All time favorite feel-good movie?

Had to clear this with command central to make sure we wouldn’t be engaging in folderol beneath the dignity and standards of the site and … we’re good to go! (Thank you, @Laura.)

So I just got back from a walk and switched on the tele to see what I might look at while icing my knee and perusing the internet only to see that they were playing my all time favorite feel good movie. I almost never watch the same movie twice but I was happy to see the last 30 minutes of this one yet again. That inspired me to ask the question: what movie continues to touch you every time you see it, what’s your favorite feel-good movie?

I think mine focuses on human nature, what happiness is, character and redemption … but I don’t think it has any overtly religious bent. For my money it is the most interesting what-if movie I’ve ever seen. Philosophically I’d say it is existential in nature bringing to mind hints of Martin Buber and Soren Kierkegaard. My favorite feel good movie came out in 1993 and is Groundhog Day

I wonder who else has seen it and what you thought of it. But more importantly (as I am always building a list of movies to see next) what is your favorite feel-good movie?


Definitely an old favorite. But this is more comedy than philosophical or inspirational frankly. If you want something of a more philosophical bent then the 1999 German film “Run Lola Run” would be the one.

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I’ll have to write that down and get back to you. But my money is on my pick for Best Existential movie of all time anywhere in the galaxy.

Funny, I just watched Groundhog Day for the first time a few months ago, and was surprised at how much I really enjoyed it. I have a hard time finding adult comedies that I like, that aren’t completely crass or mind-numbing. But it was clever and touching without being saccharine, and genuinely laugh-out-loud funny at many points.

I love when a movie can break out of the stereotypical genre boxes – Princess Bride is another all-time favorite that I probably have memorized at this point, but I love how comedy, drama, and romance intertwine so well – it’s a masterpiece.

I don’t know that they’re always “feel-good,” but the Lord of the Rings movies portray redemptive themes very well too.

Most of the Pixar movies are great as well… I think Inside Out is one of my faves, but also like Up and WallE.


that’s definitely one of the best–my lit classes focused more on books than films in undergrad, so being the dense one that I am, it was on the second time I thought the movie through in my mind after watching it that I realized, “hey, there are some deep existential themes here!” Thanks for the excursion through memory lane.

I’m no good at movies–any kind of violence or drama pretty much makes me unable to sit for long, so my usual level is “Anne of Green Gables,” or “The Fiddler On the Roof”–but there are great themes in both of those, too. “Fiddler” examines how we deal with a multitude of new ideas reinterpreting what we always thought to be true; and “Anne” examines the point of view of a spiritually deep but worldly poor girl who helps us re evaluate what is really important in life, with a dash of humor (which is what makes me able to tolerate “Groundhog”!; I’m sure I’m not deep enough in my analysis of these 2, either).

From Anne:
“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?But am I talking too much? People are always telling me I do. Would you rather I didn’t talk? If you say so I’ll stop. I can STOP when I make up my mind to it, although it’s difficult.”

I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else?


I really loved Lars and the Real Girl with Ryan Gosling and Emily Mortimer. It asks the question what would happen if someone was on the edge, and a whole community responded with love and grace.

Wonder was great, and appropriate for watching with the kids. (But the book is better.)

And then Anne of Green Gables, of course. :wink:


Becky, my wife, read this with the kids–I think it was very good for them. I’ve not read it, but it sound like it is helpful at empathizing both with those who struggle with disabilities, and with their family.


Groundhog Day was actually a factor in helping a friend turn his life around, showing him the futility of his life’s present course.
In thinking of what movie I would watch again (other than Princess Bride, of course) I would have to go back to The African Queen, as it serves as a sort of metaphor for life’s journey.

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I’ll have to put The African Queen on my watch list too. Right now my wife is going crazy preparing to give a slide show/ talk on her art work in Austria. I might need her to show me how to get Netflix to work. At 76 she is the more (okay, only) technologically savvy one in my household. I do wish she wouldn’t push herself so much.

Oh goody, the movie looks great and I can try to get the book first.

I wonder if I can get my niece to watch that with me. She is 13 now. Regardless, I want to see it. Julia Roberts is great with this genre.

I didn’t watch that movie until I tried playing an online game of Mafia themed around that movie. I was shown little clips from the movie which basically cut into my enjoyment of it when I finally watched it straight through. It definitely is clever. (I really disliked playing Mafia. Not sure why.)

Yes and I agree with you that not every story/movie has to be “feel good”. I remember reading Robert Graves I Claudius and its sequel and being totally engrossed and moved. It was the first time I really understood the appeal of tragedy. The PBS dramatization was good too but luckily I got to read the books first. I had one of them along on a camping trip and I can recall reading until it was simply too dark to do so and then picking it up again at first light. It really pulled me along.

I loved WallE which I watched with my niece and nephew. In fact I saw Inside Out with them too, which was clever and fun. But somehow I connected more with the mechanical garbage compactor robot.


