Life can be stressful. Work, relationships, finances, health issues – the pressures seem endless sometimes. While it’s important to develop healthy long-term strategies for managing stress, like exercising and talking to loved ones, sometimes you just need a quick pick-me-up in the moment. Watching a feel-good movie can be a great way to hit the pause button on your stress and give your mind a break, if only for a little while. If you love Italian cinema, here are some uplifting Italian movies perfect for stress relief.
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
This romantic drama is a nostalgic ode to the power of movies. It follows the story of Salvatore, a successful film director who returns to his Sicilian hometown for the funeral of Alfredo, the projectionist at the local cinema who took Salvatore under his wing when he was a boy. As Salvatore reminisces about his childhood and Alfredo’s mentorship, Cinema Paradiso beautifully captures the magic of falling in love with movies. With its sun-drenched Sicilian setting, poetic love story, and Ennio Morricone’s sweeping score, Cinema Paradiso will whisk you away to another world and warm your soul.
The Best of Youth (2003)
Spanning nearly 40 years from the 1960s to early 2000s, The Best of Youth is an epic family drama that’s sumptuously shot and brilliantly acted. The film immerses you into the lives of two brothers, Nicola and Matteo, as they take different paths and navigate historical events like the Florence flood, student protests, and Italian terrorism. Despite separation and hardship, their close bond perseveres. Running over 6 hours long, The Best of Youth is like an engrossing Italian novel you can’t put down. Both intimate and panoramic, it’s a richly rewarding viewing experience.
Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958)
This comedy is pure cinematic joy. It follows a bumbling group of small-time criminals in 1950s Milan who decide to rob a pawn shop safe full of cash. As they haplessly try to pull off the heist, the film satirizes classic noir tropes with plenty of slapstick laughs. Besides being downright hilarious, Big Deal on Madonna Street is visually stunning thanks to its inventive shot composition and striking black-and-white photography. It’s impossible not to smile when watching the misfits’ silly antics as upbeat jazz plays in the background.
My Brother is an Only Child (2007)
An offbeat dramedy set in 1960s Italy, My Brother is an Only Child explores family and ideological divides through the adventures of two very different brothers, Accio and Manrico. While ardent communist Manrico pursues revolution and rebellion, Accio takes a more conservative path as an upwardly mobile entrepreneur. Their ideological clashes yield both humor and heartbreak. Beyond the politics, My Brother is an Only Child captures the unique bond between brothers with emotional authenticity. The film is bolstered by strong lead performances and vibrant period details.
The Great Beauty (2013)
This awarded, visually dazzling film follows Jep Gambardella, a writer in his 60s enjoying a lavish, carefree life amid Rome’s fashionable nightlife and artistic community after achieving renown decades earlier for a single novel. When he learns an old friend has died, Jep is jolted into confronting his fading success and assessing the ultimate value of his seemingly empty existence. Featuring voluptuous cinematography and elaborate party sequences, The Great Beauty makes Rome look absolutely majestic. But beneath the surface glamour, the film is a thoughtful meditation on life’s deeper meaning.
Whether you need a good laugh, a good cry, or just a temporary escape, these acclaimed Italian movies offer something for every mood. Their stunning settings, multifaceted characters, and emotional storytelling have the power to lift your spirits. So next time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, consider putting on one of these films, sitting back, and letting its magic transport you away from your worries – at least for a couple of rejuvenating hours. With vivid imagery, captivating narratives, and resonant themes, Italian cinema is comfort food for the soul.