The Transformative Magic of Movies: A Gateway to Happiness (a list of 20 movies about happiness)

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Movies have an extraordinary ability to transport us to different worlds, evoke a myriad of emotions, and leave an indelible impact on our lives. Beyond mere entertainment, films have the power to profoundly influence our happiness and well-being. Let’s explore the ways in which movies contribute to our joy and the positive effects they have on our mental and emotional states.

Escape from Reality

Life can be demanding, and we all encounter stress and challenges. Movies offer a temporary escape from the complexities of everyday life, allowing us to immerse ourselves in captivating narratives that transport us to distant galaxies, historical eras, or fantasy realms. This break from reality provides a valuable mental respite, offering a chance to unwind and reset.

Emotional Catharsis

Movies have the ability to stir a wide range of emotions, from laughter to tears and everything in between. This emotional journey serves as a form of catharsis, allowing us to release pent-up feelings and experience a therapeutic release. Whether it’s a heartfelt drama, a hilarious comedy, or an inspiring tale of triumph, the emotional resonance of movies can leave us feeling lighter and more connected to our humanity.

Inspiration and Empowerment

Many films are crafted to inspire and empower audiences. They tell stories of resilience, courage, and triumph over adversity. These narratives can serve as a source of motivation, encouraging viewers to overcome their own challenges and pursue their dreams. Inspirational movies often leave a lasting imprint on our psyche, fostering a positive outlook on life.

Shared Experiences

Watching movies is often a communal activity, whether it’s a family movie night, a date at the cinema, or a gathering with friends. Sharing these experiences strengthens social bonds and creates lasting memories. The joy derived from collectively enjoying a film enhances our sense of connection with others, contributing to a deeper sense of happiness and fulfilment.

Cultural Exploration

Movies provide a window into different cultures, perspectives, and ways of life. Through storytelling, we can gain a better understanding of the world around us, fostering empathy and tolerance. Exploring diverse narratives broadens our horizons and contributes to personal growth, enhancing our overall sense of happiness through a richer understanding of the human experience.

Nostalgia and Comfort

Certain movies have the power to evoke a sense of nostalgia, transporting us back to cherished moments in our past. Whether it’s a childhood favourite or a film that holds sentimental value, the comfort derived from revisiting these cinematic treasures can be a powerful source of happiness, offering a reminder of simpler times and cherished memories.

In conclusion, movies are not merely a form of entertainment; they are a powerful medium that can significantly impact our happiness. Through escapism, emotional catharsis, inspiration, shared experiences, cultural exploration, and nostalgia, films contribute to our overall well-being, providing a welcome escape and adding a touch of magic to our lives. So, the next time you’re in need of a mood boost, consider indulging in the transformative power of movies.

My list of 20 movies to boost your happiness

It’s a wonderful life

“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) is a classic American Christmas fantasy drama directed by Frank Capra. The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his personal dreams to help others in his community and is facing financial ruin and arrest. On Christmas Eve, deeply disillusioned, he contemplates suicide. However, his plan is interrupted by his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody, who shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be if he had never been born. The movie is renowned for its heartwarming and uplifting message about the impact one person can have on the lives of others.

The sound of music

“The Sound of Music” (1965) is a beloved musical film set in Austria during the late 1930s. It tells the story of Maria, a free-spirited young woman who leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the seven children of a strict, widowed naval officer, Captain von Trapp. As Maria brings music and joy back into the lives of the family, she falls in love with the Captain. The film beautifully intertwines romance, music, and drama, set against the looming backdrop of the Nazi annexation of Austria. Featuring iconic songs like “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” and “Edelweiss,” this classic film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The Miracle Worker

“The Miracle Worker” is a dramatic film based on the true story of Helen Keller, a young girl left blind and deaf after an illness in her infancy, and her teacher Annie Sullivan. The film portrays the transformative journey of Helen, played by Patty Duke, as she learns to communicate with the world through the dedicated and often challenging efforts of her teacher, Annie, portrayed by Anne Bancroft. The movie vividly depicts the breakthrough moment when Helen understands the concept of language, linking the word “water” with the actual substance. This breakthrough is a testament to the perseverance and innovative teaching methods of Sullivan. The film is celebrated for its powerful performances and its inspiring story of overcoming incredible odds through determination and patience.

Groundhog Day

“Groundhog Day” is a 1993 comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. The story revolves around Phil Connors (played by Murray), a cynical and egocentric TV weatherman who finds himself reliving the same day, Groundhog Day, over and over again in the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Initially bewildered and frustrated, Phil exploits the situation for personal gain, but gradually he evolves, learning valuable life lessons about love, kindness, and self-improvement. The movie blends humor with a deeper message about the power of personal transformation and the importance of living each day to its fullest.

