On Friday 15 May one of our Trustees, Ellie, had a chat with BBC Radio Humberside’s Burnsy, in the latest of our semi-regular project working with the BBC to recommend fantastic films on a different theme. This time, Ellie was discussing films that meet the idea of being ‘feelgood films’.
This project takes in a wider range of films than we might normally show at HIC, with Hollywood blockbusters and mainstream drama, comedy or animation alongside classics, lesser-known titles and foreign language gems. You can listen again to Ellie’s interview using the audio player below, and more details about the films she chose follow.
First up is TEEN SPIRIT, a film that received its local premiere at Hull Film Festival 2019. Directed by Max Minghella, the film tells the story of seventeen-year-old Violet, played by Elle Fanning. Violet lives with her mother on a small farm on the Isle of Wight, keeping to herself, but dreams of pop stardom. When Vlad, a burnt-out opera singer, hears Violet’s voice, he persuades her to try out for a musical talent show, but he and Violet have to learn to stick together as Vlad deals with his own demons. It’s a familiar tale, but with Minghella’s tight direction and a great performance by Fanning, and with a pop-fuelled soundtrack, it’s a modern and stylish take on the tale. Find out where to watch TEEN SPIRIT here.
Next it’s an all-time classic, consistently rated one of the best films ever, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN from 1952. Starring Gene Kelly, who also directs alongside Stanley Donen, this toe-tapping masterpiece is set in 1927 Hollywood. Don Lockwood (Kelly) is a big silent movie star, but as cinema moves to sound his career is threatened. Audiences react badly when they first hear his regular co-star, Lina (Jean Hagen), on screen, and the studio makes matters worse when they decide to use a young singer Don has fallen for to dub Lina’s voice. With comedy, romance, great songs and lavish dance routines, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is once of the most successful musicals ever filmed. Find out where to watch SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN here.
Next it’s a slice of adventure and fantasy in the shape of THE PRINCESS BRIDE from 1987. This endlessly quotable classic is based on the book by William Goldman, who wrote the screenplay. It tells the story of Buttercup (Robin Wright), a farm girl who is chosen to be the Prince’s bride. Meanwhile, her former love, Westley (Cary Elwes), who Buttercup believes to be dead, is in fact adventuring his way through pirates, giants, sword fights and wizards to rescue her after she is kidnapped by a motley trio of misfits. With action, suspense and, above all, comedy to go alongside the romance at its heart, THE PRINCESS BRIDE really will appeal to everyone. Find out where to watch THE PRINCESS BRIDE here.
A double bill for our next choice, and back to England for PADDINGTON and PADDINGTON 2. These two films from 2014 and 2017 combine live action with animation and achieved the rare feat of being family-friendly box office successes but also receiving universal critical acclaim and plenty of film awards. With an all-star cast of British talent including Ben Wishaw, Sally Hawkins, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon and many more, the first film tells the familiar story by Michael Bond of a Peruvian bear who travels to England only to become lost and alone before being taken in by the Brown family, while the sequel moves the story on, with Paddington doing odd jobs to save up enough to buy his aunt a birthday present, only to find himself on another adventure when the gift is stolen. Perfect entertainment for kids and adults alike. Use the links to find out where to watch PADDINGTON and PADDINGTON 2.
Our final feel-good film is AMÉLIE, regularly rated as one of the best and most-popular foreign-language films ever. This 2001 romantic fantasy tells the story of Amélie (Audrey Tautou), a young woman who works in a café in Paris and who discovers she has a gift for making other people happy. She brings lovers together, reunites an old man with his childhood toys, befriends lonely neighbours and generally brings joy into people’s lives. When she sets her sights on lonely video store clerk Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz), she realises that she’s been neglecting her own happiness; but will she be able to allow someone else to bring joy into her own life? AMÉLIE won awards by the dozen all over the world and is a much-loved favourite. Find out where to watch AMÉLIE here.