Top Film Recommendations for Empaths & Sensitive People


I am pleased to offer you my recommendations for empath friendly films. By this I mean, films that are inspirational, sometimes magical, and filled with love of the Earth and its creatures as well as friendships and all of humankind. These are not violent, loud, or action thrillers. Their pace is slower, richer, and leaves space for your imagination to roam to creative, beautiful places. I’m such a visual empath (I can’t tolerate loud or terrifying movies) that watching films is pure delight for me. I hope you enjoy these films too and that they bring peace, upliftment and enchantment to your life.

1. My Octopus Teacher (2020 Documentary)

After years of swimming every day in the freezing ocean at the tip of Africa, Craig Foster meets an unlikely teacher a young octopus who displays remarkable curiosity. Visiting her den and tracking her movements for months on end he eventually wins the animal’s trust and they develop a never-before-seen bond between human and wild animal. Streaming on Netflix. Watch trailer on Netflix

2. August Rush (2007 Feature Film)

A musically gifted orphan who is an empath, Evan (Freddie Highmore), runs away from his orphanage and searches New York City for his birth parents. Little does Evan know that his parents, Lyla (Keri Russell) and Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), are searching for him too.
Available on DVD and Amazon Video. Watch trailer on YouTube

3. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010 Documentary)

Breathtaking look into the power and sensitivity of ancient cave dwellings. Filmmaker Werner Herzog is given a rare chance to film inside France’s Chauvet Cave, where the walls are covered with the world’s oldest surviving paintings. Examining the 30,000-year-old drawings, Herzog discusses how the artwork represents humanity’s earliest dreams with scientists and art scholars conducting research at Chauvet.
Available on Amazon Video and Sling. Watch trailer on YouTube

4. Field of Dreams (1989 Feature Film)

When Iowa farmer Ray (Kevin Costner) hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield saying “If you build it, he will come,” he feels the need to act. Despite taunts of lunacy, Ray builds a baseball diamond on his land, but learns this field of dreams is about much more than bringing former baseball greats out to play.
Available on DVD & Amazon Prime Video. Watch trailer on YouTube

5. The King’s Speech (2010 Feature Film)

Experience the power of a deep friendship. England’s Prince Albert (Colin Firth) must ascend the throne as King George VI, but he has a speech impediment. Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an actor and speech therapist, is hired to help him overcome his stammer. An extraordinary friendship develops, as Logue uses unconventional means to teach the monarch how to speak with confidence.
Available on DVD & Amazon Video.  Watch trailer on YouTube

6. Sensitive: The Untold Story (2015 Documentary)

A fine documentary about the temperament trait of high sensitivity found in 20% of the population in both men and women. Based on the findings of bestselling author-psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron (“The Highly Sensitive Person”)
Available on Amazon Video and Tubi. Watch trailer on YouTube

7. Chariots of Fire (1981 Feature Film)

Inspiring story and musical score! In the class-obsessed and religiously divided United Kingdom of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a devout Christian born refuses to train or compete on the Sabbath while Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) overcomes anti-Semitism and class bias.
Available on DVD and Amazon Video. Watch trailer on YouTube.

8. Won’t You Be my Neighbor? (2018 Documentary)

Through interviews with family and colleagues, the life of Fred Rogers, the would-be pastor who found a more important calling to provide an oasis for children in a video sea of violent bombardment, is explored. His landmark series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968) was a show that could gently delve into important subjects no other children’s show would have dared for that time.
Available on DVD & Amazon Video . Watch trailer on YouTube

9. The Eagle Huntress (2016 Documentary)

Aishol-pan, a 13-year-old girl, trains against great odds to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries.
Available on DVD & Amazon Video. Watch trailer on YouTube

10. The Secret of Roan Inish (1995 Feature Film)

When Fiona (Jeni Courtney) a young Irish goes to live with her grandparents on the west coast of Ireland, she hears stories about the mythical creatures called selkies who can shift from seal to human form. After she ends up on the small island of Roan Inish, she believes she may have found her missing brother living by the sea and a world of selkies..
Available on DVD, YouTube, and Amazon Video. Watch trailer on YouTube.

11. Whale Rider (2002 Feature Film)

Only males are allowed to ascend to chiefdom in a Maori tribe in New Zealand. However when Pai’s (Keisha Castle-Hughes) twin brother who has been selected to be chief dies she enlists the help of her grandmother (Vicky Haughton) and the training of her uncle (Grant Roa) to claim her birthright.
Available on Amazon Video and Pluto TV. Watch trailer on YouTube

12. Wings of Desire (1988 Feature Film)
Damiel and Cassiel are two angels, who have existed even before humankind. They wander around West Berlin, observing and preserving life. But Damiel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.
Available on DVD, Amazon Video. Watch trailer on YouTube

46 thoughts on “Top Film Recommendations for Empaths & Sensitive People

  1. Some of these look great to me as well. A couple others that some may like, are The Way Way Back. One of my favorites. Gaslight may be be one you’ll like if, like me, you’ve had people trying to convince you your HSP traits are bad.

  2. I watched Octopus my friend. It was amazing, the connection of the octopus with the man. The octopus had feelings !!!!!
    At the end when the octopus knew he was dying, it was so selfless, surrendering to what is about to come. I am amazed at the intelligence of the octopus. Also, the fight for survival by these sea creatures. How blessed we are… monster (size) humans!
    I wanted the man to save the octopus, so badly, but what he did was right. We cannot save other beings from themselves. We all have a beginning and end to our experience here on earth. In my daily life I have expectations as to how everything is supposed to be…. this protective fear that lives inside of me….

