During trying times, many of us like to get our minds off the real world by escaping into a favorite movie. While some of your favorites may make you laugh or cry, we would like to provide you with our list of movies that may help you unwind or relax.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Relaxing Movies to Help Ease Your Anxiety
- Relaxing Movies to Fall Asleep To
- Relaxing Movies for Kids or Toddlers
The world is already full of too much drama and suspense. If a loved one is struggling with a tough time, consider sending over a self-care gift basket with one of these soothing movies to pop in and a blanket for them to snuggle under.
Relaxing Movies to Help Ease Your Anxiety
You may not agree with all the movies on our list, but it may help you think about what films you turn to when you need to unwind. What titles would you give as a relaxation gift for a friend who was going through a difficult time?
Here are some picks that may help you breathe easier.
1. Sense and Sensibility
To be fair, almost any authentic Jane Austin adaptation would put most people at ease. Even though Austin’s stories are full of drama, the characters discuss these issues in idyllic natural backgrounds, hardly ever raising their voices.
Led by the stellar casting of Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet living as two sisters of three sisters in an English cottage, Sense and Sensibility is a sweet movie that can help you ease your troubled mind.
2. My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding
In most romantic movies, a couple meets and then goes on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, leaving the viewer to wonder if they will get together in the end. This isn’t true for My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding.
We know that Toula and Ian will end up with each other in the end, but we aren’t sure what kind of chaos her family will cause along the way.
3. Say Anything
This story of first love contains the iconic scene of John Cusack holding up a radio outside of his love interest’s home. Yes, you know Say Anything by heart. That’s why it’s on this list. It doesn’t require any thought.
4. Mamma Mia
Can someone experience stress while listening to Abba? It’s just not possible. The music and gorgeous natural setting of Mamma Mia (and don't forget Mamma Mia 2!) will surely lower your blood pressure as you watch.
5. A Walk in the Clouds
While the plot of A Walk in the Clouds may not be memorable, chances are many may remember the scene when everyone waves enormous butterfly wings near burning torches to try to save the grapes from an early frost.
Skip the movie and look up this scene on YouTube if you need to relax. Also, check out Keanu Reeves's just-as-endearing film The Lake House.
6. Some Like it Hot
If you are looking for a genuinely relaxing movie, consider those made in the 1950s. That generation of moviemakers knew how to create films to help people escape from their everyday lives.
Marilyn Monroe stars in this classic, Some Like It Hot. You should also check out any movie with Rock Hudson and Doris Day as anxiety-fighting movies.
7. Bridget Jones’s Diary
You can’t get too worked up when watching Bridget Jones's Diary. Yes, there’s a fight scene, but the two characters pause in mid-fight to apologize to diners in the restaurant and sing happy birthday as a giant Parthenon cake is brought out of a kitchen.
8. A League of Their Own
What’s not to love about A League of Their Own? Even non-sports fans can find the charm in this (there’s no crying in) baseball movie.
9. Best in Show
Schitt’s Creek fans can have another opportunity to see Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara as husband and wife in Best in Show. Even if the dog owners and handlers cause you some stress, you can always watch the movie on mute and enjoy looking at the awesome pups.
Relaxing Movies to Fall Asleep To
If you recently lost a loved one, you may have trouble falling asleep. Here are some movies that may help you with your self-care and grief (at least for a few moments) so you can fall asleep.
10. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Otherwise, you can drift off to sleep as Frodo and his gang are walking. Chances are they will still be on their journey when you wake up in the morning.
11. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
The good thing about falling asleep to this movie is that you avoid the plot falling apart in the end. Until then, the rhythmic clacking of coconuts may help you drift off to dreamland.
12. The Hundred-Foot Journey
Many of you may not have heard of The Hundred-Foot Journey since it is certainly not a classic, but its plot involves two competing restaurants in France.
If the Great British Baking Show leaves you feeling relaxed, you may also enjoy watching people chop, dice, and saute in The Hundred-Foot Journey.
