Dead Poets Society (1989)
Tagline: He was their inspiration. He made their lives extraordinary
An inspirational and thought-provoking movie that stands up to repeated viewings. Dead Poets Society tells the story of a class of 1950s disillusioned schoolkids who are encouraged to rediscover their thirst for life and creativity by Professor Keating (Robin Williams), their new and unconventional English teacher. Robin Williams is brilliant in his role and is guaranteed to give you the motivational push you need – especially when he uses the motto ‘carpe diem’ (‘seize the day’) to inspire the schoolboys. Although you won’t get the happy ending you hope for, there are more than enough moments in the movie to make you feel inspired to do all the things you ever wanted to do.
Due Date (2010)
Tagline: Leave your comfort zone
A businessman on his way to see the birth of his child is put on the no fly list thanks to the annoying amateur actor Ethan Tremblay, and must go on a road trip with him to reach his wife on time. Two completely different personalities clash in this film, leading to some hilarious but heart warming scenes. An unlikely friendship is forged in the hectic trip across the US.
Field of Dreams (1989)
Tagline: All his life, Ray Kinsella was searching for his dreams. Then one day, his dreams came looking for him
Although this movie will be popular with baseball fans, since baseball is the main theme, the movie will also appeal to non-fans. Kevin Costner, in arguably his best role, plays Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella as he attempts to turn his corn fields into a baseball field because a mysterious voice keeps telling him to do so. While this may sound a little far-fetched, the movie proves to be inspirationally heart-warming, and will have you enthralled from start to finish. Field of Dreams deals with such themes as missed opportunities and the power of having dreams and following them through. You’ll probably shed a tear along the way, and afterwards you’ll probably want to start fulfilling some more of your own personal dreams.
About a Boy (2002)
Tagline: Growing up has nothing to do with age
Based on Nick Hornby’s best-selling novel, About a Boy is the story of the rich, hip, single and immature thirty-something Will (Hugh Grant), who makes an unlikely friendship with an isolated 12-year-old boy Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), who has problems at home and school. The two learn a significant amount from one another: Will teaches Marcus how to be cool, and Marcus teaches Will how to be responsible. Grant gives his best performance in this movie, and is ably backed up by the supporting cast. There are some humourous moments along the way – and also some melodramatic ones brought on by the condition of one of the characters. The interplay and developing friendship between the two leads is what makes About a Boy a great feel-good movie.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Tagline: 'They’re making memories tonight!'
Frank Capra’s masterwork is the ultimate in feel-good movies. James Stewart plays George Bailey, who is saved from a suicide attempt by a heavenly messenger, Clarence (Henry Travers), who arrives to show George what the world would have been like if he had never been born. If ever you think things are pretty bad, then viewing this may at first reduce you to tears, but then leave you with that warm glow each and every time you watch it. The performances by the actors are outstanding, and it all adds up to a classic movie that is essential feel-good viewing.
Billy Elliot (2000)
Tagline: Inside every one of us is a special talent waiting to come out. The trick is finding it
The story of an 11-year-old schoolboy aspiring to be a ballet dancer in the face of his father’s macho displeasure provides as inspiring a movie as you’ll ever see. Set against the backdrop of Britain's mid-1980s miners’ strike, it is a gritty and believable portrayal of that time – but has an uplifting story at its heart. Billy Elliot has a witty script, as well as wonderful characters – who help to deliver a movie that’s typically British in feel. The soundtrack, using largely British acts such as The Jam and The Clash, works so well that the songs provide some of the movie’s exceptional high points.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Tagline: Can two friends sleep together and still love each other in the morning?
Highly influential romantic comedy that spawned many more of this ilk. It sees Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) – who have been good friends for years – struggling to come to terms with the fear that a sexual relationship would ruin their friendship. The movie is cleverly spread over a period of more than a decade, and allows the characters to develop over time. It features one of the most memorable moments in movie history – with Ryan’s two minutes of heavy breathing giving one of its most talked about moments. If you’ve had a bad day then watch this, as it’s unlikely you’ll stop smiling throughout the movie.
Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Tagline: Who wants to cook Aloo Gobi when you can bend a ball like Beckham?
A light-hearted comedy, which still manages to embrace some contemporary cultural issues. It tells the story of Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra), a young teenager who loves to play soccer but faces problems from her strict conservative family’s view about a woman’s role – that she should be thinking about getting married, not playing sport. You don’t have to be into the sport to enjoy this movie. It has some funny moments and ends on a positive note, and the music combines a good mix of pop tunes alongside traditional Asian vibe music.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Tagline: Everyone just pretend to be normal
An incredibly odd family decide to take a road trip in their old VW bus in order to get their daughter Olive to a beauty pageant she has been invited to enter. The journey is an eclectic mix of tears, laughter, downright strangeness and self discovery.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Tagline: You want something, go get it. Period
This film depicts the story of a salesman (Will Smith) struggling to find himself a job whilst combatting homelessness and raising his young son. Highlighting the lack of humanity in society as well as a father’s determination to raise his son properly, there’s no guarantee you won’t shed a tear or two. The inexorable force of a father will inspire anyone, making this one of the best feel good movies around.