Sometimes, life can get you down. Whether it be work, tragedy or just the general situation of life we have found ourselves in (COVID-19, I’m looking at you). I always find that I can sit around stewing on something and the situation gets ten times worse in my head than it actually is. It’s at times like these that we need something to switch our brains off. Something that we can get lost in, focusing lightly on it and centre ourselves with. The two best ways I’ve found to do this is to read a book and, as we are about to focus on in this article, watch a comfort film.
But what do I mean by a comfort film? Well, I’d describe it as a film that doesn’t tax our brains, is easy to follow and leaves us feeling warm afterwards. Something that just makes you smile and perhaps one that you can go back to over and over. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 10 comfort films to get you through life.
Reese Witherspoon stars as Elle Woods in this fantastic comedy film. It’s about a sorority girl who goes to Harvard to win back the man of her dreams. I absolutely adore this film. Elle is demeaned and not believed in throughout the film, but she just keeps being her, refusing to change who she is and proves everyone wrong. Every joke lands and there really isn’t that much to think about during the film, it’s just 96 minutes of cheesy comfort. And who doesn’t feel great after listening to Elle’s inspirational speech at the end?
Does anyone else have a selection of films that you can almost recite every line word for word, even if you aren’t watching the screen directly? Well, I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say that Shrek is one of those films for many people. What can I say about this animated classic that hasn’t already been said? Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz kill it in this film and the Shrek still feels fresh, even to this day. This film is also simple in its plot but does have multiple layers of depth as well. Like a…like a…damn, I’ve forgotten what has layers.
Die Hard is THE action film. Is it a Christmas film? Is it not? Either way, this 1988 film stands the test of time as one of the greatest, most well-loved films ever. Bruce Willis plays John McClane, a New York cop who gets trapped in the Nakatomi Plaza when Hans Gruber (played by Alan Rickman) takes the tower hostage. Full of action, full of wisecracks, Die Hard is just as good as ever.
The Princess Diaries
This American coming-of-age teen comedy is the perfect “awkward weirdo loser suddenly becomes popular ” film. Top tier actress Anne Hathaway is the star of this film and plays Mia Thermopolis, who discovers that she is a princess when her grandmother (played by Julie Andrews) arrives in town. It’s weird that I can still remember the name of the fictional country in this film (Genovia) and its national fruit (Pear), yet I can barely remember my own phone number.
Or Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, depending on how old you are. Star Wars has always had cheesy dialogue, thick old plot armour and continuity issues. One thing you can’t deny, however, is how great the storytelling is in the original trilogy. Who would have thought when this film came out in 1977, it would blossom into the enormous sci-fi empire that it is today? The nostalgia and warmth of this film is enough to make anyone feel a little better.
Lilo & Stitch
I am of the, perhaps controversial, opinion that Lilo & Stitch is Disney’s finest film. With a history of Princesses, Princes, and musicals, it is surprising that they even decided to do a film about a weird antisocial alien and badly behaved six-year-old Hawaiian girl. However, the result is up there with the great animated comfort films. It looks beautiful with watercolour backgrounds and its calming Hawaiian vibes. It’s also important to note that Nani Pelekai, Lilo’s sister, is one of the most admirable characters Disney has ever had. A young woman desperately trying to keep her sister from being removed into care, struggling with unemployment and the grief of their parent’s deaths, she is an absolute trooper.
My Dad is a vicar and for years I’ve been trying to get him to have a Sister Act Sunday at church, where instead of hymns, we jam to Sister Act tracks. Yet to happen, but one day… Whoopi Goldberg is the main character Deloris Wilson/Sister Mary Clarence, a lounge singer who must hide out as a nun at a convent, after seeing her boyfriend kill somebody. It’s a bonkers film and super feelgood. Perfect for boosting your mood.
Toy Story 2
Why Toy Story 2 and not Toy Story 1? I have chosen Toy Story 2 for no other reason than I like it more than the first one. Woody, Buzz, and the gang get themselves in a pickle again when Woody gets toynapped at a garage sale by the seedy Al, owner of Al’s Toy Barn. We get a great new selection of characters in this film and Toy Story’s greatest villain. Pixar does a fantastic job of mixing the feels and the cosy nostalgia all together, practically any of their films could have made this list.
With lockdowns, Covid-19 and a general negative mood permeating the world now, you can really feel like screaming at the world. Well, in 2016, Ryan Reynolds and the gang stuck their middle fingers up to the world outside the fourth wall in Deadpool. With a troubled production, studio financing cuts, fighting to keep the film rated R, the result was an outstanding unapologetic, foul-mouthed, “I don’t give a f**k” film. The jokes are excellent, and the cast’s personalities shine through on screen. Deadpool is not afraid to poke fun at itself, its studio, and the audience. It’s not taking itself too seriously that really makes this one a comfort film for me.
Fighting With My Family
In 2019, I saw a lot of films in the cinema. Of all of the 50+ films I watched, including modern classics like Avengers Endgame, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and Knives Out, one new release stood at the top of the pile. That film was Fighting With My Family. Not some cinematic masterpiece, not some big-budget franchise ending pinnacle of nerd culture, a random wrestling comedy based on WWE Divas Champion, Paige (real name Saraya-Jade Bevis). Why did this film stand out as my favourite of the year? Because of how it made me feel. The sad moments felt real and the funny moments had me laughing. The cast is fantastic, featuring Florence Pugh, Lena Headey and Nick Frost. One of the funniest films I have seen, it is worth a watch.
We all need a little me-time every once in a while. A moment to centre yourself, let your mind relax and inject a little joy into your life. So why not take a couple of hours out to watch a comfort film? It doesn’t even have to be one of these 10. Maybe, when reading this article, another film jumped immediately to your mind. Whatever you do, stay safe and take care. You got this!
Let us know your favourite comfort films in the comments and please consider checking out more of our movie content!