This site has been fairly focused on the bombastic recently but this week, I thought we could slow things down a bit and look at the best feel-good movies. I have a list on Letterboxd simply titled Peliculas Sobre Personas to keep track of human-centric tales but I thought I’d go ahead and rank that list to create this week’s Top 5 Friday. Without further ado, here are some great Indie(-feeling) Movies (taken from films that I’ve rated 8/10 or higher)
5.The Florida Project
Take a film that’s about growing up in a household without money, with a mother whose life is barely held together, homelessness right around the corner, and sitting in the shadow of the most magical place on Earth, Disney World. Now, tell that story from the perspective from a child and you’ve got a tale that might as well be in the Magic Kingdom with how optimistic it is. Not only managing to breathe love and adventure into a seemingly hopeless tale, but also telling a story from the perspective of a 4-5-year-old kid which has almost never been done in the history of cinema.
This movie most likely doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves strictly because of its horrible title. No, it’s not a cheesy superhero B-movie knock-off; it’s an incredibly beautiful indie drama about family. Viggo Mortensen and his ragtag family create a team better than The Avengers themselves but they’re just “normal” people fighting for their right to be together in their own, quite unorthodox, way. It’s a tale that will not only resonate, but make you think about life differently. Every time I hear the words “that’s interesting,” I shoot a dirty look at whoever can’t think of any other word besides “hmmmmmmm.” All I can say is that you’ll love the film if you watch it.
3.Short Term 12
While this movie seems like the least feel-good of this bunch when you watch it, I can’t help but smiling when thinking about it in hindsight. It’s probably the most emotionally impactful film in this Top 5 and although it’s gritty and brutal at times in it’s honesty, it’s nothing short of a masterpiece from writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton who was able to turn his short film into a feature-length project with this title. For that reason alone, this is a feel-good movie for the ages.
2.The Edge of Seventeen
For me, this is the opposite of a feel-good movie. Any story that takes place anywhere around middle to high school are exclusively horror movies in my eyes (or fantasies, if they’re happy). Yet, this film managed to feel strangely…optimistically callous; it presented the truths of high-school (be they heartbreak, anxiety, jealousy, etc.) and focus instead of the beautiful parts of life instead. While the story beats present poor relationships between high-schoolers, it film highlights her relationship with the school’s faculty instead. And it’s tremendously charming.
1.The Way Way Back
Last but not le- well, I guess this one’s technically “first” but I… anyway, this movie is perfect. The ultimate feel-good movie is also one of the best comedic, dramatic, romantic, coming-of-age movies that I’ve ever seen. I just recently watched my 1915th movie since 2012 and this one is one that I can’t stop thinking about whenever I want to sit down and watch a film like none other.
Just really quick, I’d like to take this time to dedicate this post to this man: Jim Rash. He, along with co-writer/director Nat Faxon, made The Way Way Back. That duo along with Alexander Payne have also written a film that I mention later this post (The Descendants) and Rash also played one of my favorite characters of all time in my favorite show of all time, Community. He seems like such a fun-loving, feel-good person and that’s why I’m dedicating this list to him. Somebody so talented and so humble deserves the success and honor he has gained but to top all of that off, here’s a little blog post about feel-good movies.
Because I love movies, as well as my readers, here are some more feel-good movies if the Top 5 just wasn’t quite enough for you…
- The Intern
- Begin Again
- The Descendants
- The Spectacular Now
- High Fidelity
- 500 Days of Summer
- The Big Sick
- Band Aid
- Everybody Wants Some
- Almost Famous
- Good Will Hunting
As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!
Indiana University graduate in Media and Creative Writing. I love to write my own stories as well as experience the work of others. On this site, I post reviews, essays, and other fun posts that I hope you have as much fun reading and I have writing. Please share any comments you have, I’d be happy to hear what you think!
*Never a critic, always a fan*