“Hey Dad….want to have a catch?” Cue the waterworks.
That iconic line (and photo) is from one of my all-time favorite movies, Field of Dreams. It never fails to make me cry (in a good way), lift my spirits, and raise my vibe.
Movies can powerfully affect our emotions. In the terrible days after my husband died, stunned by shock and grief, I felt like a hollowed-out shell of myself. I couldn’t sleep or eat, and I couldn’t imagine ever finding joy in life again. Then, the day after the funeral, surrounded by a loving houseful of family, we decided to put on a movie. It couldn’t be anything depressing, and it couldn’t be anything sappy, so we settled on a comedy. We put on Baby Mama, which I had already watched so many times with my daughter we could quote from it.
And then the most amazing thing happened–I laughed. Just a couple hours before, I had been convinced I would never be able to laugh at anything ever again, and now Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were cracking me up as always. I suddenly felt like myself again, for the first time in days. If Baby Mama was still funny, then there was hope. Maybe everything was going to be okay after all. It was incredibly healing.
Coined by Dr. Gary Solomon, “cinematherapy” is the idea that consciously watching uplifting or insightful movies can be therapeutic. We’ve all had the experience of being powerfully moved by a film. And we all know how great it feels to just laugh. The very best movies evoke deep emotions, inspire and uplift us, and make us laugh. (We just saw The Martian last weekend, and it definitely fits the bill!)
I have my own go-to list cinematherapy movies, most of which I’ve watched over and over again. (In the case of Ghostbusters, I know the entire thing by heart and drive my kids nuts reciting the lines along with the movie.) Here are some of my tried-and-true feel-good favorites:
- Groundhog Day
- Field of Dreams
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- Love Actually
- Bridget Jones’ Diary
- Baby Mama
- School of Rock
- Dirty Dancing
I could go on and on with this…these were just off the top of my head, and I’m already realizing I forgot some. (Armageddon! Shaun of the Dead!) Movies are a huge part of my life and bring me a lot of joy.
How about you, lovely readers? Which movies are your feel-good favorites? Share in the comments!