In Netflix’s Paper Lives, you see a beautiful relationship blossom between a kind waste warehouse operator and a homeless child he finds and adopts. The bonding between Mehmet and Ali is heartwarming and inspirational. There are many murmurs about the movie winning at least one or two Oscars. If you are in a sentimental mood to watch more movies like Paper Lives, we have just the list for you, below.
Before that, here are quick links to two of our most recent posts at Great Movies Like, a place where we suggest movies similar to new releases that have come out in the past few weeks. Movies like Nobody. Movies like The Father.
8 Touching Movies like Paper Lives (2021)
1 The Blind Side (2009)
Based on a true life story, The Blind Side is based on the true life Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a first round NFL draft pick. Michael is a large homeless African American boy adopted by a wealthy Southerner family. Sandra Bullock plays the socially elite Leigh Anne Tuohy, with Tim McGraw playing her husband Sean. Lily Collins and Jae Head play the two children of the wealthy family. The movie portrays how kindness and warmth can transform the life of a young adult. An adult who would otherwise struggle to make anything out of himself if not for the act of kindness.
Leigh Anne fights off prejudice and hate from her wealthy social circles. Her daughter gets laughed at in school. But, together as a family, they stand by Michael. There’s a generous dose of very tasteful comedy as well, particularly from Sandra Bullock, in her signature sarcastic style. Kathy Bates makes an impression with her unique acting style, playing the role of Michael’s tutor, trying to get his grades up to speed.
This is a movie that will leave you in very good spirits, much like how Paper Lives did. A must watch if you ask us, if you are looking for movies like Paper Lives.
2 August Rush (2007)
Lyla (Keri Russell) and Jonathan (Louis Connelly) meet during a magical rendition of ‘Moondance’, by a street magician. Their chance encounter blossoms into a night of romance. But, they are separated after just one wonderful night. Lyla gives birth to a baby born out of their lone night of love. But, her father lies to her, that the baby died.
But, twelve years later, that son, homeless August Rush (Freddie Highmore), uses his magical talents to find his long-lost and separated birth parents. You experience the same love and compassion you saw in Paper Lives. August Rush uses music as his only guiding compass. This movie is a tear jerker. It’s rated 7.5 at IMDB, with well over 100,000 votes.
3 Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Director Danny Boyle’s claim to fame, Slumdog Billionaire starts off with a teenager winning the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. But, as soon as he wins, he is accused of cheating. The movie then recounts the life of this teenager, going back to the days when he lived in the tough slums of Mumbai. Episodes from his childhood gave him the answers he needed to strike it rich on the game show, years later. The bond with his brother. The struggles with gangs. A girl he so dearly loved and lost. It’s beautiful storytelling weaved into a fantastic plot. Slumdog Millionaire swept the Oscars in 2008, winning no less than 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
It will entertain you with compassion and the power of persistence, to see light when there seems to be nothing but darkness.
4 The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Will Smith is Chris Gardner. He is on the brink of being homeless. Stuck with a job as a salesman trying to sell bulky bone density medical devices nobody wants, his marriage is about to fall apart as well. His wife Linda (Thandie Newton) just cannot take his professional failings in her stride anymore. A hurt Will takes custody of his son Christopher (Jaden Smith). While still trying to push medical devices, he gets a lucky break on a cab ride, when an investor sees him easily solving a Rubik’s cube.
That chance encounter earns him an internship where he must beat out fellow interns for a paid job. Loosely based on a true story, The Pursuit of Happyness is a must watch if you enjoyed the father son like relationship between Mehmet and Ali, in Paper Lives. Jaden Smith is adorable as the boy who blindly believes his father will somehow find a way. Will Smith does find a way, out of sheer determination and will to care and provide for his son. Along the way, he is homeless, eating at Shelters and just barely surviving, with his son in tow. The power of family, beautifully portrayed in a masterpiece of a movie.
5 Pay It Forward (2000)
A boy Trevor (Haley Joes Osment) is troubled by his alcoholic mother and abusive father. But, when his kind Social Studies teacher gives him a Pay It Forward assignment, life takes a turn for the better. A simple deed has profound effects on all the people around him. Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, Jay Mohr and several other supporting cast members deliver great performances in this feed good movie.
A simple plot that pays big rewards for watching. You will be inspired to make a difference after watching this movie, despite having troubles of your own. You will realize how giving can be as pleasurable as receiving.
6 Patch Adams (1998)
This is an unusual choice on the list for movies like Paper Lives. But, we wanted to include it nonetheless, because it is about helping humanity. Just like how Mehmet helped Ali, Patch Adams (Robin Williams) wants to help others by being a doctor. But, he isn’t a regular doctor. Instead, he uses humor and pathos to heal sick and dying patients. It’s a wonderful movie. The medical staff welcome his ways as they are well aware that some conditions can only be healed by love and compassion, and not by medical sciences. If you are a Robin Williams fan and haven’t seen this movie of his, you are just going to miss him even more.
The plot could have avoided a few characters as it drifts here and there. But, overall, it’s very entertaining and heartwarming to watch.
7 Coach Carter (2005)
Coach Carter isn’t about adoption of a child. It’s an adoption of a whole basketball team. Samuel L. Jackson is brilliant as Coach Carter. His responsibility? To coach a high school team full of talented but troubled players who have performance, discipline, academic and attitude issues. Though he rules with a stern hand, his intent his genuine and sincere. Slowly but surely, the team understands that he wants nothing but the best for them.
What follows is a beautiful relationship where Coach Carter goes from being hated to being loved.
8 42 (2013)
This is another rather unusual related movie we wanted to throw into the mix. 42 is about Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball or the MLB, in the United States. One way to look at this movie is to see a man adopt himself, to better himself, to come out winning, despite all odds. Set in 1947, racism in the USA is very prevalent. A black man is largely unaccepted in general society, let alone on a professional baseball field. But, when human will perseveres, big boundaries can be broken. Chadwick Boseman plays the iconic Jackie. It also features T.R. Knight and Harrison Ford in leading roles.
A great watch if you are looking for some feel good inspiration, much like what you found in Paper Lives.