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Dangerous Minds: Top 10 Instances of Telekinesis In The Movies

firestarterTelekinesis is arguably the most desirable of all superpowers—moving objects without lifting a finger would be both thrilling and a killer party trick. In movies, we’ve seen telekinetic characters get all kinds of creative with their skills, but we’ve also seen them experience some serious downsides. As one super-human learned the hard way, with great power comes great responsibility. Check out our list below for our top instances of telekinesis in the movies!

1. Carrie (1976 & 2013)
In both the 1976 original and the 2013 remake, teen outcast Carrie’s unbridled telekinesis is given the royal treatment onscreen. Audiences can delight in the powerful visuals—she may not have friends, but she can shatter mirrors and move furniture…with her mind! When researching for Carrie the novel, author Stephen King decided that should telekinesis ever exist, it would most likely manifest in pubescent girls—all those hormones! Although hormones don’t exactly equal emotional stability. Exhibit A: Carrie’s prom night.

2. Chronicle (2012)
In this shaky-cam thriller, it’s again high-school students who wield telekinesis—for better and for worse. At the start of Chronicle, a loner, his popular cousin and the school jock all gain special mind-moving powers when they discover a peculiar object in the woods. Wisely, the friends see their power as a muscle—something they must exercise in order to strengthen—and their workouts are stunning to watch. In a standout scene, the trio flies recklessly through an overcast Seattle sky.

3. Firestarter (1984)
Another Stephen King adaptation, another girl with telekinesis…more specifically, pyrokinesis—the ability to light fires with your mind. The bearer of this power is Charlie, a nine-year-old who spends the majority of the movie on the run from “The Shop,” a secret government agency that wants to harness her abilities as a weapon. Firestarter‘s a breathless ride from start to finish.

4. Hearts in Atlantis (2001)
When a strange older man arrives in a small town, it’s a precocious 11-year-old boy who sees through his anonymity—and discovers the psychic and telekinetic powers he’s hiding. The mysterious gentlemen, Ted, becomes a father figure to young Bobby, providing both life advice and the occasional psychic insight. This bittersweet coming-of-age drama splits its focus between Ted and Bobby’s life-changing bond and the “low-men” who seek to abduct Ted and harness his power. After Ted is captured, Bobby spends the rest of his life in gratitude for their meaningful relationship. How many people can say their childhood mentor had actual superpowers?

5. Looper (2012)
In the future world where Looper‘s set, there is a telekinetic minority who can move small objects with their minds. Time travel has also been invented, but it’s only used by crime syndicates who send assassins called “Loopers” into the past. It’s when one such looper, Joe, meets farm kid Cid that things get really interesting. Like the minority, Cid has telekinesis—except his powers are enormous. Knowing that Cid will go on to become a dangerous crime lord in the future, Joe must decide whether to protect him or to kill him—and stylish, slow-motion telekinetic violence ensues.

6. Matilda (1996)
This fantasy classic may take a child-friendly approach to special powers, but that doesn’t mean that adults won’t wish their first-grade class was rife with telekinetic hijinks. When girl-genius Matilda Wormwood realizes that she can move objects with her mind, she makes sure to practice and hone her skills (who could forget those flying cards and poker chips?) before attempting anything too heavy. Eventually, she relies on her powers to escape her neglectful parents and overthrow her school’s evil headmistress—finally a movie where telekinesis results in an indisputably happy ending!

7. Phenomenon (1996)
After George Malley encounters a mysterious UFO outside a bar, he ends up with a brain tumor—but one that stimulates cognitive activity, rather than destroys it. The good-hearted George finds he can suddenly retain vast amounts of knowledge and perform telekinesis, which fascinates his lover, friends and doctor. Eventually his brain-power starts to scare people and draw unwanted attention from the FBI, but not before George uses said abilities to spread love and wisdom around town.

8. Push (2009)
This thriller has all the classic elements of a superhero film—drug experiments gone awry, an ominous government agency and dangerous, untrained powers. A rag-tag group of super humans band together in order to take down the evil government agency that hunts them, learning how to use their different abilities together in order to fight as a team. Among them are “Movers,” a group of powerful telekinetics who can move both animate and inanimate objects. Fun perk: lead mover Nick Grant (Chris Evans) uses his skills to control dice—and make a killing when gambling.

9. X2: X-Men United (2003)
In this 2003 entry to the X-Men franchise, the original Marvel superhero team is again thrown into battle, using their often hard-to-control superpowers to defeat various forces trying to destroy them. It’s tough to be so special! Here, the telekinetic Jean Grey starts experiencing accelerated growth in her abilities now that Magneto’s machine has been destroyed. Add various love interests onto the list and Jean’s got a very full plate.

10. Zoom (2006)
When an original superhero group called “Zenith” was exposed to experimental radiation, the results were disastrous—one member, “Concussion,” became both evil and more powerful, an unfortunate combination that led to the murder of the rest of the group and his escape into another dimension. Decades later, Concussion is attempting to return, warranting the creation and training of a whole new crew of super-powered individuals, the highly telekinetic Summer Jones (Kate Mara) among them. While the new recruits may have struggled with their powers in their normal, everyday lives, they find amazing chemistry in each other—forming a badass, well-oiled team.

Haven’t gotten your fill of superpowers yet? Keep reading to find out how we rank every one of the Avengers movies.

Check out the on-air schedule for Firestarter on SundanceTV.