5 Life-Changing Animated Movies You Must Watch

By Vuthy Pisey


I believe that life is like a movie, where everyone has a specific role to play, challenges to encounter, enemies to defeat and moments to shine. That is why I enjoy watching movies or cartoons which allow me to experience different feelings, challenges, places and situations through the eyes of the characters. Be it a happy or sad ending, there are always valuable insights and knowledge we can gain from movies and use to reflect on our lives.

Today, I am going to share with you five life-changing movies which I have watched over and over again. These movies give me the inspiration, energy and spirit to change myself and life for the better, and I strongly hope that these movies can change yours, too.


‘The Croods’ is a comedy and adventure story about the survival of a caveman family in the prehistoric hunting and gathering era. To survive, the stern father and leader of the group, Grug, has developed a routine and principles which every member has to follow. For example, new things and curiosity are always bad and being afraid is good. So, the group has come to think that by hiding in a cave and following strict rules, they can survive.

However, the world is changing and new challenges require new techniques and rules to solve. As a result, Eep, the curious and brave daughter, has decided to get out of the cave and her overprotective family. In her exploration, she meets Guy, a revolutionary boy, who believes that only by adapting to changes and using new technology people can survive.

As an earthquake destroys their home, the family starts their adventure into the outside world. There, they meet new challenges, experience new places and things, and learn to face the world’s changes with positivity instead of scepticism. If you want to know what they have gone through and the result of their adventure, don’t forget to check it out.

What to Expect?

In the Croods, you can expect to:

  • Learn hilarious but practical techniques to survive in the prehistoric era
  • Be touched by warmth, sacrifice and strong bond of family
  • Realize that advising is always caring but caring is not always a good thing
  • Accept that change is unavoidable but it is not as scary as not being able to change
  • Agree that escaping or hiding is never a solution to a problem but creativity and innovation are.



‘Moana’ is the life journey of a strong-willed and brave girl who leaves her island to accomplish the nearly-impossible mission to save her tribe from the evils of a dark monster.

Despite living by the ocean, Moana and her tribe are not allowed to sail their boats or swim behind the shore. Rumor has it, if they do, they will face great danger and destruction. The belief that a curse was put on the island by the goddess Te Fiti who brought life to the ocean using a special stone as her heart and source of power, was passed on over generations. However, the stone was stolen by a shapeshifting demigod—half-god, half-human—named Maui.

Moana is struggling to decide between being the chief of her tribe or sailing onto the ocean where she feels she belongs. When she is chosen by the ocean to save the island from growing danger, Moana decides to follow her heart and go on a journey to find Maui who has the power to restore the heart of Te Fiti to its original place and lift the the curse off the island.

What to Expect?

In Moana, you can expect to:

  • Believe that you are the hero of your own life and no one else;
  • Be inspired to listen to your inner voice and follow your heart;
  • Treat life as a journey not a destination; ;
  • Never underestimate how capable and powerful you are;;
  • Put yourself in other’s shoes;
  • Learn to love and forgive unconditionally.



As a kid, did you ever imagine that some monsters or terrifying creatures would come out from your bedside drawer at night while you were sleeping? If the answer is yes, you absolutely have to watch Monster University and see your wild imagination come to life in this amazing story.

Monsters University is the thrilling story about how a monster becomes the best “Scarer” through a graduate program at Monsters University. The story depicts the effort, hard work and determination of Mike Wazowki, who aims to be the scariest monster, but suffers a lot of hardships due to his cute and friendly appearance, while monsters are typically supposed to look terrifying and horrible.

To prove himself as a scarer, Mike enters a competition to scare a baby in the human world but found himself in a cabin full of children and got trapped. Meanwhile, Sulley, despite being Mike’s rival at first in the competition, jumps in to rescue Mike. Mike and Sulley need to work together to scare people, so they can generate enough power to open the door and get back to the monster world. They start to become best friends and develop the profound skills to be the scariest monsters. If you want to know more about what inspires Mike to become the best scarer, you can also check out Monsters Inc., movie.

What to Expect?

Since Monster University is fantasy movie, you can get most of the wild imagination to come to life and expect to:

  • Learn how to make new friends and look at your rivals differently
  • Understand the importance of friendship and helping each other
  • Be inspired to become whoever you dream to be
  • Believe in  teamwork
  • Agree that practice makes perfect and continuous hard work will pay off



Inside Out is one of the best animated stories about real life, acting as a mirror to show how our emotions affect our daily life. In the movie, the five main characters — Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust— control and affect Riley, a little girl who recently moved to a new city, in her decision-making and memory process.

Each of these characters takes turns to be in charge of Riley’s emotional state and personality, impacting  her daily activities and life. For example, when sadness and fear take charge, Riley becomes isolated from her family and friends. When joy takes charge, Riley becomes happy yet has no idea what to achieve in her life, since everything seems to be good already.

As the five characters have different motivations and beliefs, this creates a lot of conflict, complications and challenges for Riley. To resolve the problem, the five characters have to work together and find a way to live in harmony so that  Riley can have a meaningful and peaceful life.

What to Expect?

Inside out is an emotional and creative animated movie that exposes you to the mixed feelings and experiences of being a person. You can expect to:

  • Realize that each of your emotions —sad, fear, anger, happy, disgust—has its specific role and time to play
  • As a human being, you cannot live without any one of these emotions, but you can learn how to live with these emotions peacefully—in other words, know when and how to use and control each emotion
  • Believe that you are the master of your own emotions and no one can control or affect your emotions unless you allow them to


If you are struggling to decide whether to follow your dream or your family’s, I strongly recommend you to watch ‘Coco’.

Coco is an  animated musical movie that tells the journey of a young boy named Coco who has a dream to become a popular musician just like his great-grandfather. Unfortunately, his family does not allow him to play any kind of music. Still, Coco chooses to follow his dream, despite its difficulties..

To uncover his family’s history of banning music, COCO enters the world of the dead where he has a mission to convince his dead family to love music again and so they allow him to become a musician in the living world. There, he discovers the misunderstanding between his great grandmother and father, and learns about his great grandfather’s journey to become a musician and the importance of family. Want to know what he has encountered, click here to see the awesome movie.

What to Expect?

Watching Coco and putting yourself in his shoes, you can expect to:

  • Be inspired to believe in yourself and follow your dream despite all the odds, especially your family’s disapproval
  • Feel the blessing, warmth and sacrifice family makes for each other
  • Be moved (to tears) and filled with joy by the touching songs Coco sings from his heart
  • See and believe things from a deeper understanding rather than just judging on the surface

They say that life is like a movie, and it’s true.  There will be ups and downs, good and bad people, happy and sad moments in our life, just as in the movies. However, characters in the movies are not real, while we have every right and capability to draft, edit and create our own story.

So, be a good writer of your life and miracles can happen. Have you ever watched any movies that inspired your life? Let us hear what your favorite movies are!


Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.



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