I don’t usually do a theme to one of these posts, but the last day of the summer holidays felt like it warranted a theme. So, this week’s edition is feelgood films – six (I know, giving you a bonus one this week!) films that are chicken soup for the soul. For all you teachers out there, good luck with the new academic year…
The Way, Way Back (2013: Disney+ & Amazon Prime: 104 mins)
It’s always been 14 year-old Duncan (Liam James) and his mum, Pam (Toni Collette), against the world, but her overbearing new boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), is having none of that. Trent takes the pair, along with his daughter, to stay at his summer home to trial at being a family, where a chance encounter with water theme park manager Owen (Sam Rockwell) may just be the thing to help Duncan find his place in the world. The incredible ensemble is rounded out by Alison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Amanda Peet, Rob Corddry, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash – the pair making their debut as co-writers and co-directors.
If you like this, you might like: Kings of Summer (2013), Hearts Beat Loud (2018)
Instant Family (2018: ALL4: 119 mins)
Inspired by the real adoption experiences of writer-director Sean Anders, a married couple Pete (Mark Whalberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) decide to foster three siblings – Lizzy (Isabela Merced), Juan (Gustavo Escobar) and Lita (Julianna Gamiz). A real surprise when it came out, a film as full of laughs as it is heart.
If you like this, you might like: Blockers (2018), Game Night (2018)
What We Do In The Shadows (2014: BBC iPlayer & Amazon Prime: 86 mins)
If you’ve not seen this already, or the spin-off show now in it’s fourth season, ‘Where the bloody hell have you been?’ It’s fine though, we can get that fixed now – and in less than 90 minutes too! A mockumentary following four flatmates who live in Wellington, New Zealand. Viago (Taika Waitit), Vladislav (Jermaine Clement), Deacon (Jonathon Brugh), and Petyr (Ben Fransham) also happen to be vampires. Saying any more would be a spoiler, suffice to say what follows is very, very funny.
If you like this, you might like: Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016), This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Good Vibrations (2012: Disney+ & MUBI & Britbox: 111 mins)
Based on a true story, Belfast punk impresario Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer) becomes the unlikely leader of a motley band of kids and punks, who join him in his mission to bring his city back to life. If you’re a fan of Teenage Kicks by the Undertones, you’re going to want to see this. Jodie Whittaker plays his long-suffering wife with Adrian Dunbar, Liam Cunningham and Dylan Moran also playing supporting roles. Packed full of riotous heart and soul, there’s a sequence here that never fails to make me flood with happy tears.
If you like this, you might like: Ali & Ava (2022), Sing Street(2016)
Pride (2014: Disney+ & Amazon Prime & Netflix: 120 mins)
In 1984, gay activist Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) realised that the brutal attention of the police had shifted from the gay community and onto the miners’ strikes. Striking to prevent colliery closures that would destroy small communities throughout the United Kingdom, they faced an onslaught both in press and in person that was all-to-familiar to Mark and his friends. This was the start of beautiful friendship – two marginalised groups finding each other- and thus ‘Lesbians and Gays Support The Miners’ (LGSM) was formed. Not only is the most joyful film in existence, listen up for its cast – George MacKay, Andrew Scott, Joe Gilgun, Freddie Fox, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Jessie Cave, Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy. It’s just so bloody lovely.
If you like this, you might like: Kinky Boots (2005), Rocketman (2019)
Romcomdram of the week: The Lunchbox (2013: Disney+: 104 mins)
An unlikely mistake by a tiffin carrier service results in Ila’s (Nimrat Kaur) tiffin, that was made for her husband, being delivered to Irrfan (Saajan Fernandes). An unusual correspondence soon develops between the two. A tale of love, loss and longing – simply beautiful.