12 Fun and Optimistic Films Without the Stupid Romance

A thoughtful friend took to a film forum looking for movie suggestions to cheer up their friend who recently had to call off her engagement. Dealing with a personal tragedy or heartbreak can feel like the world is ending.

While you need some lighthearted optimism, this often comes in the form of the dreaded romance, which is the last thing you want to see right now. These 12 fun and optimistic movies remind us that heartwarming stories don't always need to revolve around romance and that happiness can be found anywhere.

1. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

the darjeeling limited
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

The Darjeeling Limited follows the eccentric and estranged Whitman brothers, Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody), and Jack (Jason Schwartzman), as they embark on a train journey across India.

Through their humorous misadventures and personal revelations, the brothers reconnect and rediscover the bonds of brotherhood. Director Wes Anderson's signature visual style and offbeat storytelling make this film a delightful and heartwarming exploration of family, self-discovery, and the pursuit of happiness.

2. School of Rock (2003)

School of Rock 2003
Image Credit: Andrew Schwartz – Paramount Pictures.

In School of Rock, down-on-his-luck musician Dewey Finn (Jack Black) poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious private school. Instead of sticking to the curriculum, he forms a rock band with his talented young students and prepares them for an epic Battle of the Bands competition.

This energetic and feel-good comedy showcases the transformative power of music, the importance of embracing your passions, and the unbreakable spirit of friendship.

3. Matilda (1996)

Matilda 2 Tristar MSN
Image Credit: Tristar.

Based on Roald Dahl's beloved novel, Matilda tells the enchanting story of a precocious young girl named Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson) with extraordinary telekinetic abilities. Neglected by her family and facing a tyrannical headmistress at school, Matilda finds solace and strength through her love of books and her supportive teacher, Miss Honey (Embeth Davidtz).

This whimsical and empowering film celebrates the power of intelligence, resilience, and the magic of childhood imagination.

4. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2021)

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Image Credit: A24

Marcel the Shell is a delightful series of short films created by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp. Through charming stop-motion animation, Marcel the Shell (voiced by Jenny Slate) narrates his daily life experiences, providing quirky insights and endearing tales from his tiny shell home. Marcel's unique perspective and optimistic outlook on life make these shorts a heartwarming and whimsical treat for all ages.

5. The Emperor's New Groove (2000)

The Emperor's New Groove
Image Credit: Disney Enterprises.

In The Emperor's New Groove, Emperor Kuzco (voiced by David Spade) is transformed into a llama by his power-hungry advisor, Yzma (voiced by Eartha Kitt). Forced to rely on the help of Pacha (voiced by John Goodman), a kind-hearted peasant, Kuzco learns valuable lessons about humility, friendship, and the true meaning of leadership.

With its witty humor, vibrant animation, and memorable characters, this animated comedy is a hilarious and uplifting adventure.

6. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

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Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Little Miss Sunshine follows the dysfunctional Hoover family as they embark on a cross-country road trip to support their youngest daughter, Olive (Abigail Breslin), in her quest to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. This dark comedy-drama explores themes of perseverance, acceptance, and the importance of family bonds.

Through a series of humorous and heartfelt moments, the Hoovers learn that success is not defined by outward appearances but by embracing one's true self.

7. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Inglourious Basterds, Brad Pitt
Image Credit: The Weinstein Company.

Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds is a thrilling and irreverent World War II film that follows a group of Jewish-American soldiers led by Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) on a mission to eliminate Nazis in occupied France.

In a brilliant blend of action, suspense, and dark humor, this alternate-history tale showcases the power of resilience, revenge, and the triumph of good over evil in the face of adversity.

8. Hugo (2011)

Image Credit: GK Films and Jaap Buitendijk

Directed by Martin Scorsese, Hugo is a visually stunning and heartfelt film set in 1930s Paris. The story revolves around Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), an orphan who lives within the walls of a train station, maintaining its clocks.

As Hugo unravels the mystery of a broken automaton left by his late father, he befriends Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), embarking on a captivating adventure that leads them to discover the magic of cinema and the importance of preserving memories.

9. The Hangover (2009)

The Hangover Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Ent.

The Hangover is a raucous comedy that follows a group of friends—Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis), and Doug (Justin Bartha)—as they embark on a wild bachelor party trip to Las Vegas. However, their night takes an unexpected turn when they wake up with no memory of the previous night, a missing groom, and a tiger in their hotel room.

As they retrace their steps and piece together the events of their outrageous evening, hilarity ensues, highlighting the importance of friendship, adventure, and embracing spontaneity.

10. What About Bob? (1991)

What About Bob? Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

In What About Bob?, Bob Wiley (Bill Murray), an endearing yet neurotic patient, becomes attached to his psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss). Despite Dr. Marvin's attempts to distance himself, Bob's persistent presence disrupts his vacation and personal life.

This comedy explores the power of human connections, the importance of acceptance, and finding joy amidst chaos. With comedic performances and heartwarming moments, What About Bob? offers a lighthearted and optimistic perspective on mental health and personal growth.

11. The Martian (2015)

The Martian Matt Damon
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Based on Andy Weir's novel, The Martian tells the gripping story of astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon), who, during a manned mission to Mars, is left stranded and presumed dead by his crew. Faced with limited resources and an inhospitable environment, Watney uses his scientific expertise, determination, and humor to survive and find a way back home.

This science fiction drama showcases human resilience and the power of ingenuity against all odds.

12. Jumanji (1995)

Jumanji animals
Source: Columbia Pictures/Tristar Pictures

Jumanji takes us on a thrilling adventure when two siblings, Judy (Kirsten Dunst) and Peter (Bradley Pierce), discover a mysterious board game that unleashes chaos into the real world. With each roll of the dice, they encounter wild animals, dangerous situations, and the mischievous Alan Parrish (Robin Williams), who has been trapped inside the game for decades. Together, they must finish the game to restore order and find a way back to reality.

This family-friendly film combines action, humor, and heartwarming moments to deliver an exciting and optimistic tale of teamwork, courage, and embracing the unpredictability of life.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.