Movies with Meaning – Say Anything

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

  • Three movies with meaning (and movies you love and recommend!)
  • 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

This week i wrote about transparency, candor, audacity and humility in “Radical Transparency – Humility balanced with Audacity“.

The world is full of people and “leaders” who bury their truth, who mislead, manipulate, hide, divert.  Is it any wonder that we see so much toxicity, now bursting forth in so many ways, with society fighting back with truth from #NeverAgain, #MeToo, #TimesUp and more.

Such leadership can be successful short term, but building something of lasting and sustainable value comes from deeper leadership, from a sense of purpose and also from being truthful, open and caring.

If you’d asked a stonemason in Durham in the year 1100 what he was working on, he would not have said he was cutting stones to build a wall, he would have said he was building a great cathedral to last a thousand years. Are you a cathedral builder ?

This week’s movie post, three movies on the power of honesty, truth, integrity, starting with my favourite modern movie romance, “Say Anything”

Say Anything  (1989)

Cameron’s Crowe’s debut movie features one of my favourite actors, John Cusack, in a beautifully written, performed and directed movie.

As Roger Ebert says “A movie like this is possible because its maker believes in the young characters, and in doing the right thing, and in staying true to oneself.”

Cusack plays Lloyd Dobler, a kick boxer who is clear, true and honest at all times.

As his confidante Corey says to Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything, “The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don’t be a guy.”

This is one of my absolute favourite movies, and from the title, I believe, as with Radical Candor, that we can say anything as long as it comes from a place of care for the other person.


Scent of a Woman (1992)

A terrific movie that I won’t give any of the plot of, but I do recommend watching it before watching this clip, which is all about the character of young Charlie, represented by Al Pacino’s character, Colonel Slade.

One of the great movie speeches.


Michael Clayton (2007)

George Clooney is brilliant in the complex role of Michael Clayton. The clip here is a trailer that features it. Suffice to say that he has a choice in the end of whether or not to act from his truth, with integrity.

As has happened in the past, I’ve used this and other movies before (Goodwill Hunting and Dead Poet’s Society to name but two!) in “Movies with Meaning”, but in a different context. Context, as always, is key.

I’ve also added a clip of the closing credits scene. One of the great movie shots, and astounding acting by Clooney without saying a word.

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