Life-affirming Films

Movies that allow the viewer to appreciate life, think of these as more nuanced - perhaps sadder - than a typical 'feel good' film.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
50/50 (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. (100 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Levine
 
2.
A Walk to Remember (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The story of two North Carolina teens, Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan, who are thrown together after Landon gets into trouble and is made to do community service. (101 mins.)
Director: Adam Shankman
 
3.
The Painted Veil (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A British medical doctor fights a cholera epidemic in a small Chinese village, while being trapped at home in a loveless marriage to an unfaithful wife. (125 mins.)
Director: John Curran
 
4.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
After John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician, accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish. (135 mins.)
Director: Ron Howard
 
5.
Into the Wild (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life. (148 mins.)
Director: Sean Penn
 
6.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life. (126 mins.)
Director: Gus Van Sant
 
7.
Garden State (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A quietly troubled young man returns home for his mother's funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade. (102 mins.)
Director: Zach Braff
 
8.
Lost in Translation (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo. (102 mins.)
Director: Sofia Coppola
 
9.
Cast Away (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A FedEx executive must transform himself physically and emotionally to survive a crash landing on a deserted island. (143 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
 
10.
The Green Mile (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift. (189 mins.)
Director: Frank Darabont
 
11.
The Notebook (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences. (123 mins.)
Director: Nick Cassavetes
 
12.
Sideways (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Two men reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment embark on a week-long road trip through California's wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle. (126 mins.)
Director: Alexander Payne
 
13.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients. (133 mins.)
Director: Milos Forman
 
14.
The Straight Story (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An old man makes a long journey by lawn-mover tractor to mend his relationship with an ill brother. (112 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
15.
Life Is Beautiful (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp. (116 mins.)
Director: Roberto Benigni
 
16.
Once (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A modern-day musical about a busker and an immigrant and their eventful week in Dublin, as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story. (85 mins.)
Director: John Carney
 
17.
The Station Agent (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When his only friend dies, a man born with dwarfism moves to rural New Jersey to live a life of solitude, only to meet a chatty hot dog vendor and a woman dealing with her own personal loss. (89 mins.)
Director: Tom McCarthy
 
18.
The Kite Runner (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
After spending years in California, Amir returns to his homeland in Afghanistan to help his old friend Hassan, whose son is in trouble. (128 mins.)
Director: Marc Forster
 
19.
Ghost (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
After a young man is murdered, his spirit stays behind to warn his lover of impending danger, with the help of a reluctant psychic. (127 mins.)
Director: Jerry Zucker
 
20.
Meet Joe Black (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Death, who takes the form of a young man, asks a media mogul to act as a guide to teach him about life on Earth and in the process he falls in love with his guide's daughter. (178 mins.)
Director: Martin Brest
 
21.
My Girl (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A young girl, on the threshold of her teen years, finds her life turning upside down, when she is accompanied by an unlikely friend. (102 mins.)
Director: Howard Zieff
 
22.
Parked (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Fred Daly returns to Ireland with nowhere to live but his car. Then dope-smoking 21-year-old Cathal parks beside him... (94 mins.)
Director: Darragh Byrne