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Feeling Blue? Here are five uplifting films that are guaranteed to cheer you up


“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Robin Williams

As any lover of good cinema will know, a great film has the power to transport the viewer into a totally new plain of contemplation, making you feel motivated and inspired, or indeed glum and melancholy. Often, filmmakers will become known for their fondness to inspire either feeling, with the likes of Lars von Trier and Darren Aronofsky famous for their dark tones, whilst Richard Curtis and John Hughes represent the opposite side of this coin. 

Occurring just after the dawn of the new year, ‘Blue Monday’ is thought to be ‘the most depressing day of the year’ thanks to a bizarre mathematical calculation by Cliff Arnall, a tutor at the University of Cardiff. With the weather still bitterly cold (in the Northern hemisphere) and the thrill of Christmas having recently passed, there’s no wonder the third Monday of January is recognised as the year’s most depressing date. 

With the hope of Spring a comforting inevitability, the winter blues certainly do pass as the year goes on and the days get longer and brighter, though until then we have devised some ways of cheering you up. As well as a collection of 40 songs that will lift your mood this January, we have also set out to raise your spirits with our shortlist of films that will be more sure to put a smile on your face.

Five films that are guaranteed to cheer you up:

Airplane! (David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, 1980)

There’s nothing like a good comedy when you’re feeling glum, and arguably there’s no better film than the spoof, Airplane! directed by the influential comedy directors, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams.

Starring the great Leslie Nielsen, the film is a slapstick, joyride that remains as funny today as it was when it was released in 1980. Following the comedy antics that take place after a whole plane is brought down by food poisoning, a troubled war hero is forced to take the controls and bring the aeroplane to safety. Despite comedy having come so far since the 1980s, it’s remarkable just how funny Airplane! still is, forever changing the landscape of the spoof film.

Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)

Perhaps the biggest international film success ever to come out of France, Amelie tells the quaint and charming tale of a young woman who decides to help those around her whilst pursuing a loving relationship herself.

With Audrey Tautou in the influential lead role, Amelie became an iconic 21st-century film that (rightly or wrongly) became synonymous with French filmmaking. Colourful, sweet, romantic and kooky, the film was inspired by the likes of filmmakers such as Louis Malle and his film Zazie dans le Métro, before it would go on to set the tone for romance films in the 21st century, no doubt having a hand in the making of 500 Days of Summer.

Gregory’s Girl (Bill Forsyth, 1981)

From one of the most iconic and aesthetically pleasing romantic comedies of all time, to perhaps the smallest and most grainy, with Bill Forsyth’s charming recollection of young love in Gregory’s Girl sure to put a smile on your face. 

Known as one of the most influential films of British cinema, Gregory’s Girl starred a cast of non-professional actors as schoolboys and girls trying to navigate the challenges of adolescence in Cumbernauld, Scotland. With several moments of genuine heart and obscure humour, Forsyth’s film remains a joy to watch and behold, certainly ranking among the very best coming-of-age films of all time.

Paddington 2 (Paul King, 2017)

You’d be hard-pressed to find an animated film quite as charming and uplifting as Paul King’s Paddington 2, a film that has famously captured the hearts and minds of young and old since its release in 2017. 

Based on the original children’s books by Michael Bond, the film stars Ben Whishaw as the titular marmalade-loving bear, and is joined by the likes of Sally Hawkins, Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson in the supporting cast. Thanks to Whishaw’s terrific voice performance and the loving story crafted by screenwriters Paul King and Simon Farnaby, Paddington 2 has become known as one of the most unlikely modern classics of feel-good cinema. 

School of Rock (Richard Linklater, 2003)

Director Richard Linklater has enjoyed a flourishing career of consistent success, from the likes of Dazed and Confused to Waking Life, though perhaps it is his 2003 Hollywood classic, School of Rock that remains his very best.

Capturing the sheer magic of Jack Black in the lead role, Linklater creates one of the most feel-good films of all time, following a supply teacher who inspires a class to start a rock band. Entering the zeitgeist at the start of the 21st century, School of Rock is an utter joy from start to finish, with several moments of hilarious comedy and a surprising amount of original songs that will get you rocking around your living room.