Films and Re-entry

I’m always fascinated when I find films that portray re-entry or relocation in some sort of way. Have you ever watched something then realised that the film-maker has nailed it? They’ve caught one of those moments that takes you right back into your own world. They always make me cry. Goodbyes and hellos in films seem to have that effect. I guess it’s a consequence of having had to say so many of our own.

films and re-entry

So this blog will be a little bit different – I’m going to list a few of my favourite moments in films. See what you think. Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments at the bottom!

*** Spoiler alert*** If you haven’t watched one of these films and want to, it may be worth skipping the embedded clip and watching the whole film for yourself!!


Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)

I used this clip in one of my first webinars: Have a watch of it until about 2 minutes in.

You can see: their initial excitement and pride at being back home, having accomplished what they have; the reaction of others that have stayed; their bewilderment at being back in their ‘familiar’ surroundings; their determination to make the best of it.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)

My children still love the song “The Call.” What strikes me here is the suddenness of the change. At least the hobbits had a long journey to think about what they had been through and what they are returning to.

The children (who were kings and queens in Narnia – they had status and role) walk straight back into something totally different (wartime Britain – where they are once again ‘just’ children). Yes it’s what they left before their “adventure” and therefore it’s familiar, but in other ways it is utterly foreign and a massive shock.

Inside Out (2015)

This film is about relocation and the emotions that go with it, and it’s beautifully put together. The first time I saw it I cried practically all the way through. There’s many clips I could post, but I’m going to choose one about sadness.

One of the really important things we need to do in re-entry is grieve for our life abroad. Not pretend it’s not there, but really feel the sadness of leaving it behind. Riley learns in this clip that it’s ok to feel that grief and it helps the re-building process.

The Karate Kid (2010)

Again, many scenes in this film resonate, but especially the one where the main character, Dre, expresses that his new “home” is not home. He wants to go home. His mum can’t do anything but listen and reiterate that “this is home.” It feels like that in re-entry at times – it’s not home, and yet this is what is.

Castaway (2000)

All of the ‘returning’ scenes in this film are good, and it is used to good effect by Melissa Chaplin as a re-entry metaphor in her book, Returning Well. I have embedded the ending scene here, when Chuck Noland is trying to decide which way to go after returning home. Re-entry can often feel like that – too many options.

Another good scene is when he is talking for the first time with his fiancee. Instead of trying to explain his own story, he enters the American world of baseball teams in order to make conversation easier.

Other Films

I’m sure there are other films. My children tell me there is a scene at the end of Avengers Endgame (2019) where Spiderman returns home. Another film I have found remarkable was Lion (2016). Which others would you add to the list? What are your must-sees for someone who has lived overseas?

If you feel grief after watching any of these clips, and would value talking something through / debriefing, please do get in touch.

29th May 2019