Regardless of the plot, Castaway is a quiet movie. You’ll hear the rhythmic sound of the waves interspersed with a little dialog between Tom Hanks and a volleyball. You’re probably nodding off just thinking about it, aren’t you?
The sweet piano soundtrack for this French film continues to enchant fans of this story of a shy do-gooder. One reviewer complimented Amelie for its “airy, whimsical charm.” It sounds like a winner for helping you destress and fall asleep.
15. The Biggest Little Farm
This documentary, released in 2018, tells the story of a couple who leave the city and purchase a farm in California. Even though the movie is far from boring, its rural scenery may help you drift asleep with somewhat pleasant dreams.
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
There’s nothing more comforting for Potterheads than to watch the first film in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Yes, there’s some action, but most of this movie is spent providing the background for the magical world that is hidden from view from most muggles.
The dark lighting and the soothing British voices will lull you to sleep way before Professor Quirrell unwraps his turban from his head.
17. White Christmas
You’ve probably seen White Christmas dozens of times, so you won’t need to stay up to see what happens to General Waverly’s inn. In the meantime, you may drift asleep hearing the crooning voice of Bing Crosby.
18. Princess Bride
The action of The Princess Bride is interrupted with scenes of a grandpa telling a bedtime story to his grandson. Use this relaxing movie as your bedtime story, and you will dream of princesses and clergymen with speech impediments.
Relaxing Movies for Kids or Toddlers
If you are a parent trying to put a kid to bed, you know what movies to avoid showing to your child. It might not be a good idea to inspire a singalong of Aladdin, Despicable Me, or any of the Lego movies. Instead, here are some more relaxing titles that may help your kiddos drift off to sleep.
19. Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out
A Grand Day Out is a grand choice of a “going to sleep movie.” The characters were created using claymation. And as Gromit doesn’t speak, you’re kids will only hear the soothing British voice of Wallace, his owner.
Also check out the rest of the collection!
20. Winnie the Pooh
Simply hearing the words Winnie the Pooh makes you a little drowsy, doesn’t it? A.A. Milne’s uncomplicated plots and slow pace are perfect shows to help your kids fall asleep.
Now, if there was only something we could do about that bouncy, bouncy Tigger who is always riling things up.
Your little one may have a difficult time staying up while listening to the soothing music of Tchaikovsky as well as the beautiful Ave Maria in Fantasia. Best to shut it off before the music really ramps up in the last fourth.
22. The Wizard of Oz
Granted, we don’t want your children to have nightmares about tornados or flying monkeys, but chances are they will fall asleep as soon as Judy Garland starts to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in The Wizard of Oz.
This animated masterpiece has cute moments for your kids and a fantastic plot for you. There are long stretches without dialogue in Up, but be careful. Your kids may wake up to the sounds of your sobbing.
24. Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web is the classic story of a pig named Wilbur and his spider friend, Charlotte. Your kids will relax watching the farm animals interact, and they will drift away, imagining life on a farm.
25. The Little Bear Movie
The background music of The Little Bear Movie is incredibly soothing as the wholesome characters of the PBS series run around onscreen. Even if wayward Little Bear ends up in a difficult situation, rest assured that he will find a way out thanks to his friends.
26. Disney’s Oceans
Some parents use sound machines to help their children fall asleep. Perhaps the Disney movie Oceans could do the trick in a pinch.
27. The Secret Garden
A British estate with a secret garden is the setting of The Secret Garden based on the novel by the same name. Your children would be interested in the plot, but the slow parts in the middle may cause them to fall asleep.
28. Planet Earth
Consider carefully which episodes of Planet Earth you show to your children if you wish them to fall asleep. Some show animals acting like wild animals and will do nothing to soothe your own little wild animals.
What Movies Calm You or Your Kids?
What movies calm you when it seems as if nothing is going your way? While the above-mentioned list may be a start, we assume that everyone’s list would be different.
Perhaps you turn to your favorite musical. Maybe you pop on your favorite comedy that you have seen so often you know the words by heart. Some people don’t enjoy movies and instead feel most relaxed watching The Great British Baking Show.
What’s on your list?