid and the Whale? I think they may have stopped short of "finding new meaning in life" but I don't really remember.
posted by tushfestival at 10:21 AM on September 18, 2008


There's the recent movie Paris, in which a figure like this is one of the main characters.
posted by nasreddin at 10:36 AM on September 18, 2008


One True Thing, 1989, William Hurt & The Streep.
The Life of David Gale, 2003, Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney. Pretty dark.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:37 AM on September 18, 2008


Contact. SRSLY.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:48 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Love Wonder Boys

Also The Piano Teacher. It's very dark, even disturbing, but an excellent film.
posted by carsonb at 11:01 AM on September 18, 2008


Maybe Finding Forrester. Sean Connery is a reclusive author, in the J.D. Salinger vein, who befriends a high school kid with talent.
posted by acorn1515 at 11:07 AM on September 18, 2008


Infinity
posted by cazoo at 11:08 AM on September 18, 2008


I guess Pi would fit the bill.
posted by leibniz at 11:51 AM on September 18, 2008


Goodbye Mr. Chips (1969)

Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939)

...both are excellent.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 11:57 AM on September 18, 2008


Shadowlands
84 Charing Cross Road
Both are based on true stories. The protagonists in 84CCR are not exactly academics (bookseller, script-reader), but they both expand their lives through each other.

The Sandlot
Bookish child joins pick-up baseball game.
posted by joaquim at 12:34 PM on September 18, 2008


Starting Out in the Evening
posted by Violet Hour at 12:45 PM on September 18, 2008


The Browning Version
posted by bricoleur at 12:53 PM on September 18, 2008


Possession
posted by orange swan at 1:07 PM on September 18, 2008


The Accidental Tourist. The protagonist is a travel writer rather than academic, but the same general principles apply.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:34 PM on September 19, 2008


Well, she finds new meaning in life as she's dying a horrible cancer death, but Emma Thompson in the movie adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play Wit might work for you. It's a great, harrowing, heartbreaking, life-affirming story.
posted by mediareport at 7:43 AM on September 21, 2008


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