Do you feel it? The sense that in the midst of what’s already been the craziest year of most of our lives, we might be enjoying our last few days of relative “calm” right now? Be it US election drama or the start of an unusual year-end holiday season, I think the coming weeks will be downright exhausting on every level. Here are 9 movies that might help you escape and find a little peace.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – If you are down on humankind, I recommend this documentary more than any other film on this list. It follows Fred Rogers’ (aka Mr. Rogers) career and talks with family members and cast and crew of his beloved children’s show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, which taught the universal, timeless lessons of empathy and kindness.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 – The joyous sequel to the 2002 smash hit is just the thing to make you laugh and lift your spirits. The original cast is back for more fun as Toula (Nia Vardalos) and her husband Ian (John Corbett) struggle with their rebellious daughter, a family secret is discovered, and the whole crew reunites for another blowout wedding.
The Thing You Do! – First off, this 1996 comedy stars Tom Hanks, who is an immediately calming and comforting presence, am I right? Secondly, you can’t go wrong with a lighthearted tale of a fictional 1960s one-hit-wonder band. And you’ll walk away with a groovy tune in your head for the rest of the night—an Oscar and Golden Globe nominated one at that. It’s a win all around.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – I’m reading The Chamber of Secrets with my son right now, and I can’t wait to watch the second movie with him afterward. Seeing Ron, Hermione and Harry in their youngest years—before the films took a much darker and more mature turn in Prisoner of Azkaban—is a great blast of fun and innocence for the whole family.
The Wedding Singer – I love this movie so much. Yes, it’s a truly sweet love story starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, but what’s best about it is that it’s set in the ‘80s and has one of my favorite soundtracks of all time. From David Bowie to The Culture Club to The Smiths to Elvis Costello and Billy Idol, there are just so many iconic scenes set to classic songs. I think I need to watch it for the 567th time tonight!
The Karate Kid – Anybody else out there into Cobra Kai? If you’re a child of the ‘80s, it’s a must-watch. And so is revisiting the original movie starring Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita and Elisabeth Shue about a new kid in town who rubs local bullies the wrong way. Its themes of patience, respect, resilience and honor resonate now more than ever.
Little Women – This 6-time Oscar nominee from last year is certainly sad in parts, but overall, watching this Civil War era story of sisters coming of age is like settling into a comfy and cozy robe.
Marshall – I’ll end with an inspiring true story that gives me hope during these troubled times. Marshall covers one of the earliest cases in Thurgood Marshall’s (the late Chadwick Boseman) career. Marshall—who would ultimately go on to become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice—teams with a Jewish lawyer (Josh Gad) who’s never argued a criminal case before, and they find themselves battling both racism and anti-Semitism as they attempt to build a defense for their client (Sterling K. Brown).
What other movies help you get through stressful times?