Science-Fiction Movies/Series that are Bound to Make you Think (part 1)

Updated: May 28

Science-fiction movies are a great genre to strengthen your critical-thinking skills. Get ready to be mind-blown, shocked, and even amazed at what our future may or may not hold. These 8 science-fiction movies/series have made it to our first list of movies/series that are bound to make you think. They circle around some of the most important issues of our time - from privacy and security, to cloning, manipulating the brain, developing relationships with technology and more. To stimulate your curiosity, we've left some food-for-thought to accompany each movie/series!


1. The One (2021)

A Netflix series full of breaches of scientific integrity, unethical practices and more (get ready for some D.R.A.M.A.) when two researchers discover a way to make use of DNA to find "the perfect match" - aka The 2.0 version of Tinder.


Food-for-thought:

  • Are genetic companies supposed to disclose incidental findings to their customers?

  • Do genetic companies have a duty to share their DNA database with researchers/clinicians to find cures for debilitating diseases?

  • How can we avoid having companies making false claims and creating hype over a technology or service?



2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

When we talk romance, we are bound to talk about heartbreak. In this movie, after going through an awful breakup, Joel and Clementine decide to undergo a medical procedure to erase memories of each other - aka the 2.0 version of burning your ex's belongings?


Food-for-thought:

  • Our past makes us who we are. When we delete particular memories of our past (persons, events, etc.), what does that make us? Can we tailor with our past memories to control who we will become?

  • In the case of a traumatic experience, will erasing certain memories of the trauma be considered ethical or even desirable?



3. GATTACCA (1997)

In this old sci-fi movie, Vincent - who was born genetically inferior - fools the system by taking on the identity of a genetically superior individual to fulfill his dream of becoming an astronaut. Nothing could stop him, not even his length!


Food-for-thought:

  • As we move towards a world where deciphering our genome is becoming easier and more accurate with the days, how can we ensure we do not become dictated by genetic determinism?

  • How can we make use of genetic information without falling into traps of eugenic, racism, and other scientific-informed societal malpractices?



4. Black Mirror (2011)

Black Mirror is a Netflix series where each episode showcases a technology manifesting into a true nightmare. It's dark, it feels very real, and makes you want to throw every screen you own out the window. This thought-provoking series raises ethical, legal, and societal implications of emerging technologies, leaving you with the feeling that there is still time to make things right.


Food-for-thought:

  • Do we truly have control over how technologies will manifest in the future?

  • What kind of relationship do we envision us (humans) having with future technologies?

  • How can we consider the ethical and societal implications of technologies when we cannot imagine all possible scenarios?



5. The Island (2005)

The Island, is a movie centered on cloning "rich" individuals that live in the outside world, and which can eventually make use of their clones if they are to ever fall ill and require organ transplantation. The clones are isolated in a far away place, and things start to escalate when McGregor (one of the clones) starts questioning his reality, exposing this illegal practice.


Food-for-thought:

  • How can we avoid technologies to cause a divide between socio-economic classes?

  • How can we protect individuals against scientific/clinical malpractices?



6. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

After lying in a coma for a very long time, the parents of Martin decide to purchase a human child robot to replace the loss they have endured. David - a highly intelligent child robot - develops a strong attachment to his human mother and is eager to become "real" to regain her love.


Food-for-thought:

  • Do we humans have obligations to highly advanced robots that we ourselves have created?

  • What relationship do we envision having with robots in the future and where do we draw the line?

  • Are we, the creators of highly advanced and intelligent robots, required to grant robots rights?



7. The Circle (2017)

After getting her dream job in a leading tech company, Mae exposes the company's true agenda and its impact on millions of people. She is put under the spotlight, her personal life is exposed, and her right to privacy, violated.


Food-for-thought:

  • How much power are WE giving big tech companies?

  • How can we benefit from technology without jeopardizing our privacy and security?

  • Who owns our data and what is being done with it?

  • How can we take back control over our use of technology (e.g. smartphones)



8. Her (2013)

Theodore, a writer suffering from loneliness after going through a breakup, develops an odd relationship with a virtual assistant designed to please him. Experiencing mixed feelings of love, happiness, understanding, and acceptance, he ends up being deceived knowing their relationship is not one of its kind.


Food-for-thought:

  • Can we develop a relationship with certain technologies (e.g. robots, smartphones...)?

  • Can technologies substitute for human social contact?

  • What will our societies look like if our relationships with technology become dependable?

  • Can technology truly serve as a quick fix for human problems such as loneliness, depression, etc.