5 feel-good comedy dramas that you may not have heard of, but have to see
We all have those days where we just don’t feel like doing much and need a bit of comedy as a pick-me-up.
However, you don’t always fancy that up-front slapstick humour, so here are five lesser-known films that will have you both crying and laughing, and will give you a bit more faith in the world.
Sing Street (2016)
It is not an exaggeration when I say that this is one of my favourite films of all time, so I’m kicking it off with Sing Street. Set in 1980’s Ireland, John Carney’s coming-of-age film follows the story of Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), a 15-year-old boy who sets up a band on a whim in order to impress Raphina (Lucy Boynton), a girl he has just met.
Sing Street exploits the music of the 80s, interspersing hits by groups like Duran Duran, The Cure and The Clash with incredible original songs that Conor and his new friend Eamon (Mark McKenna) write throughout the film. Alongside the incredible soundtrack comes a gentle but captivating plot that explores Conor’s journey through joining a hostile new school, coping with his parents’ divorce and reconnecting with his older brother, a deadbeat but passionate music-lover.
This film is both hilarious and inspiring and will remind you of the importance of doing what you love despite how impossible it seems. With a killer soundtrack, a unique plot and an incredibly talented cast, it’s a film I will never stop shouting about and will never grow tired of.
Matthew Warchus’ historical film Pride tells the true story of a group of LGBT activists in the Thatcher era, led by Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer), who decide to band together to raise money in support of the miners’ strike of 1984. The plot centres around 20-year-old Joe (George MacKay), who hasn’t yet come out and, at his first pride march, gets taken under the wing of Mark and his friends.
On a mission to create solidarity between the gay community and the miners, they end up in with the Welsh mining village of Onllwyn, where they slowly start to connect with the villagers and convince them to accept their help. Of course, they are met with many challenges, particularly from the miners themselves, but as the film moves forward relationships grow and the group finally begin to make a difference.
This film has a gritty plot and deals with some very serious issues that plagued both the gay and mining communities at the time. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t filled with tasteful, hilarious comedy (led chiefly by Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton), and heart-warming moments that leave you really feeling great. Ultimately, it is an uplifting feel-good film that shows the impact that can be had when communities come together for a common cause.
The Full Monty (1997)
This is a real classic and one that many more people might actually have heard of, particularly since inspiring the cancer-awareness live show The Real Full Monty which aired on ITV this year. Peter Cattaneo directs this film about six unemployed steelworkers in Sheffield who decide to raise money in a very unique way: by performing a one-time striptease show for people in their community, and going one step further by going the ‘full monty’, a.k.a. totally naked.
Already, the premise of this film is great and has real comedic value, but it does deal with some very serious matters, particularly regarding Gaz (Robert Carlyle), who is raising money in order to make up for child support payments and spend more time with his son. The other men also have their own issues, ranging from problems with body image to those of mental health and even suicide.
However, the raw realism of the plot in no way detracts from the sheer wit that the script provides. Watching the protagonists overcome their differences to help one another is enough to leave anyone feeling positive and inspired, meaning this film definitely makes it into my list of feel-good dramas.
Peter’s Friends (1992)
Now this is a really old one (and the film is better quality than the trailer, I promise!). Peter’s Friends is a film I discovered through my parents, and I was definitely grateful for that. For starters, the cast is amazing – Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branaugh, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson are joined by even more actors with great talent in this heartwarming and hilarious drama. The plot surrounds a group of six former college friends who are invited by Peter (Stephen Fry) to a reunion at his huge, old house.
Since college, they have all moved on (or haven’t) in their own ways, and as the weekend goes on you begin to discover more and more about how their lives have progressed. It has moments of wacky comedy and others of real emotion, and ultimately leaves you feeling completely invested in every character.
It’s the sort of film you can’t say much about, as the beauty is in how the plot unfolds, but what I can say is that it’s a blend of incredible acting, a brilliant script and a plot that will definitely have you crying one minute and grinning the next.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
How could I have a comedy-drama top five list without mentioning Little Miss Sunshine? This inspired film has a plot that absolutely no-one could predict and everyone will love. It follows the journey of the (fairly dysfunctional) Hoover family, who embark on a cross-country road trip in a clapped-out VW minivan in order to get their youngest daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) to the finals of a beauty pageant.
With an obnoxious, success-oriented father (Greg Kinnear), an emotionally unstable uncle (Steve Carrell), a brother who is taking a vow of silence (Paul Dano) and a cocaine-addicted grandfather (Alan Arkin), the family dynamic is interesting to say the least, and it’s a film that shows the real power of familial support. Sheryl Hoover (Toni Collette) does her best to encourage her daughter, who isn’t what you’d say is the typical beauty-pageant-type, and as the plot unfolds you begin to see how one child’s dream can bring a family together even when everything seems to fall apart.
The humour in this film is ingenious, from the van that won’t go into gear without being pushed up to 20 mph by the whole family, to the eccentric garishness of a Californian children’s beauty pageant – you really won’t know what’s coming next, but you will know that it’s going to be great.