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5 Feel Good Movies for Teens

by Jane Wangersky | January 29th, 2016 | Entertainment, Teens

popcornRight about this time of year — Christmas and New Year are over, it’s still winter, and we’re all back at our everyday tasks — everyone, especially teens with all their emotional ups and downs, can benefit from taking a break to see a good movie. A feel good movie, specifically. But what exactly is that?

The answer’s not simple. A survey of adults here in Canada found quite a gender divide: “Top ‘feel good’ movie for women: Mrs. Doubtfire (16 percent). Top movie for men: The Shawshank Redemption (15 percent).” Is there also an age divide, or a difference between male and female teens? I wasn’t able to find any data on that, so I’ve just got my own experience to go on. Here are some feel good movies your teen may like.

The Martian, which just came out on DVD and Blu-Ray, was called “perhaps the feel good film of the year” by the critics at Empireonline. Though it’s about a man stranded in a horrific situation — alone on Mars — it’s really more about how he copes, and it may inspire teens to become more self-reliant. Or even to read the book it’s based on. The home version includes lots of extra features to pass the time. This isn’t a squeaky-clean film, but there’s probably nothing in it that your teen hasn’t seen or heard of already.

Brooklyn: My son called this “Truly the greatest film I’ve ever seen.” Eilis leaves home for the first time, works at an entry-level job, finds a boyfriend from a different background, and sometimes wonders if it’s worth it making her own way in the world.

Groundhog Day made a couple of feel good movie lists I read. (And it takes place at this time of year.) We’ve all had days we’d like to live over, but what if we had no choice, like Phil in this film? One of the ways he tries to exploit the situation is by convincing a gullible woman that he’s an old high school classmate of hers. Of course, he also has to deal with an actual old classmate — a really annoying one — who shows up again and again trying to sell him a “dismemberment plan.”

The Princess Bride is a cult classic fantasy/adventure/comedy/romance full of lines that are quotable to the point of insanity. Don’t be put off by its Disneyish title. Watching it is like joining a club (with a large geeky contingent, but so what).

Galaxy Quest, like any good Star Trek tribute/parody, reaches across the generations, plus it’s just plain funny. Teens may know the late great Alan Rickman only as Snape from the Harry Potter movies, but he’s hilarious here as an actor mistaken for his best-known character — an alien scientist. “Just like Mother used to make,” he says over a bowl of insects thoughtfully served to him. Like everyone else in the story, he finds new hope.

At least one of these will probably cheer up your teen — and you.

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