It’s been a tough few weeks. It’s time to feel better. What better way to do that than by watching a heart-warming movie? Films that will inspire you, move you, or just make you laugh out loud.
Here we have gathered together a selection of movies guaranteed to make you forget your troubles. So just sit back with some popcorn, and a box of tissues, and start to feel better.
Probably the happiest film in world, Audrey Tautou plays Amélie, a lonely Parisian waitress who decides that she will make those around her happy. Amélie has a vivid imagination, and manages to find happiness in everything.
When she finds an old box with a child’s treasures in she decides to return it to its owner, and makes herself a promise. If the return of the box makes him happy, she will spend her life bringing happiness to others.
Not only does the box make him happy, though, it makes him want to be a better person and make others happy too. And so the happiness spreads . . . like a virus. (No, we’re not going there.)
Amélie isn’t just a happy film. It’s a beautiful film, too. Watch it.
9 As Good As It Gets
As Good As It Gets stars Jack Nicholson, which is probably reason enough to watch it. He plays Melvin, a curmudgeonly writer with OCD/ASD tendencies, who likes to be served by his regular waitress, Carol, played by Helen Hunt. Is that too much to ask? Well, Carol thinks so. She has other priorities.
As Good As it Gets is essentially a road trip movie, with Jackson as a misanthropic writer who cannot stand change, Hunt as a waitress whose son is chronically ill and Greg Kinnear as Nicholson’s neighbor whose life is falling apart.
The plot, however, is largely immaterial. The joy of this film is in the relationship between Melvin and carol, and in Kinnear’s glorious performance as an artist with money issues (among other things).
The film is funny but also honest. Carol refuses to allow Melvin to hide behind his mental health problems, and insists that he is accountable for his actions, which are usually thoughtless and occasionally cruel. And Nicholson learns to be a better man.
Probably Pixar’s finest film, Up is the story of a friendship between a lonely old man and an eager boy scout. The old man, voiced by Ed Asner, is about to fulfill his dream to visit South America when a boy scout, Jordan Nagai, knocks at his door, eager trying to earn his Assisting the Elderly badge.
Up is too good to be just a kids film. It is a movie about loneliness, unfulfilled dreams, and the paralyzing power of grief, which, on the face of it, doesn’t sound too cheerful. But it is also about love and friendship, and awesome bucket lists. There are more than a few surreal moments, but the themes of friendship and fulfillment are beautifully handled.
Asner’s character is said to be modeled on Spencer Tracy in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and he has just the right amount of grumpiness disguising his broken heart. The movie won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and it remains one of Pixar’s most loved films.
7 Edward Scissorhands
Edward Scissorhands is a Christmas fairy tale, that isn’t just for Christmas. The story of a beautiful relationship between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton—I mean Edward Scissorhands and Kim, as played by Winona Ryder—the movie has a beautiful fairy tale feel to it.
Edward is a kind of Frankenstein creature, made by his creator, played by Vincent Price, who runs out of time before he can make the hands, leaving Edward with only a selection of scissors for hands. Which is the sort of thing that can isolate a kid.
Like all the best fairy tales, Edward Scissorhands is a little bit dark, but it is also beautifully poignant. Depp is fantastic, Ryder is bearable, and Diane West as Kim’s mother is sublime. Edward Scissorhands is a film about belonging, and not belonging, and a cautionary tale that the crazies are not always the ones with scissors for hands.
Best scene in the movie – Diane West, who has a side job as an Avon lady, trying to cover up Edward’s scars with foundation. And we blend and blend and blend.
6 Mrs Doubtfire
A movie about a man losing custody of his children doesn’t sound like a feel-good movie, but it is. Robin Williams stars as the irresponsible father, and Sally Fields plays his wife, who has had enough of being the only adult in the marriage.
The reasons why Robin Williams has to dress as an elderly Scottish (or possibly Irish, the accent wavers a bit) woman are unclear, and who cares anyway. Just be glad that he does, because the film is a joy to watch.
The movie also features Mara Wilson, the child star with the cutest lisp in the world, in her first role, as William’s youngest daughter. The film is about the importance of family, in all its forms, and about taking responsibility. It’s also about Robin Williams doing silly voices in a wig.
Best scene in the movie is, undoubtedly, Williams’ dancing to Dude Looks Like a Lady, but let’s also give a shout out to that time he lobs fruit at the back of Pierce Brosnan’s head. Who hasn’t wanted to do that?
