Movies

Films To Watch When in Stressful Times

I spend a lot of time on Twitter. Maybe it’s a sorry fact, but hey. I know people exaggerate their own lives, thoughts, and feelings on Twitter for the sake of entertainment and drama (I know I certainly do), but it seems since November, and this snap election was announced, everyone’s been a bit high-strung. Goodness, I understand it. But I think we all need to sit on the sofa with our nearest and dearest, or maybe in bed surrounded by blankets and snacks, and just watch a feel good film. So I’ve compiled a list of feel good films mainly for my own benefit, but maybe for yours, too.

  1. The Terminal (dir. Steven Spielberg)
    I watched this the other day with my family, and we all lost count of the amounts of times we went “awww!”. It’s sweet, lovely, and follows an eastern immigrant (played by Tom Hanks) as he tries to get into America to complete a task his father never did. It’s about waiting, hope, love, and humanity. Tom Hanks’ Viktor Navorski is the perfect protagonist; an awfully sweet human being who just wants to do a little bit of good.
    Recommended viewing experience: with your nearest and dearest. Cuddle up on the sofa if you must.
  2. Pride (dir. Matthew Warchus)
    This is one of my favourite films EVER. It follows an activist group called LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners), as they raise money for a mining community in Wales, and how a small town comes to accept a bunch of “screaming homosexuals”, as the L in LGSM, Steph (Faye Marsay), so eloquently says. It’s beautiful, sweet, and will definitely make you cry. It holds the perfect blend of comedy and drama without being too corny. It’s the perfect film to watch when you’re losing hope a little bit, and are wondering whether the world can change. This film proves it can.
    Recommended viewing experience: again, with your family, people you love, friends, whatever. I’d actually recommend watching it with a big group. It’s got some big laughs in it perfect for the ultimate bonding experience.
  3. Brooklyn (dir. John Crowley)
    This film is about a young Irish woman trying to make a life away from everything she’s every loved. It makes you (well, it made me think) about what makes a place special, what makes you independent, and what keeps you going when things get really tough. It’s not as depressing as it sounds. Brooklyn made me nostalgic for things I haven’t even experienced yet.
    Recommended viewing experience: this film gets pretty sentimental, so watch it with your sentimental people. Or, on your own at 3 a.m. Either work!
  4. Stardust (dir. Matthew Vaughn)
    Don’t be fooled into thinking this adaptation is anything like its book (by Neil Gaiman). The first time I watched this film was after a birthday party I’d had. We picked up takeaway on the way home, and because my mum was away and she hates fantasy films, we watched Stardust. I fell in love within the first five minutes. The monologue at the beginning is spell-binding, and uh! I just love it! It’s a magical film with a stellar cast – Clare Danes, Sienna Miller, Melanie Hill, Mark Strong, Charlie Cox – with a magnificent score to match. It’ll give you hope that maybe people are actually pretty good deep down and that perhaps people care more about true love and all that, more than conquests and pride.
    Recommended viewing experience: with anyone, anywhere. Check your cynicism at the door, though.
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (dir. David Yates)
    I always thought this was the weakest of the Potter films as a teenager, but now I think it’s perhaps one of the strongest. Every frame in this film is dripping with beauty and talent. It balances humour with an incredibly dramatic storyline wonderfully and carries through it Umbridge, who is probably the best baddie this series has to offer. But quite possibly the best thing about the Potter series is its weaponisation of happiness; throughout this film, laughter, jokes, and the mere memory of happiness are used as weapons against Umbridge (with Weasley Wizard Wheezes taking the brunt of this task). And in Dumbledore’s Army, the members are frequently asked to have hope, and remember what they’re fighting for. I watched this film the day after Trump got elected and it was the perfect antidote. It has it’s fair share of sentimentality, too, with Harry and Luna delivering the best lines of the film that have stayed with me since I heard them properly for the first time; “you’re the weak one … you’ll never know love or friendship, and I feel sorry for you” – Harry to Voldemort, “I guess that’s how he wants you to feel … Well, if I were You Know Who, I’d want you to feel cut off from everyone else because if it’s just you alone, you’re not as much of a threat” – Luna to Harry. “We’ve got something Voldemort doesn’t have: something worth fighting for” – Harry to Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, and Luna.
    Recommended viewing experience: after watching The Goblet of Fire, before watching The Half-Blood Prince. (But seriously, watch this when you’re feeling hopeless. Live vicariously through Harry, remember you’re not alone, and that there is something worth fighting for.)
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