Movies with heart?
March 23, 2024 10:55 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a movie or two with "heart?" Something moving and inspiring to watch.

For whatever reason, the best example that comes to mind at the moment is Shaolin Soccer. The way it tells its underdog story really tugs at my heartstrings. It's almost close to how I felt when I first read Where the Red Fern Grows as a kid? Something melodramatic and emotionally crushing like The Passion of Joan of Arc might meet the brief.

Schmalz need not apply, though I suppose where the line lies is personal.

What comes to mind?
posted by Number Used Once to Media & Arts (64 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
I’m not sure if I’m meeting the brief here, but for me the movie Nomadland had ‘heart’.
posted by Salamander at 11:33 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]

It's a fine line indeed - and FWIW I have a pretty low tolerance for sappiness. But for me, these are some movies that I'd say have heart without entering the realm of schmaltz:

3 Idiots
Muriel's Wedding
The Apartment
Coming to America
Midnight Run

(...on reflection these are also mostly underdog stories!)
posted by equalpants at 12:26 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
posted by emd3737 at 12:48 AM on March 24 [23 favorites]

St. Vincent.
posted by headnsouth at 2:54 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

"Coach Carter" on Netflix?
posted by toucan at 3:03 AM on March 24

The Visitor (2007) - not the horror movie of the same name! It is all heart.
posted by caoimhe at 3:14 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]

It’s been several years since I watched it but The Man Who Knew Infinity immediately came to mind.
posted by shocks connery at 4:05 AM on March 24

I saw it long ago but I have a vague and very warm feeling about "Places in the Heart."
posted by tmdonahue at 4:14 AM on March 24

Breaking Away.
posted by whatevernot at 4:26 AM on March 24 [12 favorites]

Miss Potter
posted by cupcakeninja at 5:17 AM on March 24

Most recently:
Bank of Dave
but never to be surpassed:
posted by superelastic at 5:39 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]

Pride - underdogs and solidarity.

The 1947 The Bishop's Wife - support for someone who is underappreciated.

Eat Drink Man Woman - family coming to understand each other.

Newton - democracy is the underdog.
posted by brainwane at 5:44 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]

Trust (1990)
posted by AlbertCalavicci at 6:12 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

posted by walkinginsunshine at 6:14 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

Twins. So much heart. Plus, it's hilarious.
posted by Dolley at 6:15 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

I suspect most sports movies fit, but the thing that immediately jumped to mind was Breakfast with Scot (which, yes, I manage to shoehorn into just about ever movie AskMe, but I love it so).

- Guys and Balls (German title: Männer wie Wir)
- that movie where the kid ends up inheriting the Minnesota Twins
- Goal
posted by hoyland at 6:21 AM on March 24

The Full Monty
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:24 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]

posted by Sky12 at 6:36 AM on March 24

The Edge of Seventeen
posted by bearette at 6:39 AM on March 24

Eddie the Eagle
posted by pianissimo at 6:43 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

Living and The Quiet Girl come to mind. Plus another vote for Muriel's Wedding .
posted by RoseyPosey at 6:53 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

Brigsby Bear
posted by achrise at 7:00 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

Wings of Desire leans arty but has it's fans
posted by ovvl at 7:05 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]

Cinema Paradiso
posted by trig at 7:11 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]

The Princess Bride
posted by ActionPopulated at 7:14 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]

My life as a Turkey
posted by beccaj at 7:34 AM on March 24

The Personal History of David Copperfield
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:38 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]

Sing Street
posted by wsquared at 7:41 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]

Little Miss Sunshine

Walks the schmalz line but A Man Called Otto
posted by warriorqueen at 7:42 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]

School of Rock is one I love for this purpose
posted by jeweled accumulation at 7:43 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]

Petite maman (2021)
posted by dunhamrc at 8:04 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

The Sandlot.

