The cure for anything, as far as I’m concerned, is a film. When a bit down and needing a guaranteed pick-me-up, I turn to one of these. They’re not taxing, some are a mite predictable, but they’re reliably comforting and cheering. Best watched under a cosy quilt, wearing silk pyjamas, with or without a tray of chocolate truffles at arm’s reach.
The Thin Man (and the first two sequels, though a blissful weekend can be passed with all six in the series)
William Powell, Myrna Loy and, of course, Asta the dog solve mysteries while drinking copious amounts of cocktails in these irreverent crime caper comedies.
An Affair To Remember
Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr meet on a cruise. One of the most famous cinematic love stories (Grant was apparently nursing a broken heart after an affair with La Loren while making this – so, he’s more convincing than usual), and better than all the other versions of it.
In Good Company
A tightly-scripted tale with Dennis Quaid trying to hold on to his job as youngblood Topher Grace enters the picture. A wry look into corporate culture. With Scarlett Johannson.
What Happens in Vegas
The contemporary archetypes of romantic couples are the anal-retentive woman and the perpetually-adolescent guy (see: any film with Sandra Bullock, Katherine Heigl et al). This is no exception but it has a little more zing than most. Curiously satisfying, despite the predictable ending.
The Family Stone
I’ve watched this more times than it really warrants but there’s something about the mix of characters, from Diane Keaton’s all-knowing matriarch, Sarah Jessica Parker’s uptight guest and, especially, Rachel McAdams’s sarky daughter. Great ensemble cast.
Slightly too long towards the end, but a thoroughly charming tale of love in early Hollywood, told in silent black and white, with winsome leads in Bérénice Bejo and Jean Dujardin. Loved her, loved him, loved the dog.
- Anything by Nora Ephron, especially Julie & Julia and You’ve Got Mail.
- Catch Me If You Can Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks play cat and mouse in Spielberg’s spirited adventurous tale inspired by a true story.
- Bridesmaids Not as ‘gross out’ as the initial hype had led me to believe, but a very funny film grounded in real warmth by the characters’ friendships that splinter over an upcoming wedding.
- Guess Who An updated gender-switched version of the 1967 Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, where Zoe Saldana (surely the most beautiful woman in the world?) brings home Ashton Kutcher to face her father, Bernie Mac.
- The Rebound Catherine Zeta-Jones playing a rare likeable character, opposite Justin Bartha in Bart Freundlich’s look at life after divorce.
- The Holiday Nancy Meyers’s film where Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet switch homes.
- Friends with Benefits A fast, funny, fresh rom com with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.
- Best to avoid all by Mike Leigh if feeling low, except Happy-Go-Lucky (though this is surprisingly polarising – I loved it) and my favourite, Secrets & Lies.
- Sex and the City While I was dismayed at the unrelenting gushing over and pushing of designer labels, it’s still a great girlie treat: glamorous, stylish and fun, with a good dollop of heart and tears; the sequel is best avoided.
- Keeping The Faith I love it when nobody apologises for the woman being strong; a surprisingly tame directorial debut choice from Edward Norton about a love triangle, with Ben Stiller and a perfectly cast Jenna Elfman.
- Up In The Air Doesn’t George Clooney cheer everyone up so effortlessly?
- The Very Thought of You Despite the clumsy original title (Martha – Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence) , it’s a fun and breezy rom com, with a great supporting role by Ray Winston.
- Midnight in Paris Owen Wilson travels back to 1920s Paris in Woody Allen’s affable tale.
- Just Like Heaven Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo pick a cute but clever rom com.
- Amélie Audrey Tautou’s quirky, romantic waif tries to help other people find joy in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s fabled version of Paris.
- When all else fails: The Sound of Music.
• Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons