There has been an increasing tendency these days, especially on social media, to be dismissive of emotional movies on love and relationships by calling them ‘sappy’. Of course, it is undeniable that films on social and political issues are highly important and have a great impact on the viewers, but it would be remiss to not acknowledge the importance of films that take note of the films on relational complexities. To begin with, most of our first ‘grown up’ films were ones that featured love stories. These movies shaped our teenage years in a big way – giving us a glimpse of the magical world of love and romantic love, molding our somewhat unrealistic expectations of what our partner would be like, and being a solace in times of distress and heartbreak.
“I saw that you were perfect, and so I loved you. Then I saw that you were not perfect and I loved you even more.”
– Angelita Lim
A separate category of such films is one that focuses on the importance and depth of other relationships in our lives. Love need not be always romantic. It could be familial, friendship, or simply love for one’s pets. Such films can also be cathartic in a major way, and remind us of the little things in life we have been missing.
If you have been looking for a list of such feel-good movies, or you just want to sit back and unwind with a lighthearted romantic comedy after a long day, read on for details below.
10. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
This 1961 film is an absolute classic and a must-watch feel-good movie. For those who have read Truman Capote’s novella, this film is a delightful take on the original plot and might just leave you more satisfied than the ending of the original story did. And for the rest, you can never regret spending two hours of your life watching the ethereal Audrey Hepburn breathe life into the naïve, simplistic, and eccentric Holly Golightly. This film features some very complex issues that are dealt with very delicately, such as the loss of a loved one and the inability to form attachments due to abandonment issues. The love story at the heart of this movie is heartrending, and as a bonus, you get to hear Hepburn perform Moon River in her own voice.
9. Finding Neverland
Johnny Depp brings an incomparable degree of charm to the character of Barrie in this classic film that chronicles how a struggling playwright finds inspiration to create the spectacle of Peter Pan. He gets involved with a family of four children and their mother (played by Kate Winslet), and this association proves to be mutually healing for both. Although it is a definite tearjerker, this movie has some beautiful meditations of love, loss, and acceptance, and the closing sequence alone makes it a must-watch.
8. 500 Days of Summer
This is a beautiful movie that closely analyzes a narrative of heartbreak and the factors that create misunderstandings. Zooey Deschanel plays a vivacious, bright-eyed, albeit cynical young girl who steals the attention of Tom, a hopeless romantic. This movie focuses on how over time Tom starts to project his own fantasies on Summer and gradually starts believing in an ideal image of his beloved, which leads to inevitable heartbreak. This film offers very deep and meaningful insights into the complexities of relationships in which both parties are not equally invested. However, the film does end on a happy and hopeful note.
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
A futuristic and somewhat surrealistic film, this movie imagines a scenario in which such medical science exists which can erase painful and traumatic memories of people. This tale depicts what ensues when two people encounter each other after their break up and cannot recognize each other because they have had this procedure performed on them. A story about the eternal nature of memories and the possibility of love being enduring and all-encompassing, it makes for a must-watch.
6. You’ve Got Mail
This is a simple classic feel-good film starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. This movie features quaint bookstores, coffee shops, and the backdrop of New York City as two very unlikely individuals who are rivals in their professional lives slowly make their way towards each other. It makes for a great light watch on a lazy weekend.
5. The Lunchbox
Giving a twist to ordinary love stories, this beautiful film chronicles how an overworked housewife and a bitter middle-aged man find companionship through letter writing and shared love for food. This film is unique as it provides a narrative leading up to the first meeting of the two lovers and records the emotions that are felt at the beginnings of new love. Starring Nimrat Kaur and Irrfan Khan in lead roles, this movie is a must-watch because of its simplicity and the open-ended ending which leaves the possibility of a great love story to come.
4. Call Me By Your Name
This is a coming of age tale that depicts an adolescent slowly coming to terms with his sexuality and embracing his identity. This is a refreshing new take on the young adult love story genre and offers a beautiful depiction of first love and the pangs of heartbreak. Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer both have path-breaking performances in this story of forbidden love and the impossibility of its consummation. If you enjoy picturesque settings, heartrending and philosophical meditations, and the soulful music of Sufjan Stevens, this is the perfect film for you.
3. Me Before You
This film navigates through the messy complications that arise when the obstacles in love happen to be a disability, failing health, and sudden bouts of depression. This is one of Emilia Clarke’s seminal performances as she slips into the character of a lively and optimistic nurse who rekindles the zest of life in a patient. Although the heartwarming love story ends rather abruptly and the story does not come to fruition in the traditional sense, this movie is a must-watch because of its unique perspective on the fine lines between unconditional love and self-interests.
2. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
This film is a testament to the transcendental power of love and the purity of affection that a dog feels for his master. The relationship between a man and his dog is explored in a different manner as it depicts how the dog responds and processes the event of the master’s love. It is one of the most simplistic and absolutely realistic accounts of unconditional love. A tale of love and waiting, this movie is bound to make you cry buckets and hug a puppy at your nearest pet store and should be on everyone’s watch list.
1. La La Land
This musical is one of the most incredible love stories to ever be filmed. Although a relationship between two struggling artists (actress and musician) is at the core of this film, it has much more to offer. It is primarily concerned with the manner in which true love and friendship can heal, motivate, and take people to newer heights in their lives. By focusing on the enduring and transformative effects of love, this movie takes the spotlight away from a typical happy ending and provides an alternate form of happy end that is enabled by such love. This movie is also a must-watch because of the outstanding performances from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in terms of their singing and dancing.