5 Dead Poets Society
The ultimate sappy teenage movie, Dead Poets Society can still bring a tear to the eye of any adult. You only need to whisper the words, O Captain! My Captain! and strong men, (and stronger women), will weep.
Also starring Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society is a coming of age movie, with added poetry. Who doesn’t want to see that? Thankfully though, it’s not just about the poems. Or the teenagers either. It’s about inspiration. And beauty. And letting yourself feel your emotions. It’s about friendship, and making your lives extraordinary. And, yes, it’s about poetry too.
So, what are you waiting for? Carpe Diem, and watch it now.
4 A Night At the Opera
Guaranteed to cheer you up if you are feeling blue, A Night At the Opera, is a Marx Brothers classic.
If you can’t find this movie, almost any Marx Brothers film will do, but only this movie has the Contracts Scene in it. As far as comedy goes, this scene is pretty much perfection.
The film features all the usual players – not just Groucho, Chico and Harpo, but also Margaret Dumont, who, as usual, bears the brunt of the Groucho’s humour. She is a rich socialite, and Groucho is looking for investors in an opera company. That is all the set up you need. Leave the rest to Groucho, Chico and Harpo.
Groucho Marx is on fine wise-cracking form in this movie, which is often considered one of their best. Though the Contract Scene is worth watching on a continuous loop a special mention should also go to the Stateroom Scene, which is the movie version of the “How Many People Can You Fit in a Mini?” game.
3 Scent Of a Woman
Al Pacino has made a lot of great movies, but this one, from 1992, is a standout. It co-stars a young Chris O’Donnell as a high-school boy who takes a job looking after a blind veteran with anger issues.
Pacino plays Lt Colonel Frank Slade, who is miserable, as well as being blind, and who is on the verge of killing himself. O’Donnell is Charlie, the Good Kid who just can’t catch a break. Frank teaches Charlie about women, and love, and life, and Charlie shows Frank that his life isn’t over just because he can’t see.
The film certainly has its darker moments, but they just make rest that much more joyful. Charlie and Frank go on a road trip that opens Charlie’s eyes in more ways than one.
Highlight of the movie isn’t Pacino’s tango, although that is great. It is his speech to the school board near the end of the movie. Out of order? I’ll show you out of order.
2 Fermín Glorias del Tango
If you enjoyed Al Pacino’s tango in Scent of a Woman, take a look at The Glories of Tango. Hector Altiero plays Fermin, an 85-year-old mental patient with shell shock who has been locked in a mental institution for decades. Only when a new psychiatrist arrives does anyone wonder why Fermin only communicates through song lyrics from the tango. Fermín Glorias del Tango tells the story of the old man’s life through the tango.
The music transports Fermin back to Buenos Aires in the 1940s and his passion for, among other things, dance. The movie has great music and great cinematography, and is a glorious reminder that the old were not always old. As Fermin’s psychiatrist explores the tango, in order to better understand his patient, he discovers a few things about his own life too.
Not a blockbuster, perhaps, but Fermín Glorias del Tango will certainly warm your heart.
1 Groundhog Day
If you are looking for a heart-warming movie, nothing could be better than Groundhog Day. Even if you’ve seen it a hundred times before. An asshole is doomed to repeat the most boring day ever until he gets it right. It’s a simple concept, but a great one. And Bill Murray makes it brilliant (but let’s face it, Bill Murray could make the phonebook seem brilliant!)
Murray stars as Phil Connors, the full-of-himself weatherman, and Andie McDowell is his naive producer. Quite how long Phil Connors has to relive Groundhog Day before he gets it right is unclear, but it is a long long time – long enough for him to learn to play the piano, speak French and make friends with just about everybody. It’s amazing what a difference a day makes.
+ Little Miss Sunshine
If you have watched all 10 of these movies, and your heart is still a little frosty, have a look at Little Miss Sunshine and its star-studded cast.
Olive is a kid from a pretty dysfunctional family who has won a place in The Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. The entire family want to support her, so they all climb into in a decrepit yellow camper van to make the 800-mile trip. In some families this would be the hook for a horror movie, but, not here.
During the trip, Olive’s family learn to help each other and rely on each other, which is nice. They learn how to start the van, which is more complicated than you might think. And they learn to celebrate each other’s differences—which is just as well, because they are all pretty different. The road trip is long, but it is worth it because the beauty pageant is pure joy, and Olive’s ‘dancing’ is super freaky.
Oh, and this is a favorite of our dear leader, JFrater, so it must be good!