I’m pretty disappointed that this was all the praise you could afford the Princess Bride. To me, that movie is perfection. You’ll never see a movie done with such craftsmanship. The story doesn’t take itself seriously, but it allows the viewer to take it seriously. The love story is so absurdly cliche that it actually works as a love story. Miracle Max… But if you were a late-comer (which I’m surprised to learn), it might have been annoying to watch the movie after having already been inundated with the infinitude of memes out there.

Plus I’m probably annoying you by insisting that you ought to like a movie more than you actually do. So sorry.

I love Groundhog day too. Certainly has some existential themes running through it.

I can’t really think of a good “feel good” movie right now, but I want to say Dumb and Dumber because it’s one of the few movies that just makes me belly laugh every time I see it. It is just so stupid. But what can be more “feel good” than a bunch of belly laughs? Anyway, that’s my feel good movie pick, as lame as it may be.


I wasn’t really sure what a “feel-good movie” meant. Groundhog Day is certainly quite light hearted and fairly lacking is serious or scary content. Is that what “feel good” means? Is it a broad category including comedy, family, romance, and inspirational? Most movies impart a good feeling because most have a happy ending. To be sure there are exceptions like “The Mist” and “The Butterfly Effect” which are ultimately too horrifying for a good feeling. But most like the movie “Legion” which I am watching right now have the good guys winning in the end. I suppose this category requires a little more than just a good/happy ending however. But I guess my favorite movies are one which gives the happy ending after some really horrifying challenges, like “Dark City,” “Lucy,” or “Donnie Darkover.”

Yeah I think the delight in it was spoiled by all those memes. When you go into it without expectation is when you get the best results. But I don’t think I’m really the one annoyed here. :wink: After all, how can I be so obtuse?

But Dumb and Dumber? We rarely see movies in a theatre anymore and by the time it was on television I had the remote and choices so …

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You’re right, in most movies we feel good because the good guys overcome the bad guys in the end. In the worst of these, when it is all about revenge, I don’t think the self righteous pay back is really a good feel-good vehicle, Lucy involves bad guys who we’re encouraged to enjoy seeing punished; but it is fun and interesting for other reasons. The Matrix is better in the feel good department because the bad guys are bad because of something that has gone wrong. When the resolution requires punishment/revenge I think think it interferes with how satisfying it is as a feel good vehicle.

What I like about Groundhog Day is that the bad guy he has to overcome is himself. By compressing time to one day repeated ad infinitum he gets to reset self destructive habits mostly by trial and error, and he didn’t even have the option of the ‘easy’ out. In the end I think our hero is genuinely transformed and yet still himself, in fact more truly himself without the pettiness and anger.

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Ah… redemption of the bad guy(s) rather than annihilation eh? That is indeed a more uplifting end to a film! I am reminded the film “The Lovely Bones” where we don’t see a redemption of the bad guy but rather the conclusion that he is somewhat irrelevant. His accidental death is only the reminder that we all die eventually one way or another and what really matters is that goodness can ultimately rise from the ashes of the greatest evils.

And I think that Lucy is quite similar that in the end the bad guys are also irrelevant, for Lucy cannot even be bothered to do anything about them - there are more important things to do.

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Or another from Tevye:

If money is the curse of the world, then may God smite me with it. And may I never recover.

Even though it’s been many years since I saw it (and I’ve only seen it once - so due for another viewing), I remember being really touched by Shadowlands - a movie about C.S. Lewis.


Good quote from Tevye!
That was a good movie (Shadowlands)–did you watch the Anthony Hopkins version, or the earlier one?
The term “shadowlands” comes from Macdonald, as well–that we only see shadows of what is real, I think. The story originally is in “The Golden Key,” when Mossy and Tangle make their way through a valley full of shadows, and they find their eyes full of tears, longing to go to the place the shadows fall from.

Very true! And I fully agree that vindictiveness and punishment of the bad guy ruins a good story. It’s a problem I have with the theme of “The Avengers”–while the movies themselves actually (according to my wife) wrestle with and sometimes refute the idea of revenge, the theme seems to be punishment rather than reconciliation–the OT as opposed to the NT versions, if you will.

My sons like “Squirrel Girl” comic books, which uniquely have her reconcile with and bring out the best in the villains. My 11 year old and I were just talking about that this morning before leaving work. I think we bought the whole series, thanks to @Marshall 's suggestion on a thread last year.

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With Anthony Hopkins. I didn’t even realize there was an earlier version.

That does sound very “Macdonldian”

While we’re mentioning movie themes that rub us the wrong way … as much as I enjoyed the humor of both “The Incredibles” movies, I had to agree with a critique of it that I heard that an unfortunate takeaway is that only people with special powers are actually special. It is a heart-breaking tragedy for the young “non-superhero” boy that all he ever wanted was to be special like his heroes, and he works hard using his own creativity to achieve that, only to be rebuffed by the very superheroes he so wanted approval from … giving us the eventual embittered villain for the first movie.


Here it is–

About “Incredibles,” you are right–I think that maybe they had intended to improve on that theme, but they didn’t do that enough.

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