Life struck me as several cuts above “meh” but never made me jump out of my seat.
Here is the complete list of film recommendations made by various writers at RogerEbert.com. The list was inspired by an e-mail from Susan Wloszczyna, asking her colleagues to contribute their favorite uplifting movies to counteract the oppressive negativity and tragedies our world has recently faced. Some of these films may not be considered uplifting in the traditional sense, yet it is the greatness of their craft that is sure to lift the spirits of film lovers, regardless of their content. As my husband once wrote, "It is not what a film is about, it's how it is about it." Click here to read the full article complete with our writers' commentary.—Chaz Ebert
Apocalypse Now Redux
During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Robert Ford, who's idolized Jesse James since childhood, tries hard to join the reforming gang of the Missouri outlaw, but gradually becomes resentful of the bandit leader.
The Awful Truth
Unfounded suspicions lead a married couple to begin divorce proceedings, whereupon they start undermining each other's attempts to find new romance.
Babe, a pig raised by sheepdogs, learns to herd sheep with a little help from Farmer Hoggett.
Bells are Ringing
Ella Peterson is a Brooklyn telephone answering service operator who falls in love with one of her clients.
When a boy wishes to be big at a magic wish machine, he wakes up the next morning and finds himself in an adult body.
To ruin a western town, a corrupt political boss appoints a black sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary.
As a hard-core surfer girl prepares for a big competition, she finds herself falling for a football player.
A down on his luck gambler links up with free spirit Elliot Gould at first to have some fun on, but then gets into debt when Gould takes an unscheduled trip to Tijuana. As a final act of desperation, he pawns most of his possessions and goes to Reno for the poker game of a lifetime.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and learn of their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion.
Coming to America
An African prince goes to Queens, New York City to find a wife whom he can respect for her intelligence and will.
When Jimmy Rabbitte wants to start a band, he has open auditions at his house.
Two tapes, two Parisian mob killers, one corrupt policeman, an opera fan, a teenage thief, and the coolest philosopher ever filmed. All these characters twist their way through an intricate and stylish French language thriller.
In 1963, the night before the 18 years old "Birdlace" Eddie and his friends are shipped to Vietnam.
Dumb and Dumber
The cross-country adventures of two good-hearted but incredibly stupid friends.
A chronicle of the lives of several teenagers who attend a New York high school for students gifted in the performing arts.
A Pittsburgh woman with two jobs as a welder and an exotic dancer wants to get into ballet school.
Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny Curran, eludes him.
Legend says that Antonio Bay was built in 1880 with blood money obtained from shipwrecked lepers which no one believes. On the eve of the town's centennial, many plan to attend the celebrations, including the murdered lepers.
The Full Monty
Six unemployed steel workers form a male striptease act. The women cheer them on to go for "the full monty" - total nudity.
The alumni cast of a space opera television series have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help.
Two escaped convicts arrive in the town of Happy, Texas, where they are mistaken for a gay couple who is to host the town's Little Miss Fresh Squeezed beauty pageant.
A dramatization of the real-life Johnson County War in 1890 Wyoming, in which a sheriff born into wealth attempts to protect immigrant farmers from rich cattle interests.
Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.
High School Musical
Troy and Gabriella - two teens who are worlds apart - meet at a karaoke contest and discover their mutual love for music.
His Girl Friday
A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.
An 8-year old troublemaker must protect his home from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.
I Love You Again
Boring businessman Larry Wilson recovers from amnesia and discovers he's really a con man...and loves his soon-to-be-ex wife.
A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.
After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness - conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.
Transported to Barsoom, a Civil War vet discovers a barren planet seemingly inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians.
A strong willed female saloon owner is wrongly suspected of murder and bank robbery by a lynch mob, when she helps a wounded gang member.
The Jungle Book
Bagheera the Panther and Baloo the Bear have a difficult time trying to convince a boy to leave the jungle for human civilization.
A woman disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. During the search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other.
Lady and the Tramp
The romantic tale of a sheltered uptown Cocker Spaniel dog and a streetwise downtown Mutt.
A coming of age story about a boy and his family who overcame great challenges by turning Disney animated movies into a language to express love, loss, kinship and brotherhood.
An American oil company sends a man to Scotland to buy up an entire village where they want to build a refinery. But things don't go as expected.
Magic Mike XXL
Three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, he and the remaining Kings of Tampa hit the road to Myrtle Beach to put on one last blow-out performance.
Manhattan Murder Mystery
A middle-aged couple suspects foul play when their neighbor's wife suddenly drops dead.
Meet Me in St. Louis
In the year before the 1904 St Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.
The More the Merrier
During the WW2 housing shortage in Washington, two men and a woman share a single apartment and the older man plays Cupid to the other two.
The Music Man
Harold Hill poses as a boys' band leader to con naive Iowa townsfolk.
The New World
The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas.
Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist
High school student Nick O'Leary, member of the Queercore band The Jerk Offs, meets college-bound Norah Silverberg when she asks him to be her boyfriend for five minutes.
Only Angels Have Wings
At a remote South American trading port, the manager of an air freight company is forced to risk his pilots' lives in order to win an important contract.
The Philadelphia Story
When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.
Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.
The Princess Bride
While home sick in bed, a young boy's grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.
When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves to one of another family's quintupelets, their lives get more complicated than they anticipated.
The Red Shoes
A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.
A couple, cheated by a vile businessman, kidnap his wife in retaliation, without knowing that their enemy is delighted they did.
School of Rock
After being kicked out of a rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of a strict elementary private school, only to try and turn it into a rock band.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
In 1850 Oregon, when a backwoodsman brings a wife home to his farm, his six brothers decide that they want to get married too.
A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.
Singin' In the Rain
A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.
Kenya McQueen, an accountant finds love in the most unexpected place when she agrees to go on a blind date with Brian Kelly, a sexy and free-spirited landscaper.
A girl group experiences turmoil after one of their members turns to drugs and another achieves their desired fame all by herself.
In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise to his beloved that he'll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm.
After a run-in with the law, Haley Graham is forced to return to the world from which she fled some years ago.
A truck driver stops at a small family-run noodle shop and decides to help its fledgling business.
A series of events tests the beliefs of a small isolated countryside village.
While You Were Sleeping
A ticket-collecting romantic pretends to be engaged to an unconscious man but can't fool his brother.
Wings of Desire
An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.
When a secretary's idea is stolen by her boss, she seizes an opportunity to steal it back by pretending she has her boss' job.
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A classic thriller that moves with a sense of purpose.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
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