  3. These are some of my favorite films! Whale Rider and Secret of Roan Inish, just beautiful. I’d add Amelie as well.

  4. Thanks for the movies, love sensitive films. I’d add The Secret: Dare to Dream on amazon. Beautiful film about the law of attraction

  5. I’ve seen all of these (apart from documentaries) and loved all of them. I’d also like to add “Map of the Human Heart” by Vincent Ward.

  6. What Dreams May Come is one of my all time favorites. The scenes of hell are hard to take but the overall message makes those scenes worth watching. I appreciate the list as well. I have a hard time watching what is available on Netflix and Hulu most of the time.

  7. Thanks Judith for suggesting these. We watched “My Octopus Teacher” last week and loved it! We have recommended it to others, who loved it as well. Keep the suggestions coming and me and my husband will watch them all.

  8. Thank you the recommended movies! Finally a list of inspiring movies that are not too harsh or overwhelmingly sad. Ive seen several listed and look forward to watching the others. Please keep your movie recommendations coming. I would like to add The Magic of Belle Isle (free on Youtube).

  9. Thank you for making that list available. I’ve got say, August Rush is one of my favorite movies.

  10. Field of Dreams is such a wonderful movie, one of my all time favorites! I liked Won’t You Be My Neighbor, and enjoyed the documentary about Fred Rogers even more! My Octopus Teacher was a beautiful story, but I have to say I was pretty devastated at the end–so much that I almost regretted watching it. That said, I am finding that I get more and more sensitive as I get older.

  11. I’ve seen some of these and look forward to seeing all. I love The Secret of Roan Innish and have it on DVD! Thank you so much for these recommendations! There is so much I’ve seen on TV that caused me physical pain . I just can’t expose myself to such violence.!

  12. I just have to add another one….”City of Angels”. Such a beautiful, soulful and sensitive tale. Filmed mostly in Los Angeles with lovely aerial shots in Tahoe as well.

    For me, it was discovered at a time when I was just coming into (and accepting) my sensitivity and spirituality. It touched me immensely.


    1. Thank you for this list. I just watched August Rush. What an amazing film! I must say that it was pretty adrenalizing for me, in case anyone else is highly sensitive.

  13. Thank you for these recommendations!
    What about the Loving Vincent movie? He was such a tortured soul, do you think he was an empath?

  14. Great post! Thank you for sharing! I’ve seen several of these and totally agree they are beautiful and inspiring. Looking forward to checking out the ones I haven’t seen yet.

  15. Great list! Some favorites there, and others I will watch! “The Secret of Roan Inish!” Just about time to watch that again. Thank you, Judith!

  16. THANK-YOU for the Movie List. It was insightful to me that many of my favorite movies were listed on your list! So, very much look forward to seeing the other movies on your “List”!
    I also saw My Octopus Teacher last month, and it is both remarkable and extrordinary!

  17. Oh Judith,
    I am so glad to know you!!!!
    I took a zoom class with you!!!

    I do so want to stay connected. I loved the movies I’ve already seen..and I just adopted a family that needs another grandmother!!!!

    I am ecstatic to be able to share these movies with them!!! The children range in age from 17 to 3 with one on the way.

    Today is a very special day!!!

  18. Watched “My Octopus Teacher” tonight on Netflix and found it to be an amazing film. It was touching and beautiful. I got totally into it – heart and soul. Left with a feeling of complete peace. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Thank you for this Judith. I appreciate the thought that went in to this and the generosity of you sharing this with us. I am excited to have something productive and enlightening to focus on and do in my spare time.

  20. Thank you. I am often looking for wholesome movies / documentaries that nurture my being!!! I appreciate your list!!! Sheila

  21. Judith,

    Thank you so much! I have seen five of the above movies and I also loved them and claim them among some of my best ever! I will definitely check out the other seven you recommended! Meanwhile, I went searching for some of my favorite movies that I still think about from time to time, even after decades of not seeing them! So I compiled a list for you of some of my favorites from a fellow sensitive. Enjoy!

    Il Postino (1994) – IMDb [The Postman]
    Elvira Madigan movie review & film summary (1967) | Roger …
    Babette’s Feast (1987) – IMDb
    Imitation of Life (1959) – IMDb
    harold and maude
    Bagdad Cafe – Wikipedia
    ‘Off the Map’: In the Desert, A Family Blooms – The Washington …

  22. My Octopus Teacher.
    The Kings Speech.
    Sensitive: the Untold Story.
    Yep. You are right on the money. Excellent fils for empaths. Look forward to watching the others

  23. this would pretty much be my list too 🙂 <3 . You might also like to check out When Marnie Was There, and My Neighbour, Totoro…two beautiful anime films by Miyazaki.

  24. Thank you so much! I have some empaths for clients (I’m an LCPC) and they will appreciate these – I can’t wait to watch the ones I have not yet seen! I absolutely love August Rush and My Octopus Teacher already.

  25. It would be interesting to make a list of tv/ movie characters who portray empath traits. For example, the character Phoebe on Friends.

  26. I have seen many of these beautiful films and greatly appreciate the opportunity to experience several I am not familiar with. Thank you, Judith.

  27. I have seen many of these recommended movies and documentaries. I agree that they are perfect for empath’s. I have a suggestion for more comedy Doc Martin and All Creatures Great and Small.

  28. Dr. Judith Orloff,
    I appreciate your kindness and sharing your wisdom and sensitivity.
    I LOVE your TOP FILM recommendations.

    WOW I agree, loud terrifying movies creates a cold and numbing feeling through my body.. I delight in movies that deliver peace and lift my spirit and enhance enchantment to my life. Thank YOU!

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