'Sunday Films': Comforting Films in Times of Discomfort
There is nothing I want more right now than comfort. I’ve done so many personality quizzes that I can tell you which character I am from shows that I don’t intend to watch and the one question that makes me laugh every time is, “would you rather have an interesting or content life?” and it makes me life because of course, the answer is content! Every. Single. Time.
The times we are living in are interesting. The times I am longing for are content. You see?
So, I need you to keep this in mind when I tell you I’d take a Sunday Film over any other. Sunday Films, for me, are films that you watch on a Sunday afternoon, ideally with a cup of tea and a range of snacks. They’re easy to watch, gentle, comforting and usually quite fun to boot. Anybody who has had the misfortune of being cornered by me at a party in recent years will know that I think these are THE most under-appreciated films.
Another thing I’m passionate about and, if we’re all being honest here, think I’m very good at is comforting people. I just live for comfort and softness. With all of this happening, it's tough, I just have not felt like I have a lot to give. In fact, I feel completely helpless. Apart from one thing.
Now is the time for my beloved Sunday Films to shine.
They are comforting, they require minimal concentration and they are usually life-affirming. They will not change this situation, they will not provide answers, but they will give you low-key warm fuzzies. I hope that they help, and I wish I could offer more.
In no particular order because that would mean PRESSURE and we are not doing that right now:
Chef (2014, available on Prime Video)
This is the first film I go to when I discuss Sunday Films. Apart from my own personal adoration of Jon Favreau, I really feel this film has it all. Starting with a ridiculous feud between a critic and a passionate chef, this sweet film tells the story of family, passion, and FOOD. Make your favourite comfort food (I always choose a cheese toastie), settle down and let this sweet movie take you on a fun journey through America. Chef has minimal drama, an electric soundtrack, and enough food porn to inspire you to continue trying to be creative in the kitchen. I ADORE this film and turn to it whenever things are hard. I hope you do too. BONUS – if you do love it, there is a documentary series by Jon Favreau and Roy Choi featuring all-star guests and chefs called The Chef Show.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, available on Netflix and Prime Video)
So, admittedly, if you do not like Wes Anderson films you will not like this. I am not here to convince you. However, if you DO like Wes Anderson films or are at least curious, I really recommend this (and every other one). It has whimsy, intrigue, wisdom and just the right amount of silly. It is a charming short story told over the quintessential stunning Anderson scenery. The first time I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel, I was curled up in bed under a soft blanket and drinking apple juice. I believe this is the best possible way to watch this at home.
- Blu-ray Steelbook
The Big Sick (2017, available on Prime Video)
A film where the love interest is put into a medically induced coma? What isn’t comforting about that? Really, though, The Big Sick has more heart than most romantic comedies and this is coming from a bonafide sap. A true story written by the couple in question, it's an affectionate but grounded film about cultural difference, chronic illness, modern dating, devotion and stand-up comedy. Directed by Michael Showalter, it’s light enough to get you through a Sunday afternoon but warm enough that you won’t forget it anytime soon. Bonus: the real-life couple have a sweet, soothing podcast to get listeners through lockdown called Staying In with Emily and Kumail.
Booksmart (2019, Prime Video)
Unlike the others mentioned, I did not watch this for the first time in already comfortable surroundings. I watched it while I got ready for my 30th birthday. I was incredibly stressed out, anxious and overwhelmed. This film flipped my mood on its head entirely. I’ve since watched it a further three times in the past six months which, for me, is WILD. Booksmart is fun, sweet, so unbelievably funny and heart-warming. It gives teenage girls the personality they deserve; complex! Ah! Despite all of this intelligent writing (thanks to Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, Katie Siberman and Emily Halpern's screenplay), it is still a very easy watch and one that’s perfect for a tiny lift.
The Fundamentals of Caring (2016, Netflix)
You don’t know me, but you should be impressed that this is my only road trip film on this list. Just like star Paul Rudd, The Fundamentals of Caring is incredibly charming. The film tells the story of Ben, a retired writer-turned-caregiver and his first client, Trevor (Craig Roberts), a teenage sufferer of muscular dystrophy - with a knack for snark that I can only dream of - and their journeys across the US. After years of watching local news, Trevor has a list of wonderfully weird US attractions he wants to see with 'The World’s Deepest Pit' being the most ambitious. Trevor needs to see more of the world and Ben needs to remember there is a world outside of the personal tragedy he suffered. It is gorgeous, it’s funny and, at times, remarkably vulgar. Watch it on a day you feel despondent, hopeless, or uncomfortable.
I hope these bring you comfort, or just a smile and that you go back to them as often as I do. If you want to chat to me about any of them (I am always up for this!) you can reach me on twitter @slk_writes
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Dir: Wes Anderson | Cast: Adrien Brody, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Ralph Fiennes | Writers: Hugo Guinness (story), Stefan Zweig (inspired by the writings of), Wes Anderson (screenplay), Wes Anderson (story)