The constant barrage of negative news out there at the moment would wear any sane-minded person down...
There's a lot of uncertainty and anxiety encircling the world – which means that it's more important than ever to give our brains a breather.
Below, we've chosen five films guaranteed to lift your spirits, no matter how many times you've seen them in the past. If it's feel-good escapism you're looking for, you've come to the right place...
BILLY ELLIOT (2000)
If you manage to make it through this film without bawling, you're more stoic than us. Stephen Daldry's story of a tenacious ballet-loving boy set against the 1984/85 miner's strike is both sad and heart-swellingly uplifting, and it manages to strike all the right emotional notes without drifting into sentimentality. It's also got one of the most goosebump-inducing closing scenes of any film. Fact.
Available to buy/rent on YouTube & Google Play
GROUNDHOG DAY (1993)
Feel-good movies don't come much better than this. To be fair, we could have included pretty much any Bill Murray film in this list and it'd have the intended effect - but this early-1990s fantasy rom-com (in which he plays a weatherman stuck in a time loop, forced to live the same day on repeat) has just the right balance of comedy, sweetness and the kind of sarcasm that only Murray could pull off in a wholesome family film. All together now: "Okay campers, rise and shine - and don't forget your booties, 'cos it's cold out there..."
Available to stream on Netflix and to buy on YouTube & Google Play
MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN (1979)
When in doubt, reach for Monty Python. The iconic comedy troupe's finest film outing has aged superbly and remains a classic for all the right reasons: you may have seen it a thousand times, but it still makes you laugh. If for some bizarre reason you haven't yet seen this tale of a young Jewish man by the name of Brian, who is mistaken for the Messiah (he's a very naughty boy) because he was born next door to Jesus, please remedy that immediately – it'll do you the world of good.
Available to stream on Netflix and to buy/rent on YouTube & Google Play
THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY (2001 - 2003)
Okay, so we're cheating a little, here - but it's difficult to separate these films. Many people view the first installment The Fellowship of the Ring as the most inspiring in the trilogy, thanks to its plotline of resilience and friendship. Really, though, all three are a tonic. There are other brilliant fantasy trilogies that we could have included here, like Indiana Jones or Back to the Future or even the original Star Wars – but as far as sheer escapism goes, Peter Jackson creates a world to get lost in that seems more majestic every time we enter it.
Available to stream on Netflix and buy on YouTube
THE BIRDCAGE (1996)
Much like the aforementioned Bill Murray, the late, great Robin Williams has a glut of gems in his filmography that will plant a smile on your face – from Mrs. Doubtfire to emotionally hard-hitting dramas like Good Will Hunting. This 1996 adaptation of 1978's La Cage aux Folles however, simply doesn't get enough mentions on 'upbeat film' lists. Williams plays the gay owner of a drag club in Miami's South Beach, where his partner Starina (Nathan Lane) is the main attraction. When his son announces that he's bringing his new fiancee (the daughter of a conservative Republican senator) and her family to dinner, calamity ensues. As well as demonstrating an important message (don't try to hide who you are), watching Gene Hackman cha-cha his way through a nightclub in full drag just never gets old.
Available to buy/rent on YouTube and Google Play