Have you ever been stuck for a film or show to watch, or book to read? You know you want to desperately immerse into an alternate universe, but you just can’t find the “one”? Well, Bon Vivant has all the answers. Each week, we will publish an article in our Mood Swings series with a different emotional theme, providing you with the best on-screen and reading material to fit your every mood. Do you want the inspirational? The quirky? The depressing? Be sure to check here every Tuesday to find your fix.
It is one of those rare days where you did get out of the right side of the bed; you’re spreading happiness wherever you go, saying good morning to strangers even though it’s the afternoon, and breezing through your day without a care in the world. All you want to end your evening is a feel-good slice of entertainment that leaves you thanking your good graces for life as you know it. So, what film, show, or book would fuel this happy and inspirational you?
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
This genial and easygoing film follows a wild and dysfunctional family on a road trip to their one-of-a-kind daughter’s beauty pageant. Despite the various obstacles they encounter and the dark explorations of individual flaws, Little Miss Sunshine wonderfully reveals both the beautiful and hilarious honesty of family life. By the end, you will have embraced the film’s positive momentum to the extent that you’ll be entering the nearest pageant just to flaunt your own mishaps.
What We Did on Our Holiday (2014)
From the makers of Outnumbered, this movie also explores the wonderful complexities of family life. When an unsettled couple (Rosamund Pike, David Tennant) visit family in Scotland, their issues slowly become revealed as the plot takes an unexpected turn. This production is harmoniously balanced in emotion and hilarity, reminding us how “every human being on this planet is ridiculous in their own way”.
A Long Way Down (2014)
When four people (Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul) find each through their mutual desire for suicide, they form a surrogate family to work through the struggles in their own lives. Whilst this film explores the deep and dark issues from different walks of life, it leaves the audience reminded of the heart-warming potency of human relationships to overcome the difficulties life throws at us.
Modern Family (2009 – )
This show is no stranger to our television screens, and there is a reason for this; the show has the ability to uplift a person no matter of their mood. This sitcom, which follows the kinship between three branches of the Pritchett family, hilariously exposes the various troubles the modern-day family finds itself in. Sofia Vergara and Eric Stonestreet – as Gloria Pritchett and Cameron Tucker, respectively – are guaranteed to make you crack up every episode.
New Girl (2011 – )
When Jess (Zooey Deschanel) goes through a difficult break-up, she finds herself living with three single men. Jess’s eccentric character collides comedically with the dysfunctional group of men in this series, and will truly leave you laughing-out-loud. Think of this as a cross between The Big Bang Theory and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (without Kim’s annoyingly positive composure).
Orange is the New Black (2013 – )
The craze regarding this Netflix series has infiltrated all ages and genders, and it is no surprise why. It has been a long time since our screens have been graced by a cast dominated by females, and this show following the characters inside an all-female prison has delivered spectacularly. With its fair share of dark twists, Orange is the New Black leaves the audience empowered and hopeful that even a person in prison can overcome their issues.
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (2014)
This psychological mystery explores Maud’s obsession with finding her friend, Elizabeth. Whilst no one around her takes this seriously, Maud’s own memory begins to deteriorate, which effectively injects a comedic element into the novel. Healey cleverly delves into Maud’s past, leaving the reader with previous stories and the present to investigate where Elizabeth might be. The novel is heavy with suspense and emotion, however, with the quirky persona of the protagonist, Healey is able to infiltrate into the typical mystery genre a riveting and uplifting feel.
A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman (2015)
There is a reason this novel has been a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller. Marvellous Ways, the book’s 89-year-old protagonist, has lived a wild and remote lifestyle in Cornish creek all her life, but she cannot help feeling unfulfilled. When a young soldier, Drake, comes to her creek in need of aid, she finds herself closer to finding all the answers she’s been searching for. This novel is truly life-affirming, touched wonderfully with the kind of magic and hope which can assure any reader that grief can be dealt with.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012)
Wonder follows Auggie – a ten-year-old who was born with a frightening face-deformity that led to him being home-schooled – into his first experience at a real school. Through a variety of narrators, we are able to see how this spectacular young boy, who is convinced that everyone sees nothing more than his face, touches those around him. Whilst the plot of this book may be sombre, through a truly beautiful series of events, Winman surprises not only us, but Auggie, and thus leaves the reader with a restored faith in humanity.
To read more from the Mood Swings series, click here.