Top Five Comfort Films (and Why You Need Some!) | Cinema & Culture | Rosie Abigail

I’m an introvert. A big ol’ introvert in fact. The kind that feels a wave of relief wash over me when night out plans are cancelled.

Look, I love hanging out with people but there’s something about staying in that is heavenly. Curling up on the sofa with the double duvet pulled from upstairs; candles and fairy lights lighting up the room; a cheap rosé and a takeaway; chocolate on tap and a cat on my lap. Now that sounds like a good evening. But do you know what would make it a perfect evening? Sticking on one of my comfort films. 

To me, a comfort film is one I can watch when I am in any mood. I could be full of flu, exhausted from work, sobbing with sadness, struggling with anxiety, or you know, fine, and putting on a comfort film would just make everything better. They are warm, comforting, and filmic examples of an affectionate hug. With the colder days creeping in, glacial rain hitting the window, and the stresses of the real world growing, I can feel myself reaching for my comfort films more than ever. Here are my top five comfort films and why they just fill me with a warm glow. You might just have to pop them down on your ‘to watch’ list…

Lost in Translation – Dir. Sofia Coppola

This was the film that made me go ‘ahhh, that’s what aesthetically pleasing’ means. The curated soundtrack, authentic storyline, charismatic leads, striking cinematography – it just has everything a good film needs. Simply put, a young woman and an ageing film star accidentally meet at a hotel in Tokyo. What follows are their adventures around the city and the impact they have on each other’s lives. But what makes it a comfort film, more than a favourite film? It scratches that itch that we all have, to know that we are not alone in just stumbling through the world. It shows you that every single person, even if they look like they have the perfect life, have no clue what they are doing and that’s fine. It reminds me that we all deserve to be distracted, whether that be running through the city with a new friend, crashing a karaoke bar, or just talking late through the night. That’s reminder we need more of. 

The DVD cover for Lost in Translation. It is a backdrop of Tokyo, with Scarlett Johansson in the front holding an umbrella.

WALL-E – Dir. Andrew Stanton

The film poster for WALL-E. It has WALL-E (a yellow cube shaped robot) holding a green plant, and EVE (a white rounded robot) flying through the air.

The two words I would use to describe this film? Pure joy. Well, pure joy with a bit of environmentalism thrown in. I would even choose WALL-E as my hill to die on. “What hill is that?” I hear you ask. That it is one of the greatest animated movies ever made. With that aside, it is also one of the only films I could put on the TV on Boxing Day, and all of my family would enjoy. WALL-E, a trash-compactor robot, is left to clean up Earth after we humans messed it up so badly that we are now living on a spaceship (unfortunately still a little too relatable for a film made in 2008).  He falls in love with EVE, a robot sent to look for vegetation on Earth to see if it is yet habitable. In a turn of events, both robots end up back on the ship and end up stealing my heart every time. They are robots who don’t speak and I am still rooting for them more than any other couple on film. The film itself is charming, witty, and offers just enough political stimulation for a comfort movie. Disney-Pixar at its finest. 

The Princess Bride – Dir. Rob Reiner

If camp was a movie, it would be The Princess Bride. I have to thank my Auntie Julie for this film as she showed this to me when I was about eight, and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. In short, it’s a typical fairy tale; there’s a love story, a farmgirl becomes a princess, sword fights, and dastardly villains. But it’s so much more than that. It’s silly and quotable, and comes with all of the eighties special effects that we love. There are monsters and giants and castles and twists and turns and – I’m going to stop there. In all honesty, I don’t want to tell you any more about this film. If you haven’t seen it, I want you to just go and watch it, fresh-faced and unknowing. Just know, it is joyful, camp, and frivolous, and that’s precisely why it’s one of the most important films ever made.

The poster for The Princess Bride. In shadow, there are two figures sat reading a book amongst marble pillars, mountains, and clouds.

Kiki’s Delivery Service – Dir. Hayao Miyazaki 

The film poster for Kiki's Delivery Service. It has Kiki, a black haired girl in a navy dress and a red bow in her hair, riding a broomstick amongst seagulls. She is over the sea, and is carrying a brown satchel which a black cat is sitting on.

Every time my fiancé and I don’t know what to watch together, we choose a film from the famed Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli. Usually, it’s one that we haven’t seen before. Each time I watch a new Ghibli film, I claim it as my favourite until the next one comes along. I call that ‘the Ghibli effect’ – all of their films are fantastic! That is until Kiki’s Delivery Service arrived. Kiki is a young witch who moves to a new town to hone her skills. Sprinkle in some struggles with self-doubt and it, that’s the film! It is simple and uncomplicated and that’s the main reason it’s one of my comfort films. Yes, it does deal with themes such as maturity and the turn to adulthood, and it has a backdrop of a miscellaneous war, but these are all parts of the story, not the whole picture. Once I hear the opening credits, my heart feels warm and ready for an adventure.

Fantastic Mr Fox – Dir. Wes Anderson 

I am unashamedly a Wes Anderson fan. I am a sucker for kitschy and whimsy and a perfectly thought out shot. Now, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is my favourite Wes Anderson film but it’s not necessarily a comfort film. If we are looking for comfort, then Fantastic Mr Fox ticks all of the boxes. It’s an adaptation of my childhood constant author Roald Dahl’s book of the same name, and keeping with the childhood whimsy, it’s shot in stop-motion. It’s one of those films that I can watch and the outside world just faaaades away. To both myself and my fiancé, it’s an important and relaxing film. So much so, we are having a Fantastic Mr Fox themed table at our wedding. 

The cover for Fantastic Mr Fox. It has the

Whilst those are my top five comfort films, I have to give a special recommendation to The Blues Brothers, Mary Poppins, Singing in the Rain, The Breakfast Club, and the cinematic masterpiece that is Shrek 2. So, whilst the evenings are getting lighter, the weather is getting colder, and I’ll be finding myself curled up with the duvet and a comfort film more often. I can’t blimmin’ wait. 

Let me know what your comfort films are in the comments and let’s get some recommendations going – the weirder the better! I’ve found that Criminal Minds (a quite violent and bloody crime based TV show) is my comfort series, so you know this is a judgement free zone!

Thanks for reading. Rosie x

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8 thoughts on “Top Five Comfort Films (and Why You Need Some!) | Cinema & Culture | Rosie Abigail

  1. Completely agree with SITR, it is pure ridiculous joy. Kiki is also completely adorable – have you watched Howl’s Moving Castle? I’m obsessed with both the film and (the very very very loosely adapted from) book. Some of mine are You’ve Got Mail (I can quote a LOT of it by heart, bit worrying tbh), The Mummy (1 and 2 only and less said about the reboot the better) and Hot Fuzz, which a few years ago I genuinely think I watched at least once a week. Oh and Paddington, obvs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, Howl’s Moving Castle is a staple in our house, just one of those that we can pop on and love it, no matter how any times we’ve seen it. To be honest, I love all of the ones you’ve mentioned 😅 Hot Fuzz is probably the only film I can quote in it’s entirety, without prompt.

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