The 15 best feel-good movies to watch in January, from Booksmart and Paddington 2 to Tom Hanks’ Big


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Regardless of how you feel about superhero movies, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse offers a euphoric deconstruction of the genre, celebrating the hope that anyone can become a hero. The animated triumph introduces Miles Morales into the world of everyone’s favorite neighborhood web shooter, and opens up his universe as other Spider-Man/women/things swing in from other dimensions. Bold animation and infectiously funny voice work (notably including Nicolas Cage and John Mulaney) will make your heart race.

Rent for £3.49, Prime Video

My goodness!

Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep and Julie Walters star in Mamma Mia (Copyright: 2008 Universal Studios)

There is comfort in familiarity and unmistakable happiness in the Greek sun. My goodness! writes a love letter to the best of Abba’s discography in a glorious musical that tells the story of Sophie (a luminous Amanda Seyfried) as she prepares for her wedding and invites the three men who could be her father: Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard. to serve them properly. The songs are delightful, the script sincere, the backdrop tranquil. a tonic


The gallery of broken hearts

Pain and heartbreak can often be necessary to appreciate the very things that teach us to appreciate the good times. Writer-director Natalie Krinsky builds on this, focusing on the loss of romantic love, to create an instant classic of a romantic comedy directed by Geraldine Viswanathan and Strange things star Dacre Montgomery. Clever observations on modern dating and the celebration of female friendships give this depth to stand the test of time.

Buy it for £7.99, Prime Video

School of Rock

Jack Black masters improvisational humor like no one else, and his portrayal of Dewey Finn in Richard Linklater’s inimitable high school comedy gets better with every replay. There’s something endearing about how these posh kids hate Finn (posing as substitute teacher Ned Schneebly) before warming up to his weird ways, each student wanting to be the best rock band member they can be. The joy comes as much from the legendary dialogue (“You’re vulgar and I hate you”) as it does from the little details. It’s imperfect and so are they, that’s what makes it so good.


Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

In this image released by Netflix, Dan Stevens appears in a scene from
Dan Stevens appears in a scene from ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’ (John Wilson/Netflix vi AP)

This isn’t some petty satire of the uncoolest night of the year: Will Ferrell takes his role as Icelandic musician Lars Eriksson to heart, alongside Rachel McAdams as his professional partner and best friend, Sigrit Eriksdóttir. Together they form the band Fire Saga, and their path to Eurovision fame is kitsch, awkward, but charming. Musical pleasures come from both the original songs (“Volcano Man” stands out) and the ambitious mash-up “Song-Along.” Impossible to keep a straight face.


summer of the soul

A time capsule, a history lesson and a euphoric party, summer of the soul resurrects the 1969 event that history forgot, the Harlem Cultural Festival. It happened at the same time as Woodstock, when some of the greatest black musicians of all time gave miraculous performances. The documentary restores archival footage, while speaking to several key voices to understand why this process of memory and celebration is so important. A movie to remind you why you love music and movies.


smart booking

Booksmart undated movie brochure.  In the photo: Kaitlyn Dever as Amy and Beanie Feldstein as Molly.  See PA Feature SHOWBIZ Film Reviews.  Image credit should read: PA Photo/Annapurna Pictures, LLC/Francois Duhamel.  All rights reserved.  WARNING: This image should only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ movie reviews.
Kaitlyn Dever as Amy and Beanie Feldstein as Molly in Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart (PA Photo/Annapurna Pictures, LLC/Francois Duhamel)

Two best friends and straight-A students realize on the last day of term that they could have had more fun, so they set out to have the best night of their lives before it’s too late. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is endlessly funny, a new buddy comedy directed by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever about getting out of your comfort zone.

Rent for £3.49, Prime Video


Food heals like nothing else. Jon Favreau takes this wisdom on a journey with his comedy about a chef who rediscovers his path when he loses his job, sets up a food truck, and reconnects with the simple pleasures in life. Chef also has an excellent soundtrack, most notably Hot 8 Brass Band’s version of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”. Chicken Soup for the Soul.

first video

Singing in the rain

A musical film about musical films, Singing in the rain presents some of the best choreography of all time. It’s Gene Kelly at his best, along with Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds as artists making the transition from silent movies to Hollywood talkies.

BBC iPlayer

paddington 2

Paddington 2 Film Still Studiocanal
Paddington gets into all sorts of trouble in this heartwarming sequel (

There’s something soothing about Ben Whishaw’s voice as the Peruvian bear meets a new family in London. There’s rejoicing for movie lovers of all ages as Hugh Grant gives a delightfully campy performance as the villainous Phoenix Buchanan, and Paddington learns just how deep love runs when it comes to family. It’s a Valentine’s gift to classic cinema and a subversion of cheesy kid food in favor of a bland family portrait for everyone.

BBC iPlayer

stop making sense

on the surface, stop making sense It’s little more than a filmed Talking Heads concert, but this wasn’t just any concert. Director Jonathan Demme caught David Byrne’s band at the height of their fame, and the show, which begins with just Byrne, a guitar and a loop pedal on stage, turns into something epic when they join him. a dozen collaborators. The set list is euphoric, and a mid-show costume change is both weird and brilliant.

Broadcast at BFI PlaYvia Prime Video

The producers

A satire on the worst stage musical ever created might not sound edifying, but Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder are wildly entertaining as a theater producer and his accountant working on a Hitler-inspired (!) con. The producers It caught the attention in 1967, but has only gotten funnier over the years, as Mostel and Wilder deliver some of the decade’s craziest performances in a goofy but sharp buddy comedy.

Rent for £3.49, YouTube


Actor Tom Hanks filmed in Los Angeles for the movie Big with actress Elizabeth Perkins.  (Photo by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty Images)
Tom Hanks with actress Elizabeth Perkins dressed as the sitcom character Big (Photo by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty)

Tom Hanks has an innate ability to make his fans feel good, and the very simple trick of making an adult behave like a child is a guaranteed way to find a laugh, which is why Penny Marshall’s fantasy comedy that makes Hanks do exactly that is a selection. -up from the start. Playful and thoughtful, it’s a celebration of big boys and unassuming ambition.


Everybody wants some!!

Hang-out movies invite audiences for a ride without intense commitment, and Richard Linklater’s ’80s college flick Everybody wants some!! is the best example. We join a college baseball team in Texas as they settle into their new house, go out dancing, warm up for the season, fall in love, and make mistakes. The disco-inspired jukebox soundtrack is spot on, the ensemble cast is so lovely – a good time for sure.

Rent for £3.49, YouTube

lovers rock

You can almost feel the sweat dripping down the walls at lovers rock, Steve McQueen’s seductive slice of life. An immersive romance that plunges us into the heat and heart of a 1980s West London party, it’s about the feeling of dancing skin to skin with another person, the bliss of a perfect needle drop (the “Silly Games” scene is momentous) and the dizzying rush of trying to remember it all while rushing home in the morning. Lightning in a bottle, a stunning snapshot of the best parts of being alive.

BBC iPlayer

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