A University of Sussex study found that reading only a few minutes each day has been shown to reduce stress levels by sixty-eight percent. Listening to music is another way of relaxing.
Films can also be a good way of spending time and dealing with stress during this “stay-at-home” phase. We first think of comedies and “feel-good” documentaries. There’s another category of film that is good to watch, too. This type of film has at its heart a problem that the characters struggle to solve, and a positive outcome to the struggle can be very satisfying to us, the viewers. I'm calling these "problem-solved" films.
This annotated list includes all three types of film: comedy, documentary, and problem-solved films. All are available on Kanopy or Netflix. Kanopy is a free streaming service through your local public library.
[K] = Kanopy
[N] = Netflix
[N] Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (2018): Great Britain
A writer meets with a group of readers on the Isle of Guernsey. All are attempting to recover and heal from Nazi occupation in World War II. Includes a romance between the writer and a Guernsey farmer.
[K] Hunt for the Wilderpeople. (2016) New Zealand. A thirteen year old boy lost in the foster-care system connects with an anti-social curmudgeon and together, they embark on a great adventure. One of my all-time favorites, this film has everything – comedy, drama, sweet moments, sad moments, and gorgeous New Zealand scenery. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tICv8QH3oM0
[N] Midnight Diner-Tokyo Stories (2014, 2017).
Japanese. Japanese with English subtitles.
Sweet, thoughtful stories about diners who congregate at a diner to eat and share stories. Two seasons of 10 episodes each. Each episode is only about 25 minutes long.
A combination of action-adventure and sci-fi fantasy with political overtones. This is a story about the excesses of capitalism, and the philosophical issue of how we humans treat other sentient beings. Very unique and thought-provoking. The director is Bong Joon Ho who won four Oscars in 2020, including Best Picture, for Parasite.
[N] Silver Linings Playbook (2012); U.S., English
A romantic comedy-drama addressing the problem of mental illness. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence – great acting!
[N] Strictly Ballroom (1992). Australian
Two things going on here: a wacky, over-the-top comedy combined with the story of a young artist trying to define his art for himself. And there’s a romance, too.
Feel free to add your own titles in the Comments section.