Movies with Meaning – with a difference

This week a “Movies with Meaning” weekly post with a difference. As I sat down to write the weekly post, a friend sent me the Tim Minchin speech below with the words : “Passing this on to be a “Teacher”.

This week, then, I feel inspired to pass on three commencement/graduation speeches. I’ve watched each of them multiple times and so sharing them for others.

(Side note. In America they call it a commencement speech, looking forwards to a graduands future, whereas in the UK they call it a graduation speech, which therefore is celebrating their past achievements up to that point. Different language, different emphasis.)

Anyway, I’ll stick to the movies with meaning format below, simply that this week these are three speeches.

Our weekly series. Please send in your movies via email, twitter etc. Our format  :

  • Three movies with meaning
  • One sentence on the core meaning you take from it
  • Send a link to a YouTube clip from the movie that speaks to that meaning

WARNING : Spoilers often included, so if you haven’t seen the movies…


This is Water – David Foster Wallace (2005)

“The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.
It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to
do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness;
awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all
around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and
“This is water.”
“This is water.”

~David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace published Infinite Jest in 1996 at the age of 24, regarded as one of the top 100 books of the century by Time Magazine. He ended his life in 2008 at the age of 36.

In 2005 he gave a commencement speech that was beautifully adapted into this nine minute film :




9 Life Lessons – Tim Minchin (2013)

“life is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can, taking pride in whatever you’re doing, having compassion, sharing ideas, running(!), being enthusiastic.”

“Be a teacher. Please? Please be a teacher. Teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world. You don’t have to do it forever, but if you’re in doubt about what to do, be an amazing teacher. Just for your twenties. Be a primary school teacher. Especially if you’re a bloke – we need male primary school teachers. Even if you’re not a Teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don’t take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn, and spray it.”

Learn, and share it, enthusiastically and abundantly !


How to live before you die – Steve Jobs (2005)

“you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

In this speech, Steve Jobs starts with “Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

Above is one of his powerful life lessons.

The fact that Steve Jobs died of cancer only a few years later lends added weight to this.

To me this is one of the most powerful speeches I’ve ever seen. I often go back to it.



Thank you for visiting my website

People are my library, my daily writing a way to discover what’s in it: ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little fun. As your humble librarian, I invite you to subscribe to check out a digest of daily emails emailed twice each week. No late fees, ever.