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These Life-Affirming Films Will Help You Escape the Gloom

 These are depressing times we are living in as the world is gripped with the novel coronavirus pandemic. The majority of us are quarantined at home to escape the virus and right now it has shown no signs of slowing down. At times like these, when everything appears hopeless and grim, all of us need something to raise our spirits. Perhaps, his is the ideal time to find comfort in a few feel-good movies and completely distract yourself from all the negativity in the world.

In this article, we present some genuine life-affirming, happy films that are certain to lift your mood in these gloomy days. They are uplifting, inspiring, and escapist – just the kind of entertainment we deserve right now. 

1. The Breakfast Club (1985)

A true feel-good classic, 'The Breakfast Club' featured an ensemble cast with unforgettable performances from Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy. The movie was about a group of high school students serving Saturday detention under the supervision of the assistant principal.

Interestingly, each of these students has different personalities – “a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal”– but over the course of the day the characters begin to bond and realize they have much in common. These little character interactions form the core of the film and the genuine way they connect as a group makes 'The Breakfast Club' a lovely and refreshing story with plenty of heart.

2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Don’t we all fantasize about chucking our responsibilities once in a while and simply enjoy life to the fullest? Well, that’s what the 1986-film 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' was all about. Starring Matthew Broderick, the story is centered on how a high school boy bunks school for the day to spend an adventurous and fun-filled day with his best friends.

The premise might sound a tad flimsy, but the movie was so well made and honest that it touched a chord with everyone who felt the same way about life. It is an inspiring and moving film that teaches us that there’s more to life than just following our daily routine and that breaking free once in a while is indeed essential.

3. Good Will Hunting (1997)

It is more than likely that you must have already heard of this film. 'Good Will Hunting' is an immensely popular film from the 90s that propelled Ben Affleck and Matt Damon to stardom as they were the co-writers (and actors) of this Oscar-winning script.

This is the story of a math genius custodian from South Boston named Will Hunting (Damon) who has always been living in the slums and doesn't realize his true potential. He meets a brilliant math professor (Robin Williams) who discovers Will’s gifts and pushes him on to explore his talents. There is beauty, poignancy, and hope in 'Good Will Hunting', and it portrays the glory of the human spirit like very films have.

4. Free Willy (1993)

When was the last time you watched 'Free Willy'? It was quite popular back when it had released in 1993 and is still a delightful family-friendly film to watch, especially with a kid. The environmentally-minded drama was the story of a foster child named Jesse and his adorable relationship with an ill-tempered orca, Willy, at a marine amusement park.

Jesse learns that Willy has been brought from the nearby Pacific coastal waters and slowly realizes that he must free the poor whale to send him home. It is an uplifting story and the theme to free captive animals is certainly something that will make us think. Kids, particularly animal lovers, will really enjoy this movie.

5. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

There cannot be a better inspiring film than this one. 2006's 'The Pursuit of Happyness' was a real-life story starring Will Smith playing the role of Chris Gardner, a homeless man who went on to become a multi-millionaire investor. In the movie, Will Smith’s character struggles through different jobs, becomes homeless, is left by his wife, and yet manages to raise his son (played by Smith's real-life son Jaden Smith).

Because of the extreme financial strains on them, the two sometimes spend the night in train stations and at times seek shelter homes. Against all the odds, Chris keeps pushing hard and manages to turn his life around. This is a really motivational and stirring film and has several feel-good and touching elements. You will not just learn a lesson in perseverance, but will also feel how tough the job of a parent can be. The fact that the film is based on a true rags-to-riches story makes it even better.

6. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Many of us mistake this to be a Christmas-only film. However, 'It's a Wonderful Life' is such a wholesome family movie you shouldn’t have to wait until the Christmas season to watch it. This 1946 seasonal classic narrates the story of a man who, overwhelmed by life's trials, wants to end it all. However, just as he is about to end his life, he is visited by an angel from heaven who shows him what life would have been like if he had never existed. The man learns the kind of positive impact he has had on his town, family, and friends and thus sees life in a whole new positive light.

While many of us have already watched this timeless classic plenty of times, there cannot be a better time than now, when everything around us feels so hopeless and depressing, to watch 'It's a Wonderful Life' yet again. It warms the cockles of our hearts like nothing else.

7. Up (2009)

Yes, this is an animated film. But this is such a sweet, warm and heartening story that you are bound to be in tears by the end of it. 'Up' is the tale of Carl Fredricksen, a septuagenarian balloon salesman, who had always wanted to travel to South America with his beloved wife. Unfortunately, she passes away and his dream remains unfulfilled. Carl has almost given up on life and doesn't like interacting with people anymore. Little does Carl know that his life is about to change as he meets an eight-year-old wilderness explorer named Russell and together with him, he embarks on an unreal adventure to accomplish his lifelong dream.  

'Up' has flawless animation, great comedy, and lots of adventure. But most importantly, it has a lot of heart and an important message about never giving up on your dreams. This film is pure, unadulterated joy and is a must for all ages.

8. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Clean family films rarely get as good as this one. 'Little Miss Sunshine' is a bundle of hope and joy. The plot is about how an oddball family rallies behind their 7-year-old daughter to get her into the finals of a beauty pageant. For this, they must take a cross-country trip in their VW bus, which leads to a number of hilarious and heartwarming situations.

Starring Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano, Toni Collette, and Steve Carell, this movie shows us that dreams and fantasies are important, but so are the pure beauty of family and togetherness. Do take this joyride. 

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