The 14 Most Comforting Films Of All Time

The ultimate list.

 

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Sure look, it’s needed right now, and whenever you’re sick, sad, tired or stressed. Here are the movies that will make you feel warm and snuggly.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

I watched this the other night, and can confirm it is the perfect antidote to the Covid panic. Escape to a tiny Greek island where everybody is ridiculously good looking, there’s happy music and a sufficient amount of cheese along with light comedy and azure blue seas and skies. I don’t care if you think you don’t like ABBA, you will after this. The first film is decent, but this one is the real MVP.

Bridget Jones’ Diary

Richard Curtis movies, in general, are like a warm hug, particularly Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill. But it’s the Curtis-penned Bridget we turn to here in isolation, because that’ very much how we find our heroine – single, lonely and pining after her bastard boss, all while ignoring the very nice gent that’s right under her nose. Don’t bother with the sequels, they’re awful. Give Bridget a rewatch while wearing your biggest pants.

You’ve Got Mail

A Nora Ephron classic because she’s undoubtedly the Queen of Comfort (see also When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle). I chose You’ve Got Mail because it’s particularly sweet and charming, set as fall turns to winter and then spring on the Upper West Side of New York City, and it will remind you of the days of dial-up internet and instant messaging apps. It’s funny, smart, sweet, romantic and endlessly watchable.

Father of the Bride

I think films from the 90s are comforting because they remind us of a time before we were always connected, when phones were attached to walls and we did simple things like play basketball out the back with our dads. This film has the added bonus of house porn, the joy of a wedding comic foibles and a happy ending. Shout out also to Three Men and a Little Lady for the wedding/dad dynamic.

 

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It’s Complicated

Nancy Meyers is second only to Ephron when it comes to comforting films – the production design alone is a white, middle-class dream world of soft furnishing and exquisite glassware. I chose this film because the cast is perfection – Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin – and the script is funny and poignant, about a divorced couple rekindling their spark and embarking on an affair. See also Home Again, Something’s Gotta Give and Christmas classic, The Holiday.

How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

This is one of those films that is both utterly predictable and utterly joyous. Glossy mag writer Andie pitches an idea that she can lose a guy in 10 days doing all the silly cliched things women do early on in relationships, but the victim she chooses, played by Matthew McConaughey, has just 10 days to find the perfect woman thanks to a wager with his boss. Of course, they’re both rides and their plans are thwarted when actual romance rears its head. Notable for the inclusion of the excellent song You’re So Vain.

Grease

Sometimes you just need the reassurance of an upbeat film you know by heart, and in this scenario, that film is Grease. You likely know all the songs and dance routines since eh, birth, and it’s just jovial enough that you won’t get into a funk while watching it. Become absorbed in the hierarchy of Rydell High and sure look, we’ll forget that the car flies off at the end. See also Dirty Dancing, and pretend you’re isolated at an American holiday camp.

 

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The Full Monty

Why have I included a film about northern English men getting their kit off? Because it’s damn uplifting, that’s why! It follows a group of lads who are out of work thanks to the steelworks in Sheffield closing, and decide to become strippers to make a quick buck while on the dole. Of course, mayhem ensues, but it’s so life-affirming with an absolutely banging soundtrack.

Runaway Bride

When it comes to actresses, Julia Roberts is my comfort blanket, alongside Sandra Bullock and Meg Ryan. The mere sight of her is comforting, with her huge smile and wild hair. This film is an underrated classic about a woman so afraid of commitment, she darts from every wedding she arranges. Richard Gere is the hardheaded columnist that makes her realise the problem isn’t with any of the poor guys she flees from, it’s that she doesn’t know herself well enough. See also My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill and of course, Pretty Woman.

Paddington 2

While the first Paddington film is undeniably also excellent, it’s Hugh Grant’s star return in the sequel that makes it so brilliant. Little Paddington has come a long way from Peru and is happy out living with the Browns, but he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit and ends up in the slammer. There’s a prison break, escape from a moving train and a fantastic villain in Grant – fun for all the family.

The Snapper

Irish wit, iconic one-liners, a pregnancy whodunnit, all set in the heady backdrop of Dublin during Italia 90 – it’s just a recipe for success. The Cure;y family is sent into disarray when eldest daughter Sharon announces she’s pregnant, and she’s not saying who the dad is. Colm Meaney is brilliant as her horrified father, and it’s one of those films you can recite the lines to but still laugh every time you watch it. Ditto The Commitments.

The Proposal

Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are a dream team in this rom com. Spoilt book editor Margaret is about to be deported to Canada thanks to her expired visa, so she convinces her assistant Andrew to marry her so she can stay. He takes her to beautiful remote Alaska to meet his family so it’s more convincing, and of course, sparks fly even though they claim to hate one another. Gorgeous scenery, a cute dog and a sharp script make this a winner. Bullock fans will also devour Divine Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood and Miss Congeniality. 

 

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Julie and Julia

What could be more comforting than a film about comfort food? French, cordon bleu standard comfort food nonetheless, with heaps of butter, cream, wine and pastry. Julie feels like her life is going nowhere, and she has perhaps the most depressing job of all time working in a post 9/11 call centre, so she sets herself the challenge to make all of Julia Childs’ recipes, and chronicles them on a blog. Her story is mirrored by Julia’s own experience decades earlier. It’s gorgeous (and also by Queen Nora Ephron).

Circle of Friends

What’s more comforting than a Maeve Binchy book? A film based on a Maeve Binchy book! It’s so warm and cosy that you don’t even care that basically all the actors are British or American doing frankly hideous Irish accents. It looks beautiful, with its 1950s Dublin setting and fraught sexual tensions between the teen stars, and you cant bate Minnie Driver asking Chris O’Donnell if he’s ever gone all the way with a girl.

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