10 Films That Brilliantly Nailed Topical Issues

We're celebrating the films that addressed topical issues with intelligence and honesty.

Invisible Man
Universal Pictures

The challenge of addressing a topical issue and doing it justice is just about the toughest job out there for writers and producers. This is only amplified in our modern times with the ideological divide growing more each day, with the challenge of addressing an issue without being perceived as either a 'sexist' or being too 'woke' seeming like an impossible task. One only has to look at Twitter or a comments section of any article to see how much anger a 'wrong' opinion can have.

Despite this, there have been a number of directors who have produced films that have managed to tackle these sensitive topics in a manner that didn't patronise its audience while daring to have a point of view. The list isn't limited to more recent films either, with entries from the '00s and last century included here too.

The films here are from a variety of genres and don't necessarily have the topical issue engrained in the plot. Instead, they display intelligence, honesty and a no BS factor in addressing the more topical aspects of their film.

So let's reflect on those films that dared to have something to say in an intellectual and non-judgmental fashion.

10. Love, Actually

Invisible Man

There have been some excellent films depicting the events of 9/11, most notably the brilliant United 93. That Paul Greengrass feature took us inside various locations on the day of the attacks, including headquarters for the FAA and military, as well as inside the doomed aircraft, giving the audience an 'insider's perspective' of how events unfolded and decisions were made.

While United 93 may be one of the best films to address the events of the tragic day, one film that brilliantly considered the aftermath of the event came from the last genre you'd expect. Richard Curtis' 2003 film Love, Actually may seem like just another entry in the rom-com genre at first glance, but its brilliance was in helping everyone to move forward from that tragic day.

The film is actually a truly beautiful look at humanity, examining that rather than everyone being full of hate, we are actually full of love. Hugh Grant, who plays an otherwise caricature version of a British PM, delivers one of cinema's greatest speeches in a heartwarming pre credit sequence. Streams of footage of Heathrow customers welcoming loved ones back is matched by Grant's stoic delivery that love, actually, is all around us.

To tell people that there is hope and love in the world is a great message that is well delivered here. But reclaiming the very place the terrorists turned into a weapon, an airport, and emphasising that this is somewhere where love blossoms, is truly remarkable.


While he likes to know himself as the 'thunder from down under', Luke is actually just a big dork who loves all things sport, film, James Bond, Doctor Who and Karaoke. With all the suave and sophistication of any Aussie half way through a slab, Luke will critique every minute detail of films and shows from all eras- unless it's 1990's Simpsons episodes, because they're just perfect