Feel-Good Movies for Escaping Reality


As I write this, the directors and ministers of the government and NHS are talking about the coronavirus in the background as my mother watches the news. 

I understand it’s important to be informed, but I’ve heard all of what they have said before. After 5 minutes, it all becomes a repetition of warnings, numbers and “what if”s. That’s why I like to watch films in these situations that can help me escape a grim, grounded reality and instead allow me to dream and enjoy a better world. 

I’m not in the mood to watch serious, stress-inducing films or series right now, and maybe you aren’t either. So here are my favourite feel-good films, in no particular order.


  1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


This film is about a daydreamer who makes his dreams and mental adventures real. The visuals are beautiful; he visits beautiful landscapes and does things on his trip that a typical person would only dream of. Whenever I watch this film, I have a new love for life and a desire for new experiences, hobbies and encounters. The ending is perfect and unexpected, the colour symbolism is clever and it’s overall a moving film. 

Although, this film actually divided the critics. Ignore its rating – it’s worth a watch especially if you’re an introvert who tends to live within their heads sometimes.

Rating: 9/10


2. Ponyo

Studio Ghibli movies are a go-to for when I want to be transported into a pretty, fantasy world and feel anew. However, most people would go for Spirited Away or My Neighbour Totoro when they think of their favourite. My personal favourites are Ponyo, Spirited Away and the Tale of Princess Kaguya. Any of these I’d strongly recommend in this article, but Ponyo is the first Studio Ghibli film I watched. I guess the combination of its nostalgia, and the film showing the innocent, pure love between a young boy and a little, magical girl even when the town literally floods, makes this a heart-warming film. It soothes my soul and even though there’s a flood during the film, it’s nothing scary. 

Rating: 8.5/10


3. Amélie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain)

I may be a bit biased by the fact that the protagonist’s name is essentially the same as mine (Amelia), but still I love this film as it’s pretty (red and green colour scheme) and follows the cute tale of a French girl who loves to help others. It’s a simple film, no crazy climaxes or twists. I absolutely love the soundtrack too (I even have a music box that plays La valse d’Amélie). Amélie enjoys the simplest of things, and so after watching this movie, I romanticize life more. I believe that sometimes that’s just what you have to do so that you appreciate and be grateful for the ordinary as well as the extraordinary.

Rating: 8/10


4. Forrest Gump


Of course I have to recommend this film, it’s a classic. Seeing Forrest Gump find himself in peculiar and unbelievable situations is fun to watch, especially since the film does a good job of creating empathy for Forrest. Seeing an underdog succeed and thrive despite his circumstances provides that feel-good factor. There’s also humour in the fact that Forrest becomes an active part of many historical events, and yet doesn’t fully grasp that.

Rating: 9/10


5. Wall-E


What better way to escape reality than to go to space? The environmental message, the love between cute robots and the progression of human society on a spaceship builds a heart-warming story. The first half, focusing on Wall-E and EVE is better in my personal opinion, but the overall movie is so enjoyable that the movie is a classic 2000s animation known by virtually every person born in the late 90s and early 00s.

Rating: 7.5/10


6. Stardust

This is also a children’s movie but it really stands the test of time. It’s described as an “adult movie for kids, and a kids movie for adults”. It’s a fantasy and adventure fairy tale with witches, a handsome hero and a magical girl – yet it’s more complex and imaginative than you’d expect. Many reviews describe a “warm” feeling after watching this film, and I understand. It restores a child-like, innocent wonder.

People have compared the feeling from this movie to be the same as the Princess Bride (which I’ve heard is great, but I’ve not watched it yet! I’ve got a long list of films to watch…)

Rating: 8/10


Honourable Mentions

  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Matilda
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Chef
  • Love Actually
  • Julie & Julia
  • The Help
  • Any Studio Ghibli film
  • Little Miss Sunshine



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