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Nine comfort films you just have to watch this Winter

There are certain films we always love revisiting or wish we could watch for the first time again. Sayoni Ghosh lists nine timeless classics that are just as comforting as the first time we watched them. Read her intricate review of her comfort films below.

By Sayoni Ghosh, MA English

There are certain films we always love revisiting or wish we could watch for the first time again. Given the choice of whether to revisit an old favourite or to watch something new, 90 per cent of the time, I will re-watch a film that holds a special place in my heart. Don’t we all have certain scenes from movies that we have watched that live rent-free in our minds?

As we equip ourselves for the callous December weather in Bristol, here are some feel-good movies that feel like a warm hug.

Love Actually (2003) // Courtesy of IMDB

Serendipity (2001)

Talk about believing in fate and destiny. Serendipity, directed by Peter Chelsom and starring John Cusack (once king of the romcom genre) and Kate Beckinsale, managed to convince me that if there is someone out there who is meant to be my soulmate, there is no force that will stop us from coming together.

Jonathan and Sara cannot help but acknowledge the attraction they have for each other, and Sara is adamant in believing that life offers everyone little signals that may help in finding our true destination through happy chances. She believes that even after she and Jonathan separate, they will meet again if they are meant to be together.

Like dropping a coin in a wishing well, this movie, set in the backdrop of a festive New York City, will take you on a charming ride, showing you what it feels like when luck, by chance, comes to fruition.

Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack in Serendipity (2001) // Courtesy of Miramax on IMDB

Little Women (2019)

Greta Gerwig’s take on Louisa May Alcott’s canonical classic gives a much deeper and soulful context on all four sisters, especially Jo (Saoirse Ronan) and Amy (Florence Pugh). While Emma Watson’s inconsistent accent as Meg felt a bit jarring at times, there are no flaws in casting that I can point out.

The golden tones of the past which symbolise childhood innocence and possibilities, versus the cool tones of the present that symbolise isolated adulthood, always make me feel nostalgic about the good old days.

Eliza Scanlen, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson and Florence Pugh in Little Women (2019) // Courtesy of IMDB

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

Whenever I see a large wardrobe or closet in someone’s house, I still have this childlike hope in me that it may open a portal to another world, only if I believe hard enough.

The first-ever adaptation of C. S. Lewis’s fantasy novel for children visually elevated its source material by showing the journey of the Pevensie siblings as they fight to save the world of Narnia from the cruel and icy touch of the White Witch (Tilda Swinton).

Perfect casting, unforgettable music, and the exquisite setting of the world of Narnia will open the doors to a ceaseless imagination.

William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, and Georgie Henley in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) // Courtesy of Phil Bray/Disney Inc. on IMDB

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

Director Tim Burton never fails to pull me into his fantastical world of whimsical characters, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of his quirky masterpieces that often goes underappreciated due to the original adaptation, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971).

If I ever have children and I want to show them what happens to naughty and spoiled kids, I will show them this movie.

This film is also a treat for Depp’s performance as the famous chocolatier, who gives such borderline creepy vibes that I would love to do a psychoanalytic criticism of his character.

Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (2005) // Courtesy of Warner Bros. on IMDB

Harry Potter Complete Series (2001-2011)

This needs no introduction. This is the best book-to-movie adaptation ever made, in my opinion. Rowling’s world of magic has millions of fans revisiting the series even today. At one point in our lives, haven’t we all deeply wished and hoped that we would also one day receive an acceptance letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?

A cup of hot cocoa and your favourite blanket is all you need to sit cosily and go on a Harry Potter movie marathon.

My favourite film from the series, which I always love going back to, is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).

Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, and Emma Watson in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) // Courtesy of Warner Bros. on IMDB

Knives Out (2019)

Usually, mystery films are the best when watched for the first time, but Rian Johnson’s directorial Knives Out gives me such a satisfying and cathartic experience that I love re-watching it whenever I’m in the mood for a good detective movie with a humorous twist.

With the sequel releasing soon, it would be a good idea to explore the characters in Detective Blanc’s universe so that we can give smart guesses as to who the killer is in his next case.

Daniel Craig as Detective Blanc in Knives Out (2019) // Courtesy of IMDB

Cinderella (2015)

Cinderella is the best live-action Disney princess movie, in my opinion. Not only is it a visually stunning film with intricate costumes, heart-touching music and applaudable performances from its main cast, but it also explores themes of loss, love, determination, resilience and empowerment maturely.

This is not another damsel in distress movie. Director Kenneth Branagh makes it a point to refine the old fable and, at the same time, preserve its romantic charm.

‘Have courage and be kind.’ This quote by Ella’s mother has stayed with me even after seven years of its release.
Richard Madden and Lily James in Cinderella (2015) // Courtesy of Jonathan Olley/Disney Studios on IMDB

Matilda (1996)

Roald Dahl’s stories have clearly made an impact on my childhood, as this is the second movie from his long list of adaptations that I am recommending. The movie follows the story of a six-year-old girl, Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson), born into a highly negligent family. It is her passion for reading and books that leads her to discover something special inside her, which enables her to stand up against those who do her wrong.

As an adult, when I look back at this film, I am amazed at how it handles childhood trauma, not just in Matilda’s character but also in her teacher, Miss Honey, who shows viewers the journey of healing and helping those who have had similar experiences.

Courtesy of IMDB

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

It would be impossible for me not to include a musical while talking about comfort films. Co-written by Roald Dahl and directed by Ken Hughes, this movie follows Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke), a poor inventor of oddball machines who rebuilds a race car for the happiness of his two children. But after the car is given a name and a personality, we see that this is no ordinary old race car; it is an automobile that takes viewers on a roller coaster ride with its fable.

Dick Van Dyke, Adrian Hall, Sally Ann Howes, and Heather Ripley in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) // Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios on IMDB

Other honourable mentions include:

  • Pixar movies
  • Any film produced by Studio Ghibli

Featured Image: IMDB

What films do you revisit time and time again?