My Top 5 Feel-Good Movies For The Health Challenged

In this self-quarantine period where we're constantly bombarded with news about people getting sick, dying and nations in great despair, we need to be on top of our game in terms of our mental health. And for people who are already going through a health challenge, the effort is twice as much.

As a rule of thumb for me, I only watch suspense or horror films when I have so many great things happening in my life that no amount of scary fantasy can trigger any anxiety within me. Otherwise, I always choose something that will make me feel hopeful and inspired as soon as I turn my computer off.

These 5 movies, by far, have given me that feel-good, victorious feels in this self-quarantine, social distancing period while I nurse my occasional post-traumatic stress disorder from a cancer diagnosis and anxious moments about CoVid-19. If you've seen some of them, let me know if you agree or disagree with my choices. No spoilers in this post, by the way! :)

1. The Farewell

I heard about this movie because Awkwafina won a Golden Globe for this. And since I'm a super advocate of Asians having a voice and getting represented in Hollywood, I went ahead and supported this movie. I was surprised how it turned out. It's based on a true story about a cancer patient named Nai Nai and her family dealing with it that they had to live up to a lie about her diagnosis. Anyone with an Asian descent diagnosed with cancer will find the film very relatable and heart-warming. The Asian traditions truly resonate with a Filipina living in America like me, particularly with Awkwafina's character who played Billi, a Chinese immigrant living in New York. This movie will surely make you appreciate family values, Eastern culture and the power of faith. Ah, I super miss home!!! 

2. Five Feet Apart

The movie revolves around Stella, a seventeen year old confined cystic fibrosis patient who's life is all about routines, boundaries and control in the hospital. Anyone with a health challenge that requires constantly going in and out of the hospital will be able to relate to this movie, how the new "normal" isn't always ideal but we gotta do what we gotta do to stay alive. And people who are perfectly healthy watching this would be so grateful that they don't have to go through all the insane medical protocols just to be given a chance to live. Stella's determination to stay optimistic, kind-hearted and open to love despite her situation will inspire you to see the beauty in your situation, no matter how hard it is. That human connection heals and that goodness, pure heart and resilience somehow, finds its way to get rewarded.  

3. Love & Other Drugs

I've always been a fan of Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. So to put them in a movie together is, no doubt, a must-see for me. The story is about a handsome pharmaceutical salesman's sexual encounter with a free-spirited Parkinson's patient that eventually, grew into something more. Maybe it's their chemistry on-screen or how they beautifully portrayed their characters but this movie convinced me that romance and great sex are still possible even with a chronic health condition. Based on a non-fiction book "Hard Sell: The Evolution Of A Viagra Salesman", stories like this are the reason why I always hold on to the belief that true love exists and that it conquers all, including a health condition. The right person for you will move mountains to be with you and will always see past your disease by loving you for who you really are. 

4. The Bucket List

A story of a billionaire played by Jack Nicholson and a car mechanic played by Morgan Freeman who's paths came together because of a terminal illness. Both had to face the thought of mortality and have to come to terms with who they truly are and what they really want out of life in the remaining time they have. This movie will make you see how the simple things that money can't buy is what gives life its true meaning and that life is too short to stress over the petty stuff. That day by day, you have an opportunity to experience being alive, share joy and love others and that you should never take those privileges for granted. Oh, and it will also get you thinking about your very own bucket list for the future! Mad props to Nicholson and Freeman for a witty, convincing performance that is truly unforgettable. 

5. 127 Hours

This movie is so intense that I couldn't breath at certain moments and had to pause the movie to catch some air!!! Based on a true survival story, it's about James Franco's character, Aron, a professional canyoneer, who must find a way to escape from getting trapped by a boulder in an isolated deep canyon in Utah where he fell down by accident. This movie is not gonna make you feel relaxed at all as you will constantly anticipate how Aron will survive so your adrenaline will keep pumping. But it will make you realize how a resilient human spirit who is super willing to live despite the most difficult and challenging situation will always find ways to pull through. After watching this movie, I realized how valuable time is and that if there is a strong will to achieve something, there will always be ways to make it work, even if it means going on extreme measures.

Your turn, WINNER! Any suggestions on feel-good movies to watch that will inspire, uplift and empower during this self-quarantine period? Do share as I'd love to check 'em out! 

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