You most likely haven’t heard of these movies. If you have then I applaud you because you would know exactly what I mean. Before we get started on what Top 5 Happy Movies, let me describe to you what I think of as a happy film.
Happiness is an incredibly subjective construct. I’m awfully sure you and I have vastly different ideas of what makes us happy. But what does unify us is our shared belief in triumph, honour, respect and truth. When we showcase our authenticity, when we become vulnerable by shedding our skins, we enable ourselves to grow more ourselves and thus become happier. These films emulate that aspect of our humanity whereby we immerse ourselves as the protagonist and by virtue of the magic of film, we walk in the footsteps of these brave people. When we watch these films, we are gently reminded of this humanity within ourselves and as I would argue, makes us more in touch with ourselves. It makes you feel alive!
The Top 5 Happy Movies are presented in no particular order.
1. Whale Rider
This is a story of Pai, a 12 year old girl who struggles against traditionalism and a patriarchal Maori community in New Zealand. Pai is rightfully next in line to be the leader, but after her brother dies, the community including her grandfather struggle to acknowledge her as leader because she’s not the first-born male in the family.
2. Gran Torino
It's classic Clint Eastwood. He produced and directed this amazing feature with non-professional actors. It's a story of an old man (Walt, played by him) and their Hmong next door neighbour who are struggling to live in a dangerous neighbourhood of thugs and gangs. Walt is reluctant, despondent and grumpy. As the void in his home and his heart is slowly filled up by the Hmong siblings, Thao and Sue, Walt ultimately becomes their saviour.
3. Lost in Translation
This film, unlike many Hollywood films of the same genre, doesn't smother love with romance. The two main characters, Bob and Charlotte, are both isolated in the Tokyoian metropolis. Drowning in its lights and engulfed in an unfamiliar environment, it's a story of two people living in a strange foreign country. They grow to enjoy each other's company, and form a wonderful bond.
It's a very subtle movie. Charlotte's husband is never taken as the antagonist in the movie. Likewise, Bob Harris' wife is not portrayed as a dominating mother and spouse. It characterizes an unfantastic realism that most movies on screen today don't possess.
4. The Boys are Back
Joe Warr is recently widowed. With two young boys, one in Australia and one in London attending boarding school, he must now navigate his way through single fatherhood. His devotion to them, the authentic way he expresses his grief and love is what makes this film so uplifting. It's a movie about transformation, about deep catharsis and about getting through it all when the going gets tough by opening up as opposed to shutting down.
5. Life as a House
George is an archtitect by trade and the metaphor for the lives of his wife and children is their broken house that is yet be finished. It's a coming of age story for his son Sam, who is channelling his teenage angst and lashing out to get attention from own self-absorbed parents. It's ultimately about love, what one would do for it and how turning dreams into reality is within your reach if you just hunker down and do it.