Warning – spoilers ahead! Yes, if you read on, there may well be spoilers for some of the movies!
The Truman Show (1998)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Natascha McElhone
This is the story of Truman Burbank (Carrey) who lives an idyllic existence, completely unaware that his every move is filmed and beamed across the globe 24/7 in a bizarre “Big Brother” style TV show. The starting point of the story is another normal day for Truman and his friends, colleagues and neighbors who, unbeknown to Truman, are actors. Now, I don’t know about you, but I always thought the actors were a little worse off than Truman because they’d given up their normal lives for this, whereas Truman didn’t know any different.
It isn’t long before things begin to unravel and Truman begins to break out of his shell a little. He begins to want more from life and this causes no end of problems for the actors, crew and producers of the show as Truman begins to deviate from his usual routines and have flashbacks about his father and an old friend. Truman becomes suspicious when he can’t leave the island where his fictional town is built and finally makes a desperate bid for freedom. You will be crying and cheering along with the audience of the “show within a movie”, as you watch him finally turn the tables on those who have manipulated his whole life for their own ends. This is, without a doubt, one of my all-time favourite movies. If you haven’t seen it, rent it, and if you have seen it, maybe it’s time for a re-watch.
Starring: Ricki Lake, Craig Sheffer
I love this movie because of its central theme – that love is about personality, not looks. It’s about a young woman, Grace, (Ricki Lake) who is, quite simply, fat. The good thing about the character is that she does not see this as a problem, unlike several other characters in the film. She’s a pleasant, outgoing girl who enjoys her life and does not see her weight as a barrier to anything.
One day, whilst traveling home from work on the underground, she sees one of the underground workers, Rob, (Craig Sheffer) and falls in love. She sets in motion a plan to make Rob fall for her, which includes accidentally on purpose taking his skates to wangle an introduction. As the movie goes on, we see Rob beginning to enjoy Grace’s company more and more and they become friends. Everything comes to a head when Rob’s stuffy girlfriend catches them at a New Year’s Eve party and tears into Grace, publicly humiliating her. Of course, there’s a happy ending and Grace finally gets her man, but for me the movie is about not giving up and believing in yourself as a person. There’s a lesson in this movie for everyone!
Curly Sue (1991)
Starring: Jim Belushi, Kelly Lynch, Alisan Porter
Well, this movie has Jim Belushi in it, which is always a good start and it’s set at Christmas-time which is another plus for a feel-good movie. It’s the story of Bill Dancer (Belushi) and the little girl who may or may not be his daughter, Sue (Porter). A couple of drifters, they earn a living pulling harmless scams, until one day one of their scams backfires and they end up staying with rich, corporate lawyer, Grey Ellison (Lynch). This movie is a John Hughes comedy and chronicles the story of how the pair of down-at-heel drifters wins the heart of the lawyer, warming it in the process, with hilarious moments like the cinema scene and the scene where Grey’s boyfriend unwittingly walks into Sue’s bedroom – one of the funniest movie scenes I have ever seen! Heartwarming and touching, without being overly-sentimental, you will still have tears in your eyes towards the end and find yourself hoping for the happy ending that may or may not happen…
Evan Almighty (2007)
Starring: Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman
The story of a man who is instructed by God to build another Noah’s Ark. Poor Evan – nobody believes him and everybody thinks he is losing his mind, including Evan himself. Matters aren’t helped when God lets his sense of humour get the better of him and actually begins turning Evan into Noah, complete with long white hair and beard and biblical robes that Evan can’t change out of even when he wants to! The feel-good factor in this movie comes from finding yourself wanting Evan to be proved right and the nasty politicians to be proved wrong. Highlights include the scene with the fish tank and the breathtaking visual effects of the flood itself. Watch this movie and challenge yourself not to want to help Evan build his Ark!
Bicentennial Man (1999)
Starring: Robin Williams, Sam Neill, Oliver Platt
The story of a robot (Williams) who wants to become human. Set in the future and based on a short story by Sci-Fi author, Isaac Asimov, this movie chronicles the 200-year journey of an Android in search of his own humanity. Andrew is an unusual android who has feelings and emotions and he becomes attached to the daughter of the house, Amanda. He leaves a happy family life to find himself and faces a lonely existence until, with the help of a scientist, he finally becomes happy with his lot and returns to his family to seek out the woman he loved.
In a bittersweet twist, Andrew discovers that the years have passed almost unnoticed and that Amanda has grown old and has a daughter, Portia, whom Andrew becomes attached to. Love conquers all is the overriding theme in this movie and if weepy endings are what makes a feel-good movie for you, then this one is a humdinger! In my opinion, this movie is one of Robin Williams’ best!
Photo by cafemama