Every time I see this movie I hope my nephews grow up to be half as kind as Benny Rodriguez. He's the undisputed leader of the kids in that neighborhood and where he goes the other kids follow. Benny invites Scotty to join their baseball team despite Scotty obviously knowing nothing about how to play. He saw a lonely kid and invited him into their group of friends and then those friends rally behind Scotty when he finds himself in trouble.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 8:08 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]

Theater Camp
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
Blinded By The Light
The Brand New Testament
The Kung Fu Panda movies
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:14 AM on March 24

Korean film: Old Partner (2008), an ancient ox and rural couple. DVDs on eBay and perhaps at your library. Interview with filmmaker here.
posted by xaryts at 8:21 AM on March 24

French: Tous les Soleils.
posted by Stoneshop at 8:27 AM on March 24

posted by Glinn at 8:35 AM on March 24 [7 favorites]

Next Goal Wins
posted by Mallenroh at 8:44 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:44 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

Seconding Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris and Little Miss Sunshine. We have had a lot of luck with British movies that take place in a seaside village, and movies about someone who went through a crisis (divorce, death of a loved one) and started taking dancing lessons. Also, there are a ton of feel good sports movies, especially baseball-related. Again, Amazon seems to have a lot of these.

Some specifics:
Stone of Destiny
Esio Trot
Mambo Italiano
The Great Seduction
All at Sea
Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School
The Perfect Game
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:53 AM on March 24

Apollo 13 does this for me, but YMMV.
posted by invincible summer at 9:04 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]

The Fifth Element -- hear me out. Everyone is trying to do their best, or is a comic foil (even Zorg). The message of the movie is that love drives out evil. It's comic book silly but also extremely earnest. And it's beautiful and fun.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:12 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]

C'mon C'mon
posted by luzdeluna at 9:12 AM on March 24

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Mad Hot Ballroom
The Straight Story
Love is Overtaking Me
Babe II: Pig in the City
posted by mai at 9:27 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

The Intouchables with Omar Sy. It is impossible to overstate how much heart this movie has. French with subtitles.
posted by evilmomlady at 9:39 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]

posted by egeanin at 9:46 AM on March 24

I guess schmaltz is in the eye of the beholder but I think Where the Heart Is fits the bill and is criminally underrated. Think I might watch it right now.
posted by telegraph at 9:49 AM on March 24

Brian and Charles is charming, low-key and has heart.
posted by theora55 at 10:21 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

Alma’s Rainbow (1994)
Dogfight (1991)
Give Me Liberty (2019)
Our Little Sister (2015)
Smoke Signals (1998)

+1 for Personal History of David Copperfield!
posted by phonebia at 10:23 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]

The Homecoming (1971)
Groundhog Day (1993)
posted by indexy at 11:24 AM on March 24

Shall We Dance?
(The original 1996 film, not the 2004 remake.)
posted by Dolley at 11:42 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]

Documentary: Now that I’m thinking about it, a good double-feature with Made in Dagenham would be Norma Rae (1979). The trailer pretty much gives everything away because that’s what trailers were like in 1979, so don’t watch it if you like to go in cold. I think Norma Rae has a ton of heart.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:14 PM on March 24

Two lovely films from Down Under: The Castle and The Dish.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 12:32 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]

People really rising to the occasion with courage and heart in the face of danger:
Apollo 13
The Martian
Captain Philips

People connecting with their inner vulnerabilities and truths:
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
Frances Ha
In America

Silly and full of heart
School of Rock

Stupid action movies that I like for their heart:
Con Air
White House Down
posted by theotherdurassister at 1:00 PM on March 24

Possibly Tokyo Godfathers. Which also makes me think of Ikiru, for a different kind of heart.

>Strictly Ballroom (1992)
Currently on youtube!
posted by trig at 3:14 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]

Local Hero and Gregory’s Girl - both by Bill Forsyth.
posted by rongorongo at 3:18 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]

Some classics:
Forrest Gump
Harry and Sally
posted by SweetLiesOfBokonon at 3:26 PM on March 24

Roman Holiday Hepburn/Peck

The Visitor with Richard Jenkins/Hiam Abbass
posted by artdrectr at 3:38 PM on March 24

I'm a bird person, but I loved the documentary All That Breathes (2022).
posted by pjenks at 5:48 PM on March 24

Here is an excellent list of movies that fit this description.

Don't know how you feel about anime, but I watched K-On! The Movie over the weekend and can totally recommend that.

Agreeing with Little Miss Sunshine and Wilderpeople and Tokyo Godfathers. Another personal favourite is Whistle Down the Wind.
posted by snarfois at 3:41 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Billy Elliot
posted by Fairweatherfriend at 8:47 AM on March 25

Heart and Souls
posted by Drosera at 2:15 PM on March 26

Gas Food Lodging
posted by bendy at 11:15 PM on March 27

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