Movies that make your heart smile

There was much discussion on Saturday evening among the girl’s night crowd about what makes a good girl’s movie. Pretty sure we never came to a conclusion, so I decided to put some of my favorites down for posterity’s sake. My criteria? Just movies that make my heart smile.

{Roman Holiday} Some might say Audrey Hepburn is enough to make a movie. I would more or less have to agree with them. But this movie made me fall in love with Rome. My first experience rome-ing (heh. get it?) around the city was much like that of the princess. It was the first trip I ever took by myself to a city I did not know. I hadn’t planned a thing – went in completely wide-eyed in my own little world – and was delighted. The fact that Audrey took two cynical men along with her for the ride makes it even better.

{Breakfast at Tiffany’s} I will read anything by Truman Capote. And Holly Golightly is one of his most endearing characters. She is naive and yet worldly at the same time. She is materialistic but doesn’t own anything. She is incredibly nosy and incredibly loyal. You are never sure if society is going to crush her or if she is manage to navigate it. It begins with one of the most iconic opening scenes in film history and contains one of my all time favorite songs: Moon River. Holly is adorably chatty. And her only real friend is a cat named Cat.

{The Way We Were} Robert Redford is a studmuffin in this movie. And Barbara Streisand is a babe. They are polar opposites: he is a talented writer hiding behind a front as a WASP varsity jock, she is a Jewish political campaigner who can’t keep her opinions to herself. The movie takes you through several stages of their lives together, through WWII and into McCarthyist Hollywood. It is stylish and their chemistry is amazing. And it will both break your heart and make you smile.

{Away We Go} Verona and Bert are pregnant. Verona and Bert are a bit lost. Verona and Bert go on a country-wide tour in search of the right kind of people to surround their baby with. But it turns out, most of their friends are complete loonies. Expertly balanced with irreverent humour, heartwarming moments and an excellent soundtrack, it has an amazing cast including Jeff Daniels, Allison Janney, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Catherine O’Hara. But John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph will blow you away.

{Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken} I had forgotten all about this movie before I came across the Matchbook Girls Guide to Movies. This was a childhood favorite. I am pretty sure I watched this movie a million times and gave all of my allowance to Blockbuster video to rent it. I think it might be Disney. Doesn’t matter. A rambunctious lead, circus acts involving horses jumping off high dives, a hunky motorcyclist and some depression-era drama will have you hooked.

{Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain} Quirky, introverted Amelie, living in a dream world. It is impossible not to love her. But I adored her because it was one of the first movies I saw during my year abroad in France. I went to the theater alone in between classes, learned the hard way that most French theaters sell sweet popcorn instead of the salty buttered kind, and walked out having understood most of the movie. It was the moment language was no longer an obstacle for me. Living in Paris wasn’t quite as intimidating anymore. And it was an absolutely beautiful movie.

{P.S. I love you} This is a guilty confession. This movie probably shouldn’t be on this list but I can’t help it. The writing is seriously terrible but I love the plot, I love Gerard Butler, I love how their tiny-but-gorgeous walk-up apartment serves as a constant reminder of the relationship in the story and I have an enormous soft-spot for hand written notes and this story is full of them. And it has the actor who played Denny in Grey’s Anatomy (whose real name is Jeffrey Dean Morgan… but who I will always know as Denny.)

{An Affair to Remember} After that last admission, I had to end on a good note. An Affair to Remember. Carey Grant. Deborah Kerr. A cruise. Italy. An affair. An adorable grandmother. New York City. Romantic plans. Heartbreak! SO GOOD!

I love movies. What are your favorites? 

  1. Cécile said:

    Lovely post, Jess- I’ll check out the movies I haven’t seen- I adored Roman holidays and breakfast at Tiffany’s so I should also like the others from your list 🙂

  2. Tatiana said:

    I agree we didn’t come to any conclusions on Saturday night – other than L hasn’t seen enough movies! Some great shouts on this list, especially An Affair to Remember – might be one of the best romance films EVER!

  3. abuchon said:

    Excellent choices! As a young girl I watched “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” many, many, many times, too.

  4. I like all of these, but I’ve never heard of “Away We Go”. Time to add that to my must-find-and-watch list.

    I also like “High Society” which has Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Stewart. Can’t go wrong with all of them. “Bells are Ringing” with Judy Holiday also good. I love the crawling-past-the-couch scene — it always cracks me up. You’ll understand when you see it. 😉

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