WeLoveCinema’s Feelgood Film Guide

We asked our in-house team and our regular contributors to name the uplifting movies they return to in troubled times

When the world suddenly seems like an unpredictable place, it's important to find comfort in the familiar. Movies, of course, perhaps more than any other art form, have the power to comfort us. And everyone has those films, of course – films they return to, time and time again, to inspire them, lift their spirits, and make them feel whole again. Right now, great films might be more important than ever.

In response to what's happening in the world right now, we asked our in-house team and our regular contributors to recommend some of their favourite feelgood films. Films they'll be turning to – and also recommend – in uncertain times such as these…

 

Juan Barreda, Founder

The Intouchables

This very funny and very touching film finds its drama in the unlikely pairing of its leads, a rich quadriplegic and his care worker, played by François Cluzet and Omar Sy respectively. Their buddy chemistry becomes a tribute to la joie de vivre, resulting in a truly feelgood film that never gets old. JB

 

Loose Cannons

This playful Italian comedy is definitely silly, but it also never fails to put me in a good mood. Tomasso (Riccardo Scamarcio) plays a son in a large Italian family whose attempts to come out during a family gathering go very wrong indeed. It's nicely acted, not to mention gorgeous to look at, and holds up brilliantly on repeat viewings. Definitely an underrated little movie that deserves a bit more attention. JB

 

Little Miss Sunshine

One of the great films about a dysfunctional family, Little Miss Sunshine features an all star cast (Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin) and tells the story of the Hoovers, who set out on a madcap mission to get their youngest daughter to a beauty pageant. Sad in places, but ultimately life-affirming, it never fails to make me feel good. And the family are an incredibly relatable bunch. JB.

 

Tom Barnard, Editor

Lost in Translation

The main complaint that people tend to throw at Lost in Translation is that “nothing happens,” as though that's a bad thing. Yet, to me, that's precisely what makes this hazy, neon dream of a film so appealing: it's like taking a holiday to visit old friends, drinking in dimly-lit hotel bars and eating out in cosy restaurants. The atmosphere of Coppola's film, bolstered by its eclectic soundtrack, make for a truly intoxicating experience; Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson are a flawlessly cast pair in one of cinema's most subtle romances. To awkwardly paraphrase the film: for relaxing times, make it Lost in Translation time. TB

 

Spirited Away

There's a concept that's more common in Japanese cinema, known as “Ma,” denoting those quiet, thoughtful moments where a film just stops and a small, seemingly unremarkable or banal detail is emphasised: a cloud moving in the sky, perhaps, or water trickling over a rock. Hayao Miyazaki's unquestionable masterpiece, Spirited Away, is a film of “Ma” moments, and a work of utter escapism. Every scene transports you to another world. Miyazaki's gift is that he makes it nearly impossible to think about anything other than Chihiro's quest from the very first frame. TB

 

Stop Making Sense

It's become a bit of a cliche to say that Jonathan Demme's Talking Heads concert film is a “perfect film.” Then you sit down to watch it and quickly realise there's really no other way to describe its particular brand of joyful comfort. A purely blissful and untainted experience, it's like watching humanity at its best play out across ninety gorgeous minutes. Each song is perfectly sung and staged, whilst David Byrne's extended scene of lamp dancing marks a high point for our species at large. When the world stops making sense, Stop Making Sense, paradoxically, seems to make more sense than ever. TB

 

Jack Martin, Content Manager

Back to the Future

Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd can do no wrong in this genre-defying adventure that never loses it appeal, no matter how many times you watch it. Fox is Marty McFly, a teenager who accidentally goes back in time to 1955 and stops his parents meeting, thus threatening his own existence. Fun-filled action, lovable characters, endlessly quotable dialogue, and that unforgettable Alan Silvestri score. How can anyone not feel good when watching this? JM

 

Mad Max: Fury Road

George Miller returned with the fourth instalment in the Mad Max franchise, but no Mel Gibson in sight. Instead he cast Tom Hardy as the titular hero, who spends most of the movie at the mercy of Charlize Theron's one-armed badass Furiosa. Definitely one of one of the best action movies of all time, its characters, visuals, dialogue, and stunning set-pieces never fail to make me cheer every time I sit down to watch it. JM

 

The Peanut Butter Falcon

Has Shia LaBeouf ever been as likeable as he is here? This is a heartwarming spin on the classic Mark Twain adventure, made great by the beautiful bond between LaBeouf and actor Zack Gottsagen. Its zany plot (a young man escapes from a care home to track down a legendary wrestling school) is mere window dressing for the the brilliant chemistry that makes this so hard to resist. JM

Liam Moody, Developer

The Jungle Book

It's a childhood favourite, of course, but I also consider this animated adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic to be an adult necessity, too. The songs are all amazing, and has there ever been an animated bear quite as good as Baloo? (sorry, Winnie). LM

 

Groundhog Day

Years later, this classic Bill Murray comedy still feels like a perfect film. Apt that its brilliantly original story of a grouchy weatherman being forced to repeat the same day over and over again can also be can enjoyed over and over again. LM

 

The Pursuit of Happyness

A down-on-his luck dad sets out to make a better life for him and his child. Based on a true story, and starring Will Smith and his (then) adorable son Jaden Smith, this is as feelgood as feelgood movies come, bolstered by the undeniable chemistry shared between its central duo. LM

 

Jack Blackwell, Contributor

The Simpsons Movie

A healthy double dose of nostalgia. Not only does any rewatch of The Simpsons Movie instantly transport me back to the carefree days of the 2007 summer, but it’s a much needed reminder of how truly great its parent show once was. You’ll laugh at the silly jokes you remember, and then laugh some more at the subtler ones you forgot. There couldn’t be a better way to spend an isolated afternoon. JB

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The best entry of the series (books and films) that defined millions of childhoods. The third Harry Potter is a movie you most likely know back to front, from the Dementor attack on the Hogwarts Express to the werewolf encounter near the end that remains one of my most memorable cinematic scares. Azkaban is a little darker and less festive than either of its predecessors, but is far, far better and retains most of that warm glow that makes the earlier entries in the series so comforting. JB

 

The Nice Guys

Certainly more violent and sweary than most “feelgood” films, Shane Black’s comic masterpiece is my go-to rainy day watch. It’s hilarious throughout and has the sort of hazy noir storytelling that’s satisfying to watch unfold regardless of how much attention you’re paying to the plot. The heart of The Nice Guys, though, is the buddy dynamic between its two gumshoe leads, played to perfection by Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. No matter how many times you’ve seen it, their burgeoning friendship is always heartwarming, helped along by a raft of brilliant jokes and breathless set-pieces. JB

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Monsoon review – quiet and contemplative journey to Vietnam

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