5 movies to watch with your teens that can help to develop a growth mindset

5 movies to watch with your teens that can help to develop a growth mindset

Written by our regular guest expert, Lisa Chuma.

Lisa is a teenication coach. She helps mums teenicate – communicate and connect with their teens. She believes communication is the cornerstone of an enriching mother-teen relationship and that connected teens become healthy adults. Even though teens act and behave tough, they still need their parents. This is why connecting and communicating with our teens must be a priority, not an afterthought.

Lisa is a proud mother of 3. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, she moved to the UK as a teenager and spent 11 years there before moving to Switzerland 10 years ago.

Lisa Chuma


Movies have the power to convey messages of hope, resilience, perseverance and much more, through their themes and dialogues, in an entertaining way. I have created a list of movies that are appropriate for teens, one preferably for older teens (16–19 year-olds), that show the growth mindset in action. Developing a growth mindset is a powerful way to harness and unleash the potential of our teens to pursue and achieve their goals with tenacity and courage.

All Together Now (2020) – Rated PG

Amber is a gifted performer who has a chance to audition to attend her dream university. However, she faces many challenges, including homelessness. Her difficult life circumstances begin to get in the way of achieving her dreams. This film shows that a growth mindset is not only about staying positive and working hard, but also about learning how to ask for and receive help from others. We do not have to struggle through challenges alone.

The Greatest Showman (2017) – Rated PG

This musical chronicles the life of Phineas T. Barnum, who begins as an orphan, living on the streets and goes on to start the first circus, facing numerous challenges along the way. The film provides hope and inspiration to never give up on one’s dreams, despite the challenges that will inevitably come.

Freedom Writers (2007) – Rated PG-13

This is the story of Erin Gruwell, a high school teacher who is determined to see a group of teens fulfil their academic potential despite them being written off as incapable learners. Despite the struggles they face in their impoverished, crime-ridden neighbourhoods, the students begin to see their potential. They take positive steps towards a better future, with the help of a teacher who believes in them and pushes them to aim higher. I would recommend this film for older teens (16–19 year-olds) because of themes concerning drugs and gang violence.

Soul (2020) – Rated PG

On the day that Joe, a pianist, finally lands a professional gig, he has an accident. His soul wanders in the “Great Before” while his body is unconscious in a hospital. The film chronicles his journey to come back to life, so that he can fulfil his dream. This film emphasises how simply focusing on a goal can distract us from the lessons of the journey. This is a key feature of the growth mindset.

Remember the Titans (2000) – Rated PG

In the 1970s, a Virginia high school football team must overcome racial hatred and bigotry as they compete to win a football title. The characters have to overcome adversity on and off the football field, through hard work and determination. This classic movie beautifully demonstrates the growth mindset, in relation to sports and academic achievement, as well as social justice issues.

These movies are available to rent or buy online and/or on a streaming service. Watch the trailers to get a sense of the films. I hope that they will resonate with you and your teenage children.


Many thanks to Lisa for these 5 movies to watch with your teens that can help to develop a growth mindset. If you follow us on social media, you’ll already know we love movies. So we’re delighted that some of these are new to us! We’re looking forward to snuggling up as a family with a big bowl of popcorn to watch them.

Lisa has also written for us on teaching teens to manage money and 5 financial literacy games you can play with your teen. 

If you’d like to find out more about Lisa and her coaching business, you can find her on Instagram here.




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