The Pursuit of Happyness

“The Pursuit of Happyness” is a biographical drama film released in 2006. It tells the inspiring true story of Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith. Gardner is a struggling salesman who faces numerous challenges, including homelessness, while trying to provide for his young son, portrayed by Smith’s real-life son, Jaden Smith. Set in San Francisco in the 1980s, the film showcases Gardner’s year-long journey of overcoming adversity and his pursuit of a better life. The narrative focuses on Gardner’s unpaid internship at a prestigious brokerage firm, his tenacity, and his unwavering determination to achieve his professional and personal dreams despite overwhelming obstacles. The film is renowned for its powerful performances and its heartening message about resilience and the human spirit.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a 2013 adventure comedy film directed by and starring Ben Stiller. The film is an adaptation of James Thurber’s 1939 short story of the same name. It follows the life of Walter Mitty, a daydreamer who escapes his mundane life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance, and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, Walter embarks on a real-life adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. The movie blends humor with a sense of wonder and explores themes of courage, self-discovery, and the breaking free of limitations.


“Amélie,” also known as “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain,” is a French romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and released in 2001. The film is set in Paris and follows Amélie Poulain, a young woman with a unique imagination and a keen sense of justice. Having grown up isolated from other children, Amélie develops a whimsical and quirky perspective on life. As an adult, she decides to bring happiness to others through a series of intricate and playful schemes. Her journey of self-discovery and her interactions with a variety of eccentric characters lead her to ultimately find her own happiness. The film is known for its visually distinctive style, heartwarming narrative, and the charming performance of Audrey Tautou as Amélie.


“Up” is a heartwarming and adventurous animated film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures in 2009. The story follows the journey of Carl Fredricksen, a widowed, grumpy 78-year-old balloon salesman who fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies to the South American wilderness. However, his plans are unexpectedly complicated by the presence of Russell, an earnest and overly-optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer scout who inadvertently becomes a stowaway. As they embark on their adventure, they encounter talking dogs, an exotic bird named Kevin, and face the villainous explorer Charles Muntz. The film explores themes of friendship, dreams, loss, and moving on from the past, all wrapped up in a visually stunning and emotionally engaging narrative.

Singin’ in the Rain

“Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) is a classic Hollywood musical comedy, renowned for its joyful energy, vibrant dance numbers, and memorable music. Set in the late 1920s, the film portrays the transition from silent movies to talkies. It centers on the romantic and professional lives of Don Lockwood, a popular silent film star, and Lina Lamont, his frequent co-star. When their latest film is converted into a musical to keep up with changing times, Lina’s unpleasant voice poses a problem. Kathy Selden, a talented aspiring actress, is brought in to secretly provide a voice for Lina. The film is famous for its titular song and dance sequence performed by Gene Kelly, where he joyously dances through the streets in the pouring rain. The film is celebrated for its lighthearted take on Hollywood history, spectacular choreography, and its portrayal of the challenges and changes during a pivotal era in film history.


“Big” (1988) is a fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Penny Marshall. The movie tells the story of a 12-year-old boy, Josh Baskin, who makes a wish to be “big” at a magical fortune-telling machine. He wakes up the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult man. Played by Tom Hanks, adult Josh navigates the complexities of adulthood, including working at a toy company, while trying to find a way to return to his true age. The film explores themes of childhood, adulthood, and the challenges of growing up, all while providing a heartwarming and humorous look at life through the eyes of a child in an adult’s world. “Big” is well-known for its iconic piano scene and Hanks’ critically acclaimed performance.

Little Miss Sunshine

“Little Miss Sunshine” is a heartwarming and quirky comedy-drama film that revolves around the Hoover family’s bittersweet road trip. The plot centers on a young girl named Olive, who dreams of winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. To support her, her dysfunctional family embarks on a cross-country journey in their old Volkswagen van. The family includes Olive’s overworked mother, a motivational speaker father striving to achieve success, a silent brother, a suicidal uncle, and a heroin-snorting grandfather. The film humorously and poignantly portrays their struggles, relationships, and personal growth, leading to an unforgettable climax at the beauty pageant. With its blend of dark comedy and touching moments, “Little Miss Sunshine” delivers a unique and memorable cinematic experience.

The Bucket List

“The Bucket List” (2007) is a heartwarming comedy-drama film directed by Rob Reiner. It stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two terminally ill men, Edward Cole and Carter Chambers, respectively. From different walks of life, they meet in a hospital room where they are both being treated for cancer. Despite their initial differences, they form an unlikely friendship. Together, they decide to embark on a road trip with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket,” hence the title. The movie explores themes of life, friendship, and the pursuit of happiness as the two characters check off items from their bucket list, leading to a series of adventures and poignant moments.

Eat Pray Love

“Eat Pray Love” (2010) is a romantic drama film based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir of the same name. It stars Julia Roberts as Gilbert, a modern woman on a quest to rediscover and reconnect with her true inner self after a painful divorce. Embarking on a journey around the world, she experiences the pleasures of food in Italy (Eat), the power of prayer in India (Pray), and the inner peace and balance of true love in Indonesia (Love). The film explores themes of self-discovery, healing, and the search for true happiness. Directed by Ryan Murphy, it blends a visually rich travelogue with a profound personal journey, making it a captivating story about a woman’s search for meaning in her life.

