Get rid of the social distancing blues with these cozy cinematic titles
Social distancing is certainly helping contain the spread of COVID-19, but it also has negative effects on one’s mental health. Being isolated from family, friends, and your community for this extended period of time can trigger depression and loneliness. Forget about the sadness that quarantine brings by watching these fuzzy, homey films.
Keep the Change is a refreshingly honest and tenderhearted romantic comedy about an aspiring filmmaker (Brandon Polansky) ordered to attend a self-actualizing social program at the Jewish Community Center. He is assigned to visit the Brooklyn Bridge with the sweetly energetic Sarah (Samantha Elisofon), and they navigate a blossoming relationship, their complicated families, and various friendships. The pair have a witty charm that makes Keep the Change thoroughly delightful. This lovingly crafted film has many moments of genuine, awkward humor. Most importantly, it sheds light on cinema’s underrepresented autism community. Available on Amazon Prime.
Charlie Chaplin’s majestic masterpiece City Lights tells the heart-rending story of his infamous tramp character falling for a blind flower seller. He pretends to be a millionaire and secretly labors to pay for the restoration of her sight. The film is made of excruciatingly hilarious gags and highly emotional lump-in-your-throat moments. City Lights is a sublime tribute to selflessness and philanthropy, messages that we need to hear more than ever. Available on Criterion.
It is virtually impossible not to smile during Pick of the Litter, the engrossing tale of a group of puppies-in-training to become seeing eye dogs. Who will graduate? Who will go on to something else? The film follows their fascinating two-year training process while intimately capturing all of their fluffy adorableness. You also learn about the dedicated individuals who train them for this life-changing role. Not only is Pick of the Little absolutely precious, it is very moving and emotional to witness the service the beautiful creatures provide and the lives that are better for it. This perfect family film is available on Swank.
Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age dramaedy Lady Bird captures the insecurities of adolescence with sharp humor and lots of heart. Sasorise Ronan gives an impeccable performance as Lady Bird, a confused Catholic school girl looking to shape her identity and break free of her hometown after her senior year. Gerwig crafts a touching and hilarious love letter to mother/daughter relationships. The authenticity of the ensemble’s performances, featuring actors such as Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges, and Timothee Chalamet, bring to life Gerwig’s nostalgic look on that precarious, tender time between being a kid and an adult. Available on Kanopy.
I Wanna Hold Your Hand follows four lovesick teenagers on an obsessive quest to meet The Beatles before the legendary appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. This madcap slapstick comedy captures the legendary hysteria of Beatlemania during the early 1960s. It celebrates the once in a lifetime moment when a pop culture phenomenon emerged through the eyes of quirky, wide-eyed characters on the cusp of adulthood. The loveable ensemble makes I Wanna Hold Your Hand a cute, quirky, romp. Available on Kanopy.