Seven years ago, I was staring at my DVD shelves thinking about the Abraham-Hicks quote: Reach for the better-feeling thought and realised that I’d been collecting films that did that. The idea of a collection of feel-better films was born.
I could see a dozen right there in front of me, but ’12 Feel-better Films’ didn’t have much of ring to it. I needed a figure that started with an ‘f’. Fifteen was soon outgrown, and the next stop was 50. It was to prove an ambitious target. Over the years I was often drawn off on to other projects, but I did at least I worked out a list of criteria to help to decide what could be included.
Finally, I reached the magic number. However, by that time a number of new films had come out that deserved a place in the feel-better Hall of Fame. Others had to be swapped out (Freedom Writers, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, Working Girl and Overboard) to make room for modern movies such as Hidden Figures, The Theory of Everything, and The Martian, but are still worth a mention here. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel showed up an age gap, and The Intern presented itself as an obvious partner to Marigold.
There had to be a late-comer to bring the book as far as possible up to date, and here it is: Wonder, released on DVD in 2018. The films now stretch from the near present back to 1942 with Random Harvest.
The collection includes representatives from the US, UK, France (Ma Vie En Rose), India (Lagaan, Like Stars on Earth and Main Hoon Na), and Australia (Strictly Ballroom). The youngest protagonist is seven years of age and the oldest 70 plus. Research showed that they could be loosely grouped by the top 9 life crises. It’s not just adults that are affected by these. Even the very young can feel the effects of challenging situations or unwelcome changes profoundly. For them, Hercules, Mulan and Happy Feet have been included.
Hercules is the also oldest of the stories on which the films draw, but next is Mulan then Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Lagaan dips into the 19th Century as does Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband. Yentl (the early 1900s), Random Harvest (1918 onward), Born Yesterday (made in 1950), and Corrina, Corrina, harking back to the 1950s, are other examples of those set in the past. Some move between past and present, such as Julie and Julia and Pleasantville. By contrast, The Martian projects into the future yet the main character still faces an emotional crisis with which we can still identify.
Some of the stories are about those in financial straits: Lagaan, Larry Crowne, Baby Boom and, again, Something’s Gotta Give, others have characters who are affluent but have other overwhelming problems: As Good It Gets, An Ideal Husband, Clueless, The Devil Wears Prada, and, again, Something’s Gotta Give.
The goal was to have something for everyone.
Watching a lot of films means you hear a lot of film soundtracks and 50 Feel-better Songs from Films was an obvious next step. I wanted the reader to be able to see all of the clips on YouTube rather than having to buy the movies but not all were available and so ‘and TV’ was included in the title to extend the reach of possible tracks. The
But what about those on a tight budget for whom buying movies or songs was a luxury? Thinking again about the number ‘5’, I went on a hunt for 5 sets of 5: films, songs, poems, wallpapers and books, that are in the public domain or can be enjoyed in full on the internet free of charge: 25 Feel-better Free Downloads. It took a while, and some that were on Youtube were removed at the eleventh hour and had to be replaced. But it’s all accessible at this time of publication. If any links disappear, please let me know so that they can be replaced for a future edition.
Today the three Feel-better Collections are released. The original version of 50 Feel-better Songs also had links to Amazon but due to a technical hitch have been removed. They may be added back in at a later date but were mainly there as a convenience.
If there are films or songs missing from the books that you would like to see in a future review anthology, please let me know by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook/Heypressto. You never know, it might just be the one thing that someone needs, at the moment they see it, to feel better.
Chartreuse is a freelance writer, editor, photographer and promotional videographer. She has written a feel-better film review column for Heath & Happiness Magazine, and is the owner of Heypressto. Chartreuse’ greatest inspiration is Abraham-Hicks. Her favourite quote is ‘You can be, do or have anything you want’.