Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Xenodochy - kindness

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...

Xenodochy - kindness

Image from

According to one definition (found here) xenodochy is "an attitude of kindness to strangers." 
We scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested. (Martin Seligman)

Ah, kindness. What a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world. (Alison Malee)
Being friendly to strangers is certainly an act of kindness, and that made me think of something I posted in 2017. I'm re-posting part of it here:

Friendly encounters with strangers lift my spirits. Such as when a woman in Italy showed me how to work the laundromat washer, and a gentleman who observed me gazing at a scenic landscape, stood beside me and expressed, "Bellissimo. Bellissimo."

I am grateful for friendly tall grocery shoppers who hand me items from the top shelf. And for the woman on the hospital elevator who held the door for me, suspecting, in my distraught state, I had gotten off on the wrong floor. She was right. And kind.

So, I feel a tender spot for friendly movie characters who reach out to strangers in their time of need. Often, their kindness has far reaching effects like when little Jenny offers Forrest a seat next to her on the school bus (Forrest Gump1994), or when Sister Husband (Stockard Channing) invites Novalee (Natalie Portman), a teenager with a newborn, to stay with her (Where the Heart Is, 2000).

But not all friendliness or kindness are the grand acts. Sometimes there's a friendly character in a minor role, like Marshall (Ossie Davis), a chauffeur who helps Joe (Tom Hanks) select clothes (Joe Versus the Volcano, 1990), or Sara's (Eva Mendes) nice boss, Max (Adam Arkin) in Hitch (2005).

Let's not forget the background extras, either... the waitress, cab driver, doorman, passenger on the train, pedestrian. Since the camera's focus is on the main action, it's easy to overlook what's going on around the main characters.

(I've been an "extra" in several movies... there are lots of friendly and kind acts going on in the background that usually go unnoticed while watching the film.)

When I consider movies reflecting kindness, these come to mind:

Which movie(s) would you add? Can you recall a time you were treated kindly by a stranger? 

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)


  1. I am a big fan of animated and childen's movies so I would say
    I add all of the above movies to watch later list since I haven't seen them.

    1. I hope you enjoy the movies when you get a chance to see them!

  2. Great post, and I love this word! sometimes being kind is also a matter of education ;) I enjoyed a lot Pay it Forward.

    1. I was so glad to find this word. I had originally planned to use Kindness for the letter K, until I came across Xendochy.

  3. Good 'X' word, I did not know that one!

    1. I didn't know that word either until I searched for words starting with X that might have a meaning that would fit my theme of human needs. This one was perfect!

  4. We just had an experience with kindness yesterday! My friend and I were picking up groceries for my Dad who just got back from Florida. When we were at the checkout, I realized we forgot to get milk but I said we'd just grab it another time. The checkout clerk said no worries - he'd grab one for us and he did. It was so kind and unexpected.

    In this case, we were the recipients but I also love to find ways to give acts of kindness too. It's a way to bring happiness into our lives.

    Weekends In Maine

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience with the kind clerk. It brightens my day just thinking about it!

  5. I often tell my husband that it's his kindness that attracted me to him. The kindness of strangers, I think, is the thing that hope in humanity rests on.
    I've written about a few such encounters during this year's A to Z. Sharing one of them here:
    I haven't come across this X word before. I like it:)

    1. Such a sweet thing to say about your husband... that his kindness attracted you to him!

      I went to the link you included with your comment... what a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing that!

  6. Benny & Joon springs to mind.
    I saved a stranger once, from his point of view. Technically I was helping the animal that was attacking him. I knew which one was in real danger. But whatever. Everyone lived that day, that's what matters.

    I love letter X posts! Always such variety.
    It's hard to believe the alphabet part of the blogging challenge is over for 2021. Down to the after survey, reflections, and the road trip sign-up.
    Plus, I'm taking part in the Bout of Books read-a-thon in May. So much excitement!
    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

    1. I haven't seen Benny & Joon in a long time. I'm going to add that to my "want to see again" list. Thanks for adding that one!

      "I saved a stranger once, from his point of view." That made me chuckle a bit, but I like that reminder that it's all a matter of perspective.

      It seems like April flew by, and as usual, my head is spinning with ideas... and fatigue. Thanks for all your hard work with the A to Z Challenge!

  7. Xenodochy? Who would have guessed? Thanks for finding this word! In the movie "Redwood Highway," Marie meets many strangers who are kind to her as she walks 80 miles to the Oregon coast. Lovely story.

    1. I was happy to find an X word that fit with my theme this year!

      It's amazing how many movies I've never heard of or somehow slipped by me unnoticed. I just now looked up Redwood Highway and watched the trailer, now I'm adding it to my list of movies I want to see. Thanks!