Comfort Movies to Brighten Any Gloomy Day
We all have our own routines for what we want to do when we come home after a supremely awful day and want to make an effort to cheer ourselves up rather than wallowing over the events that created the grey cloud over our heads.
Sometimes a little self-care is what does the trick, or a pint of our favorite ice cream might be in order. And others who have been run ragged both physically and emotionally want nothing more than to curl up at home with a warm blanket, their favorite drink or snack within arms reach, eager to turn on the TV to watch a film or show that has proven time and again to make ourselves feel better.
I’ve had the same go-to “comfort movie” for the past 4 years, but when I became curious about what others might choose to watch when they need a pick-me-up, I decided to reach out on Twitter to ask others what movies or TV show that they would gravitate towards on a bad day. It was both fun and eye-opening to learn the reasons why people could consistently rely on certain films to improve their mood and to prevent an awful day from ending on an equally bad note.
Some movies are so iconic and so easily established as a feel-good flick that a .gif is all that it takes to showcase both the film and the reasons why it might be somebody’s go-to choice for a comfort film. One response that I received from @amavongeek on Twitter depicts a scene from the 1995 film Clueless, as well as one of its most quoted lines from the film that practically coined this line-turned-catchphrase, which to this day is still integrated into our popular culture.
This film is a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s classic novels, set in a modern high school setting with a cast that many of us get a kick out of seeing in this movie when they were young enough to pass as teenagers. Paul Rudd, in particular, looks surprisingly youthful when you compare his appearance in this movie to his most recent appearances in cinema, such as in Avengers: Endgame where he reprised his role as Marvel’s Ant-Man. The humor, hi-jinks, and 90’s fashion all do their job of welcoming us into the everyday life of Cher and Dionne as they work on their current “project,” a new student named Tai, played by the late Brittany Murphy.
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Another great film that needs nothing but an animated image to express its allure and charms, recommended by @StormyReads on Twitter, would be the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightly as Elizabeth Bennett and the eternally handsome Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy. Any type of period drama can easily provide a means of escape from our everyday lives, and films that take place in the Victorian or Regency era achieve this easily with the beautiful costumes, the articulate language spoken by every character and of course the intricacies of the inner workings of romance and relationships during these moments in history.
I’ll confess that this film sparked my first ever celebrity crush, which was spurred on by MacFadyen’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy. His soulful, blue, puppy-dog eyes melted my heart from my first viewing of this movie, and trust me, I have many viewings of this movie under my belt. The film’s soundtrack is another aspect of this film that I adore; the choice of “A Postcard to Henry Purcell” and having it played almost in its entirety by a single violin captivated me, and it makes the scene of Elizabeth and Darcy’s dance at the Netherfield ball even more memorable and transporting.
It surprised me that Jim Henson’s Labyrinth was the most popular choice of a comfort movie from my informal poll – but in retrospective, I shouldn’t have been surprised. This film is both a cult classic and a mainstream masterpiece from its time, with the performances David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly helping to transport us into a fantastical realm that no one other than Henson could have created and rendered so perfectly for the big screen.
And the specific reasons why this movie could reliably comfort and soothe the soul were very informative. @thisaeshaw on Twitter told me that for her, Labyrinth is, “So familiar, such great music, such strong choices during hard times. It’s like a blanket, and it makes me feel like I can do more.”
@GirlUnCubed also listed Labyrinth, and the film was mentioned alongside Ridley Scott’s Legend as one of her preferred comfort movies. “Two of my favorite films since childhood that I’ve come to rely on for their respective brands of 80’s fantasy, incredible scores, quirky side-characters, aesthetic, romance, creatures, gowns, and obscene amounts of glitter.”
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Now we’ve arrived at my own personal pick for my favorite comfort movie of all time. This classic romantic comedy, directed by Rob Reiner and written by the late Nora Ephron, stars a younger Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal who begin as strangers who carpool together to New York City after college and who continue to run into each other as the years go by. Their third reunion comes at a time when both Harry and Sally are in the very early stages of heartbreak, from Harry’s wife recently walking out on him for another man and Sally’s recent break-up with her longtime boyfriend when her sudden desire to have a family conflict with his vision of their lives going forward.
I always enjoy coming back to the friendship that blooms between Sally and Harry while they’re both recovering from the drastic changes in their love lives. I never get tired of Billy Crystal’s humor, and this film has so many iconic moments that make the audience laugh and cry right along with the characters.
Without a doubt, my favorite part of the film is Harry’s final monologue, where he confesses his feelings to Sally and tells her how much he wants to be with her. I’m certain that I’m not the only person who has reached the end of this movie and secretly hoped that I may be able to meet someone who would express their feelings for me with such passion and conviction as Harry when he says, “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
Down With Love (2003)
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
I know it may be surprising to see a film in the suspense & horror genre make its way onto a list about movies that bring us comfort, but when I asked @ContessaGeewiz if she could elaborate on her unique choice, she did not hesitate, and I felt her response would be a good ending to round out this list.