During difficult times, movies have always been a way for us to escape from our troubles for a moment. In the 1930's, films were a way for people to enjoy uplifting entertainment for only 25 cents. During World War 2, movies acted as a sort of morale booster for those on the homefront, a way to rally them around the war effort. Now that we're stuck in quarantine, movies can do the same thing for us. With thousands of titles at our fingertips, thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, we can escape into a world where there's always a happy ending. Here are a few of my favorite titles that uplift me when times are hard:
1. "When Harry Met Sally..." (1989)
"When Harry Met Sally..." is a romantic comedy by screen writer Nora Ephron and director Rob Reiner. The film follows the story of Harry Burns and Sally Albright, who first meet each other during a contentious car ride from Chicago to New York following their college graduation. They meet several times after that and eventually decide to become friends with one another, only to be totally oblivious to the fact that they're falling in love with each other. I love this film because it turns the romantic comedy genre on it's head and actually explores the complexities of the friends-to-lovers romance dynamics, as well as delivering funny and memorable scenes.
2. "Moonstruck" (1987)
Starring Cher in her Oscar-winning performance, "Moonstruck" is a story of breaking tradition and celebrating the love of family. Cher plays Loretta Castorini, a frumpy widow who plans on marrying again but demands that she and her new fiancé stick to tradition to avoid another mishap. However, a wrench is thrown in when she meets her fiancé's estranged brother Johnny (a young Nicolas Cage) and has a romantic tryst with him. I love this film purely for Cher: she is wonderfully funny and delivers a performance that's up in ranking with Meryl Streep (who she actually beat out for best actress). If you're a Cher fan at all, I highly recommend you watch this film if you haven't yet.
3. "The Young Girls of Rochefort" (1967)
"The Young Girls of Rochefort" is another musical collaboration between Catherine Deneuve and director Jacques Demy. The film is about two gifted twin sisters named Delphine (Deneuve) and Solange (Françoise Dorléac, Deneuve's actual sister) who live in the small seaside city of Rochefort and dream of moving to Paris to pursue artistic careers. The film also stars Gene Kelly in his first international picture after retiring from Hollywood.
4. "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
Know someone who hates musicals? I have a remedy for that - "SIngin' in the Rain." It tells of the time when Hollywood learned to talk through sound pictures. Big screen star Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) can't stand his co-star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) until he meets chorus girl Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) and falls for her. After he and his longtime friend Cosmo (Donald O'Connor) learn that Lina can't make the transition to sound due to her horrible voice, they enlist the help of Kathy to save their first talking picture. "Singin' in the Rain" was Debbie Reynolds film debut at the tender age of nineteen. On her experience of making the film, Debbie Reynolds famously stated that the two hardest things she ever had to do in life were childbirth and "Singin' in the Rain."
5. "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944)
Out of all the films of Judy Garland's career, "Meet Me in St. Louis" has always struck a chord with me due to the heartwarming aspect of the story. Esther Smith (Garland) lives with her family on 5135 Kensington Avenue in St. Louis at the turn of the century. As the family prepares for the St. Louis World's Fair, they find out that they will soon be leaving St. Louis to live in New York City after their father accepts a job there. The film spawned classic standards such as "The Boy Next Door," "The Trolley Song," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and turned Judy from being a teen star into a serious actress.