By Pascale Freer
There’s nothing better than a movie with characters you can fall in love with.
Sure, a good plot is always vital, and special effects tend to reel in the box office revenue. But you can never tire of a movie with real heart, which is why the movies listed below have endured.
Be warned: the following list of popular movies does contain spoilers, so do not read parts that describe one of the movies that you haven’t seen yet.
Audrey Tatou plays Amelie, a woman who finds ways to bring others together after her own isolated upbringing..
After finding a box with mementos in a wall, she tracks down its owner — who is then inspired to reach out to estranged relatives. She continues to find ways to enrich the lives of others. She meets a man who is also isolated and they begin to connect, at first from a distance and then through found objects. It’s a charming romance with endearing and intriguing characters and a warm heart.
Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)
One of those movies you can watch over and over again. And, as is so often the case, the first movie in this trilogy is clearly the best.
Bridget Jones is a character many can relate to, thanks to her ongoing efforts to change her weight, her diet, her alcohol consumption and her single status. She's beloved for her self-deprecating humour — the scene where she chooses granny panties over a sexy g string is hilarious.
The end of the movie is especially satisfying, where the audience is led to believe all is lost when in fact all has been won.
Titanic is both epic and beautiful, thanks to the gorgeous costumes and the convincing (and often terrifying) portrayal of this tragic collision.
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio play the classic 'rich girl meets poor boy' and fall in love against all the odds, only to lose each other in a classic tear jerker of a scene where Jack Dawson dies so his love interest can survive. (Sob!)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Pulp Fiction was groundbreaking at its time of release, as it re-invented the traditional narrative by going back and forward in time and telling a story from multiple perspectives. And the soundtrack? Phenomenal.
Hunger Games (2012)
Jennifer Lawrence is at her best in the first instalment of the Hunger Games franchise, playing a young woman who puts herself in extreme danger to save her sister from a deadly fate.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
This movie celebrates the survival of the human spirit: a man is wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and makes the best of horrific experiences in prison until he finally escapes.
The Notebook (2004)
The very definition of romance. The scene of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling rowing across a geese-filled lake, before kissing passionately in the rain, is a pop culture classic.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
It's the characters who make this film — particularly Jennifer Lawrence’s, who confesses to having “sex with everybody in the office” without shame and complete candour. Both leads have a mental illness, and at first they completely clash with hilarious results until they start to really connect by learning to dance together.
The Hours (2002)
Three different narratives run concurrently where the life of the writer Virginia Woolf is played out alongside the life of the characters in her writing.
The Hours stars Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Clare Danes and Nicole Kidman, whose performances will blow you away. It's a movie that will both touch and haunt you.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
The premise of this film is astounding: characters can erase their memory of a certain person post-heartbreak. Things become complicated when the characters regret the erasure. Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey bring the plot to life in convincing performances.
Once you've made your way through the list, here are all the TV shows you should be binge watching: