10 Iconic Feel-Good Movies Perfect for Watching This Fall

Midnight in Paris
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.

There are movies that remind us of our shared humanity and leave us feeling connected. They can be a perfect antidote to those occasional rubbish moments. They inspire us to dream, to imagine, and to listen to the whispers of our souls rather than giving way fully to routine.

Here are a few feel-good suggestions when you want to release all worries and experience a soothing reassurance that all is well with the world.

1. Sabrina (1954)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

I recall watching this film in a garden in one of the Parisian’s banlieues on a gentle summer evening. The movie’s enchanting story perfectly matched the ambiance. It’s such a nice romantic movie of the time when movies were made for people (not algorithms). Witty dialogues, idiosyncratic actors, gorgeous fashions made by Givenchy  – what’s there not to like?

2. La Grande Bellezza / The Great Beauty (2013)

La Grande Bellezza
Photo Credit: Janus Films.

A story about man’s search for meaning in the midst of surreally beautiful Roman scenery. Jep Gambardella is a 65-year-old author and socialite who navigates life rich in aesthetics but devoid of genuine connections. It’s a cathartic experience, evoking hope and a reminder that beauty is often secluded from the noise of everyday life. 

3. Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.

Every night at midnight, a protagonist finds himself mysteriously embarking on a journey to 1920s Paris. That requires a truly vivid imagination, credit to Woody Allen. You’ll meet some of the most interesting people of 20ct in this fantasy comedy – Dali, Picasso, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Josephine Baker, F. Scott Fitzgerald – in the backdrop of a brave new world. 

4. Toi et Moi (2006)

Toi et Moi
Photo Credit: Sombrero Productions.

Marion Cotillard’s role might initially irk you but watch as she evolves past two equally annoying boyfriends. This French romantic comedy’s low-budget charm and witty moments offer a different take on the genre. Not everything is predictably perfect, as in Holywood, but the underline is that life can still be beautiful in all its complexities. Embrace the power of imagination while honing your French language skills.

5. What a Way To Go (1964)

What a Way to Go
Photo Credit: 20th Century Studios.

I love the whimsical, idiosyncratic side of this off-beat dark comedy. The plot takes unpredictable turns, the adventure becomes a bit too much, and the fashions are breathtaking.

6. Isle of Dogs (2018)

Isle of Dogs
Photo Credit: Searchlight Pictures.

Dogs are the best companions ever, and this animated movie is a statement to that with its mind-blowing visuals. Prepare some tissues since there’s no greater beauty than true friendship. 

7. The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Big Lebowski
Photo Credit: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment.

The laidback attitude of the iconic “Dude” is so contagious, even for a while. It makes you rethink your life and just live it without stressing yourself unnecessarily, even if everything else does.

8. Whale Music (1994)

Whale Music
Photo Credit: Cape Scott Motion Pictures.

Came home one evening from drinks with friends, saw this movie, and loved it. A Canadian low-budget gem exploring an unconventional friendship between two people going through challenging periods in their lives. Their bond is based on compassion and understanding when it seems it lacks everywhere else. And the whale music is quite enjoyable for humans also. 

9. Playtime (1967)

Photo Credit: Specta Films.

It’s Paris in the 1960’s, city is very much alive with layered and outstandingly stimulating photography. This Jacques Tati comedy is almost dialogue-free, any dialogue frequently blending into background noise, but with rich experience of visuals and sounds. 

10. La Grande Vadrouille (1966)

La Grande Vadrouille
Photo Credit: Les Films Corona.

A classic story of camaraderie between English and French individuals, who are a story for themselves, resisting Nazi occupation. It reminds us that humor and humanity persist even in the darkest times.

Bonus Pick: Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Cinema paradiso
Photo Credit: Miramax.

It’s another one rated high on the feel-good spectrum, and although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, it basically pulls the same idea about the profound impact of films in bringing people together, fostering cathartic experiences, sparking inspiration and imagination.

Sometimes, all we need is a captivating story and a fresh perspective to transport us away from the mundanities of everyday life or our own thoughts.

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Photo Credit: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal.

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