Feel-good movies are easy to watch and enjoy. The typical filmgoer likely has a longer list of movies that give them that warm and fuzzy feeling, more than anything else. You’ll likely hear stuff like The Princess Bride, A League of Their Own, Forrest Gump, Elf, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and, of course, a slew of Disney and Pixar products. An online film forum’s members cited many that we enjoy and other well-known film classics, too.
1. About Time (2013)
This 2013 British-American comedy-drama concerns a young man (Domhnall Gleeson) who learns the men in his family can travel through time. His dad (Bill Nighy) urges him to use the gift wisely. So he does the logical thing: He travels backward to improve his love life. “Went into this expecting rom-com and got so much more out of it! Surprisingly delightful!” gushed one viewer.
2. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson helmed this coming-of-age drama about an orphan who sneaks away from scout camp to meet up with a girl with whom he has a long-distance relationship. (Specifically, they’re pen pals.) The 2012 film has a great cast, including Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman. The film buff who suggested this called it “a gem of a movie.”
3. XOXO (2016)
A drama about a young DJ who wants to perform at an EDM festival, also known as “the biggest rave in America.” This 2016 film is about romance, dreams, and the distance in between. Plus: Black lights and Day-Glo makeup! “I’ve seen that movie a few times, and it always tends to make me happy,” says the commenter who recommended it.
4. Amelie (2001)
Set in modern-day Paris, this 2001 film centers on a shy waitress (Audrey Tautou) who breaks out of her isolation by secretly working to improve the lives of everyone she meets. But will she ever find her own happiness? “The characters are delightfully quirky and real, and the main character is a bit of a dreamer like myself,” explains one admiring fan. “Plus, her reaching out to the love interest is very fun and creative.”
5. Almost Famous (2000)
Cameron Crowe wrote and directed this 2000 comedy-drama about a teen prodigy who wants to write about rock’ n’ roll. (Having been a teen writer at Rolling Stone magazine, Crowe is sort of telling his own story.) Although it didn’t do well at the box office, the late critic Roger Ebert called it the year’s best movie. One forum member describes the film as “a warm hug” and says it relieves anxiety.
6. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (2021)
This poignant 2021 film combines live action with stop-motion animation in the story of Marcel, an anthropomorphic shell who lives in an Airbnb with his grandmother, Connie (Isabella Rossellini). Marcel becomes a YouTube sensation thanks to a documentary filmmaker’s work, but all he really wants is to find the rest of his family. “My girlfriend looooooooooved this movie. I thought it was pretty cute, too,” admits one filmgoer.
7. The Station Agent (2003)
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) loves trains and keeps to himself. When he inherits a property with an abandoned railroad depot, he figures this is his chance to hide. Despite himself, he gets drawn into the lives of his rural neighbors. The New York Times calls the 2003 movie “a delicate, thoughtful, and often hilarious take on loneliness.”
8. Return to Me (2000)
Bonnie Hunt directs and also co-stars in this 2000 romantic comedy about a heart transplant. Yes, a heart transplant. Yet it all works thanks to Hunt’s skillful directing of an ensemble cast that includes Minnie Driver, David Duchovny, Carroll O’Connor, Robert Loggia, David Alan Grier, and Jim Belushi.
One moviegoer praises the “side characters” that add tremendous depth to the film: “We all want love, but good relationships with family and friends are important, too.”
9. Paterson (2016)
Adam Driver may be famous for his Star Wars films, but he’s also good at everyday drama. In this 2016 movie, he’s a bus driver carrying a notebook around to write poetry. Meanwhile, his wife wants to be a country music star with a cupcake business. Sure, honey, we can do that! One cinephile calls it “both warm and touching.”
10. Begin Again (2013)
In this 2013 comedy-drama, Mark Ruffalo plays a record label executive who discovers a singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley). Together, they plan an album to be recorded in public places all over New York. Knightley worked with a voice coach and did her own singing. “Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley truly make for a fantastic duo,” says an admiring fan.
11. A League of Their Own
Penny Marshall directed this 1992 feel-good sports comedy film based on the true story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Starring Tom Hanks as the manager and Geena Davis as the catcher, Dottie Hinson, they are supported by a terrific cast who play the teammates with a winning spirit. Only Tom Hanks could deliver the movie’s best line, “There’s no crying in baseball.” One said, “Definitely a throwback to earlier, simpler times, but what adds to the warmth is that most characters are relatable and likable.”
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