Life is Beautiful

“Life is Beautiful” (1997) is an Italian tragicomedy directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. The film tells the story of a Jewish Italian bookshop owner, Guido Orefice, who uses his fertile imagination to shield his son from the horrors of internment in a Nazi concentration camp. The film is notable for its blend of humor, tragedy, and romance, and is set against the backdrop of World War II. Benigni’s character creates a playful fantasy world to protect his son’s innocence amidst the brutal reality of the Holocaust. The film is a poignant story of love, family, and the resilience of the human spirit.

A Beautiful Mind

“A Beautiful Mind” (2001) is a biographical drama film directed by Ron Howard. It’s based on the life of John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician, and Nobel Laureate in Economics. The story follows Nash’s journey from his early years at Princeton University, where he develops a groundbreaking economic theory, through his struggles with schizophrenia. The narrative beautifully intertwines Nash’s mathematical achievements and his harrowing experiences with mental illness. The film is noted for its exploration of the fine line between genius and madness, and the impact of Nash’s condition on his career and personal life. Starring Russell Crowe as John Nash, the film received critical acclaim for its direction, screenplay, and Crowe’s performance. It won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Pay It Forward

“Pay It Forward” (2000) is a drama film centered around a unique social movement initiated by a young boy named Trevor McKinney. Inspired by his social studies teacher’s assignment to think of an idea to change the world, Trevor conceives a plan based on the principle of “paying it forward.” This concept involves doing a good deed for three people and instead of expecting anything in return, asking each recipient to ‘pay it forward’ by helping three other people. The film intertwines various stories of kindness and explores the ripple effects of Trevor’s idea, showcasing how a single act of kindness can spread far and wide, profoundly impacting people’s lives. The movie is a heartwarming narrative that highlights the power of compassion and the potential of an individual to inspire change in society.

Good Will Hunting

“Good Will Hunting” (1997) is a drama film directed by Gus Van Sant. It stars Matt Damon as Will Hunting, a young janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an extraordinary intellect, especially in mathematics. Despite his genius, Will’s rough past and emotional wounds lead him to clash with authorities and undermine his own bright future. After assaulting a police officer, Will is mandated to undergo therapy and is taken under the wing of Dr. Sean Maguire, played by Robin Williams. The film explores themes of potential, self-discovery, and the psychological impacts of one’s past. It’s notable for its poignant script, co-written by Damon and Ben Affleck, who also appears in the film. The movie received critical acclaim, particularly for its acting and script, winning two Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay for Damon and Affleck, and Best Supporting Actor for Williams.

The Secret Garden

“The Secret Garden” (1993) is a film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic 1911 novel of the same name. The story revolves around Mary Lennox, a young British girl born and raised in India. After the sudden death of her parents, Mary is sent to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven, in a remote, gloomy mansion in the Yorkshire moors of England. Here, she discovers a locked, neglected garden that once belonged to her late aunt. With the help of a local boy named Dickon and her sickly cousin Colin, Mary begins to bring the garden back to life. The film explores themes of healing and transformation as the garden’s revival helps rejuvenate not just the land but also the lives of those around it. The movie is known for its beautiful cinematography and enchanting storytelling, capturing the magic and mystery of the garden.

Julie & Julia

“Julie & Julia” (2009) is a charming comedy-drama that intertwines the lives of two women connected through their love of cooking. The film follows Julie Powell, a young New Yorker who aspires to add some purpose to her life. She embarks on a daring project to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s iconic cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” in one year, and blogs about her experiences. In a parallel storyline set in the 1950s, the film also portrays Julia Child’s own journey in the world of French cuisine, showcasing her culinary training and the challenges she faced in publishing her famous cookbook. The movie is a delightful tribute to the power of food and passion, as both women find joy and fulfillment in their culinary adventures.

The Shack

“The Shack” (2017) is a drama film based on the 2007 novel of the same name by William P. Young. The story revolves around Mack Phillips, a man suffering from deep emotional pain and spiritual crisis after the tragic loss of his youngest daughter, Missy. Plagued by a crisis of faith, Mack receives a mysterious invitation to visit an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack, where he encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa. Through this meeting, Mack finds important truths about himself, his understanding of God, and his relationships, leading him on a transformative journey towards healing and acceptance. The film blends elements of drama, spirituality, and fantasy, exploring themes of faith, forgiveness, and redemption.

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Luca is the founder of No, it’s not a he, but a she and she’s not Italian but Romanian. She’s currently based in sunny Portugal and in her past life she was a world traveling fashion model jumping from one exotic location to the next. Her motto in life is that the world is a book – the more you see the better the story. While she has a great interest for fashion and travel, her love for people is greater. She is a certificated coach in positive psychology and a happiness trainer. On top of that, a proud mom of twins. She thinks being a mom is the most challenging, difficult and definitely most rewarding jobs she has ever had.

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