I think I’ve written about some of my favourite comfort films before somewhere in the archives, but I thought I might as well rehash them – so you don’t have to search way back in the archives somewhere. Some of my favourite happy films/comfort films are a bit soppy and probably not necessarily the greatest films ever, but I don’t think that matters. What makes a film good to people is a subjective thing and everyone has their own barometer and requirements. I think comfort films should have the ability to sweep me along and either be carthartic (a release of emotion at the end) or make you feel incredibly life affirmed and happy. Or, just have happy songs and funny happenings.
1. The Sound of Music – my ultimate comfort film. One of those films I love because it transports me back to childhood, and of course the camp appeal is very amusing now as an adult!
2. Kiki’s Delivery Service – a lovely uplifting film, I always feel drawn to this when I need something sweet and offbeat. I love that the main character is a witch in training and she has a talking cat called Jiji.
3. Howl’s Moving Castle. I could watch this so many times without getting bored. The animation is so colourful and alive, and the characters are great. It is one of my favourite all time films, not just a comfort movie.
4. Star Wars – My grandad/pop always used to have Stars Wars on at some point when I went round to theirs at Christmas or something. It was the ultimate afternoon series of films, and I love them so much, even if they’re not perfect or have strange political issues in them. I mean, Leia might not be the strongest female character ever, but I kind of think she was my introduction to the feisty, powerful lady – not someone who sits back and takes it.
5. My Neighbour Totoro. What is not to love about Totoro? Adorable! Such a lovely film, it makes me revert back to being a kid and the wonder of it all.
6. Love Actually – a bit of a silly film, but funny and something that makes me look forward to Christmas. It isn’t particularly deep but has some wonderful and sometimes sad moments. Its a bit like a series of rom coms all chopped up and stuck together, but it seems to work.
7. Pride and Prejudice – the Keira Knightley one is beautifully shot and the landscapes are haunting. Although she could never top Jennifer Ehle for me, she still nailed Elizabeth Bennet’s feisty attitude.
8. Some Like It Hot – to me, this is one of the best of Marilyn Monroe’s comic turns – she is so funny here. I think she plays the whole thing to perfection. It looks like she is having so much fun, even if she did get typecasted. Possibly what makes it work is that she never appears too much like a stereotype and there is some depth to her character.
9. Amelie – the quirkiest woman in French cinema to date? A lot of people love this film, even if they don’t watch much World Cinema. I love it because she takes you with her as she unravels a mystery and is all awkward about this lovely man who wants to know more about her.
10. Volver – I know the subject matter is strange but this is one of those cathartic films that makes me feel sad and happy all at the same time.
11. Penelope – This one is a charming film with a good message about finding yourself and accepting yourself – yes soppy, but fun all the same. I love the clothes that Penelope wears too!
12. Sleepy Hollow – definitely not a happy/cute film, but I love it anyway because its dark and gothic.
13. Moulin Rouge – the music, the setting and the love story. I think I’m a bit of a sucker for dramatic romances.
14. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – even though it isn’t the same ending as the book, it still has beautiful moments and the wisdom of Dr Iannis: ‘Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away.’
Drama is life with the dull bits cut out. ~ Alfred Hitchcock