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F ew could deny that 2020 has been an unusual year. For many people, it has likely been a very difficult time where the freedoms we often take for granted have been much more restricted. Many of us may have spent much of the year cooped up with our families, which can be great but can also be trying at times.

All the more reason, this year, to shift gears for a while and concentrate on having a happy and joyous festive season. It’s good to be reminded, every so often, to try not to take our loved ones for granted and to enjoy this special time of year together.

With that in mind, here are 10 feel-good movies to get you into the spirit of joy and forgiveness.

1. Simon Birch (1998)

It’s a touching story about Simon, a 12-year-old boy who was born with congenital growth anomaly that resulted in his dwarfed appearance. He thinks God has a purpose for his physical disabilities. The story follows his friendship with Joe, a kid at school, and their journey together. It also reflects how people with disabilities can be poorly treated in society. This movie will make you cry but leave you with an uplifted heart, as you find out if Simon fulfills God’s plan for him.

2. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Based on a true story, this movie is about Chris Gardner, a salesman whose investment in expensive medical equipment brings financial troubles to his family. This causes his wife to leave him with their son Christopher. The father and son go through hardships together, trying to live one day at a time. It is a story about perseverance and hope that makes us question our own meaning of happiness.

3. Pay It Forward (2000)

This movie shows us the principle of returning a favor not to the giver but to another person in the hope that he or she will do the same. In this manner, one small deed can be replicated and create a ripple effect. In this story, a boy named Trevor McKinney uses this concept when he is assigned by his school teacher to do something good to change the world.

4. Groundhog Day (1993)

We all have bad days but wouldn’t it be great if we could redo them and fix what went wrong? But what if you had to live it again and again until you got it right? In this movie, TV reporter, Phil Connors, has to relive Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, famous for the celebration of a groundhog who can predict the weather. This story will make you wonder if you’d rather spend one same day in a million ways, than live the same day a million times. It also shows if someone cynical or indifferent can be changed by an extraordinary event.

5. Bicentennial Man (1999)

What qualities do human beings naturally have? If robots were capable of understanding and care, could we accept them as one of us? Could they become better than us? Could you fall in love with a robot? These are some questions that this movie asks through the story of Andrew, a robot who was manufactured to do household tasks. However, it turns out that he’s not an ordinary android. He teaches himself about the ways and concepts of humanity and how to belong. Can he also teach us how to become better humans?

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6. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Well, it is Christmas after all! The Muppet’s take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has got to be almost as popular as the original Mr. Dickens’ version by now. Set in 19th century London, it follows the story of Ebenezer Scrooge as he learns some harsh life lessons about the consequences of selfishness. Watch all your favorite Muppet characters and Sir Michael Caine sing, dance and be foolish in this classic spooky tale of ghosts and greed.

7. The Intern (2015)

Are you looking forward to retiring? If you are, you might need to reconsider after watching this movie. For Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old man who is bored of his retired life, it’s better to get back to work. So he applies for an internship program for senior citizens. He works closely with Jules Ostin, a company owner who has a daughter and a husband. This movie shows how a dynamic between an intern and a boss can develop into something worse or better. In the end, we can learn about the values of humility, wisdom and nurturing relationships.

8. Bad Moms (2016)

With a husband and two children, Amy Mitchell is struggling to keep up with standards of a perfect mother while keeping her part-time job with a coffee company. She meets up with two similarly stressed mothers, Kiki and Carla, and they decide to take back some of their freedoms. They deliberately stop doing what’s expected of good mothers. This movie tackles the hardships of motherhood, marriage, parenting and achieving self-love. But, this also tells us about finding hope through friendship and having fun amid our struggles.

9. Julie and Julia (2009)

If you love cooking, then this movie is for you. It is about how the story of two women from different times and places that are intertwined for one reason – cooking. It follows Julia Child from the start of her cooking career in late 1940s France who later published a book teaching Americans how to cook French dishes. Julie Powell is from 2002 who, out of frustrations from her career, writes a blog about cooking everything on Julie’s cookbook within a year. Side by side, these women teach us about pursuing a passion and committing to it.

10. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Meet Ricky Baker, a 12-year-old boy who has been in and out of foster homes for his whole life. His latest foster parents are Hector and Bella who live in the remote New Zealand countryside. Hector and Ricky do not get along well and when Bella dies, child services decide to bring the boy back to the orphanage. However, Ricky doesn’t want to go and runs away. This leads to a national manhunt for Ricky and Hector. The movie not only takes us on an adventure through the beautiful NZ countryside, but also shows us about compassion and how humor plays a vital role in our existence.

We hope you enjoy these films. We think there is something for everyone in this list. Merry Christmas! Let’s send 2020 out with some positivity.

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