Some roll their eyes at the premise of an inspirational, uplifting film, but in Trump times, we need these more than ever. Movies that are designed to make us feel good; to stimulate, to uplift and soothe the soul when so much about the world isn’t going right. Yes, we know full well that life isn’t designed to work out like a romantic comedy but the very premise that it could is sometimes enough. No matter what stage of your life you’re at, things can change in an instant, with just one encounter or act and that alone is a joyous thing to hold onto. Below is this writer’s pick of seven films that present this idea perfectly and will leave you feeling great with every watch.
This is one of director Baz Luhrmann’s lesser-known films, but this Australian rom-com is an absolute gem. It focuses on the world of ballroom dancing where star dancer Scott wants to break out of the dated routines and dance for himself. He meets beginner Fran who shares his dream and the two try their best to defy authority, against the odds. This is must-see for anyone who likes to cheer on the underdog or odd one out and the splendid, sequined dance numbers (and OTT costumes) make it a joy to watch.
Bill Murray is at his best as the cynical Phil Connors, who finds himself living Groundhog Day over and over again (trivia: he apparently re-lives the same day for almost ten years) until his change into a better person breaks the cycle. The entire cast is brilliant (including Andie MacDowell), and the dialogue and brilliant one-liners are second to none. You’ll laugh out loud, and truly love this hilarious and tender tale. It’s impossible to finish this one and not feel a sense of joy; a near-perfect movie.
He had her at hello; he had us at hello, and so it became one of the most quotable scripts in movie history. Cameron Crowe’s breakout film, the wonderful Jerry Maguire remains Tom Cruse’s best effort and is severely underrated. The film is full of many brilliant, tender moments and killer, hilarious one-liners (no, you show me the money) and, at 20 years old, has lost none of its heartwarming charms. Cruise is at his most likeable, Reneé Zellweger lights up the screen and its most infamous scene is just as beautiful, two decades on.
Every time this comes on, I wonder why I don’t watch it more. Jamal’s (Dev Patel breakout performance) epic journey from the slums to trying to become a millionaire on a popular TV show is perfect in every way. Spoiler: He wins a pile of money, gets the girl, and there’s that amazing dance routine to “Jai Ho”… what could possibly be better?
Roddy Doyle’s work has been adapted a lot for the big screen but few have matched the success of The Commitments. The heartfelt film, set in working-class Dublin, revolves around Jimmy and his desire to hit the big-time by forming his very own soul band. The eccentric cast of characters own the film thanks to their blend of wit and singing talent; the music is what elevates the movie – all the cast did their own singing – and even over two decades later, it’s lost none of its magic. Irish acting veterans Maria Doyle Kennedy and Glen Hansard are cast in one of their earliest roles. If this one doesn’t make you feel good, we’re at a loss as to what will.
When Harry Met Sally
A film that portrays the complexities of love in all its weird moving glory. A performance best from a seemingly odd pairing, Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, their chemistry makes the movie, and we see ourselves in them with Harry’s cynicism and the infectious doe-eyed hopefulness of Sally. Everything about the movie works from the script – simple banter has almost never been written as well – to the supporting cast – the late Carrie Fisher has some of the best lines in the film – to the ending that pulls on the heartstrings every single time.
The Wedding Singer
Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore have tried but never quite been able to recreate the brilliance of gem that is The Wedding Singer. Sandler plays Robbie, a local wedding singer who gets left at the altar of his own wedding. He meets Julie (played by Barrymore), a waitress who is about to get married herself and the two become firm friends in the midst of all the wedding complications. You could guess the rest but don’t; watch the film and be prepared to be moved by this hilariously tender film.