Updated: September 18, 2021

These movies, where real estate and homeownership are central themes, can serve as great sources of inspiration and warnings for both current and future homeowners.


 

Still Mine

Still Mine chronicles a tough-as-nails elderly farmer-rancher as he fights local authorities to get an aging-in-place, dementia-friendly home built for his terminally ill wife in New Brunswick, Canada. Based on a true story.

Why It’s Worth Watching

Though building permits, property taxes and liens are all serious business, Still Mine gives homeowners a healthy and escapist outlet to root for someone who is willing to go toe-to-toe against local bureaucrats. It is fulfilling to watch someone who is so determined and relentless in his dogged pursuit to take care of his wife.

Themes: True Story; Loyalty; Aging in Place; Perseverance; Resourcefulness; Land; Marriage; Permits; Farming; Bureaucracy; Canada


 

Herself

Herself is another movie involving a fearless protagonist who refuses to give up on her pursuit to build a safe house for herself and two young daughters. The lead character simultaneously battles an abusive, soon-to-be ex-husband and a nonsensical housing authority, while building loyal friendships that come to her aid. Though not based on a true story, the movie presents similar circumstances facing many women in Ireland and other parts of the world.

Why It’s Worth Watching

This movie is pure inspiration and implores you to never give up on your dreams to have a home for you and your family. When obstacles may seem insurmountable, it is time to think creatively and act bravely!

Themes: Perseverance; Community Support; Resourcefulness; Backyard Housing; Ireland; Affordable Housing; DIY Building; Tiny Houses


 

Parasite

As Parasite is considered to be a highly original thriller, there is a lot to observe and decipher throughout the movie, justifying multiple viewings for curious cinephiles. Though the movie expertly portrays fluid and spontaneous interactions between the members of two families of polar opposite economic stations (wealthy homeowners & domestic workers), we find the role of the luxury modern home of the wealthy Park family most intriguing. Any other set design would have made this movie less interesting and not as good.

Why It’s Worth Watching

Besides enjoying the movie on its surface for its interesting plot and perfectly chosen cast, we recommend studying the following: the spaciousness and cold atmosphere of the Park house; the naivety of how the affluent Park family manage their house and coddle their children; and how intimately and highly synchronized the members of the Kim family are, in order to survive together on a daily basis.

Themes: Luxury Homes; Class Warfare; Class Envy; Affordable Housing; Home Security; Interior Design; Architecture; Families; Domestic Help; Korean


 

Pacific Heights

Though Pacific Heights was a highly original thriller when first released in 1990, its plot remains highly relevant and pertinent to today’s market of independently leased properties. The simple premise is a couple renovates a large newly purchased older home that pushes their budget to a level where they must quickly rent out a portion of the home to a stranger.

Why It’s Worth Watching

Beyond an interesting plot with scenes of San Francisco and a masterful performance by Michael Keaton, this movie presents entertaining lessons on what not to do when vetting or managing a tenant. You might be able to play a drinking game of imbibing whenever the homeowners do something “you wouldn’t do”.

Themes: Landlords; Tenants; Tenant Screening; San Francisco; Home Security; Fixer Uppers; Real Estate; Historic Homes


 

Poltergeist

The classic paranormal thriller Poltergeist depicts the creepy and surreal experiences of a family that moves into a new house in a new town, signaling all the signs of an entrenched haunting.

Why It’s Worth Watching

Besides learning the cultural relevance of the quote “They’re here” and experiencing several creatively unnerving “inside-the-home” scenes, Poltergeist is an entertaining reminder to always conduct thorough due diligence on any home you are considering purchasing, as well as its neighborhood.

Themes: New Homeowners; Hauntings; Paranormal; Neighborhood Research; Real Estate; HOA Communities; Residential Development; Residential Communities; Families; California


 

The Big Short

The Big Short is the true story about a group of daring, insightful, “against-the-grain” investors who place huge bets against the US mortgage banking market during 2006 and 2007, prior to the bursting of the US housing bubble in 2007 and 2008.

Why It’s Worth Watching

A lot of helpful banking concepts can be learned from this movie, with its use of unconventional, pseudo-documentary cameo inserts that explain topics like subprime mortgages and synthetic collateralized debt obligations. The Big Short, based on the book of the same name written by Michael Lewis, is another invaluable example of a historic investing bubble that was fueled by the greed not just of corporations and bankers, but by virtually everyone!

Themes: Home Buying; Banking; Mortgage Industry; Greed; Homeownership; Investment Banking; Corruption; Wall Street; Investing


 

Minari

Minari is the story of a Korean-American family that moves from California to Arkansas in the 1980s to start a farm, based loosely on the childhood of the film’s director and writer, Lee Isaac Chung. The film’s title is fittingly named after the Korean herb minari, which is distinctly Korean and has the ability to flourish, like a weed, wherever it is planted.

Why It’s Worth Watching

Minari can serve as inspiration for others who are also dreaming about having their own farm someday.

Themes: Resilience; Starting Over; Family; Family Businesses; Farming; Home Businesses; Immigrant Experiences; Multigenerational Living; American Dream; Korean


 

House of Sand and Fog

House of Sand and Fog involves the battle of two passionate parties fighting over a home that each believes is rightfully theirs. One person inherited the home from her father, but was delinquent on back taxes. The other party is a proud immigrant pursuing his American dream for his family having purchased the home through a foreclosure auction.

Why It’s Worth Watching

Though this is undeniably a sad and depressing movie, the acting performances give a poignant reminder of how important a connection to one’s home is, both emotionally and financially.

Themes: Real Estate; Foreclosure; Property Taxes; Inheritance; Legal Battles; American Dream


 

99 Homes

99 Homes is the story of a recently unemployed, single father who struggles to regain his foreclosed home by succumbing to working for the real estate broker, causing his situation. This is a gritty movie that does not shy away from moral dilemmas and hypocrisy.

Why It’s Worth Watching

99 Homes provides inspirational reminders: that one’s situation can always be worse; that sometimes you have to swallow your pride painfully; and that making a living does not excuse oneself from being a decent human being.

Themes: Real Estate; Foreclosure; Property Taxes; Legal Battles


 

Glengarry Glen Ross

Glengarry Glen Ross is described on IMDB as “an examination of the machinations behind the scenes at a real estate office”, certainly accurate, but much too clinical. We prefer to summarize the movie as a riveting depiction of a duplicitous, cutthroat real estate office over the course of two days. The film marries a brilliant script, by David Mamet, with a hall-of-fame cast that brings a non-stop dreary office setting to life.

Why It’s Worth Watching

GGR contains a couple of important cultural references to learn: “ABC: Always Be Closing” and “Coffee’s for closers”. In addition, the relentless, combative dialog and depressing office environment provides three invaluable and stark reminders: 1) you never want to work at a firm like GGR; and 2) you never want to take a call from a firm like GGR; and 3) be weary of anyone trying to sell you out-of-state real estate sight-unseen.

Themes: Real Estate; Foreclosure; Property Taxes; Legal Battles


 

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