What constitutes a feel-good movie? Simply put, any movie that puts you in a happy state of mind, free of stress. Definition aside, we don’t have a genre specific to feel-good movies per se, meaning, the category is mostly genre-agnostic. However, we at Cinemaholic, have observed that most of the movies falling under the category of a feel-good movie would be romcoms, animated flicks, chick flicks or those romance-dramas that would end up happily despite the gloomy start. It is also interesting to note that none of the feel-good movies would classify as action, horror or thriller movies, as mostly they would end in a rather dreary note. There is no dearth of feel-good movies on Netflix. Not only such movies have made us come out of our depressed state of mind, but many of these movies are also ever inspiring and uplifting in nature. More often than not, most of the feel-good movies will have a strong female lead (which is also evident from the movies on this list) and it often appears that the female character is driving the movie – which is a good thing.
On that note, we present to you a list of awe-inspiring, feel-good movies available on Netflix today, movies that would leave you with a smile. All of the movies on this list have amazing stories and incredible atmosphere that will leave you happy. From the classic ‘Tarzan’ to one of the most recent Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’, here is the list of top feel-good movies on Netflix you can stream right now. You may also find many of these feel good movies on Amazon Prime or Hulu. Here goes,
30. Two Weeks Notice (2002)
Despite the glaring grammatical error in the title, ‘Two Weeks Notice’ doesn’t disappoint, thanks to the leading actors and the coherent premise. Lucy is a lawyer and a leading environmental activist who loves being morally upright. Enter George Wade, a real-estate developer and a womanizer who is also the face of Wade Corporation, that is headed by Howard Wade, George’s brother. Lucy and George often find themselves locking horns with each other because of the anti-environmental stance taken up by Wade Corporation. George, at the behest of brother Howard, looks forward to appointing a real lawyer to be the face of Wade Corp. rather than having pretty female faces who are of no use. Lucy reluctantly agrees to fill the void but soon, after realising her mistake and given the immoral activities of George and his corporation, she gives him a two weeks’ notice after her resignation. Despite getting mixed reviews, ‘Two Weeks Notice’ shines because of Sandra Bullock and no one else.
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29. The Princess Diaries (2001)
Mia Thermopolis is an unpopular, messy teenager who has equally unpopular friends – Lily and her brother Michael who is a closeted lover of Mia. She lives in a remodelled apartment with her widowed mother who is also an artist. As Mia’s 16th birthday is around the corner, she hears from her paternal grandma Clarisse about her visit from the Kingdom of Genovia. As excited as she is, she is even the more shocked to know of the fact that her paternal grandmother is actually Queen Clarisse of Genovia and that Mia is next in line to the throne after the passing away of her father, the late crown prince. In order to be known as royalty, Mia has to learn the ways of a princess, have a better demeanour and behave herself – that she learns in due course. ‘The Princess Diaries’ was the debut movie of Anne Hathaway, yet, she appears as a seasoned actress and a potential superstar in this extremely likeable, feel-good movie.
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28. No Reservations (2007)
Perhaps this is the most feel-good movie featuring Aaron Eckhart in a supporting role. The movie is the narrative of Kate, a wonder-chef who is all about work and how to excel at what she does best – cooking. She is stark opposite at home which is mostly messy and things are not in order. After the untimely death of her sister, her niece Zoe comes to stay with Kate and the latter has no idea about how to take care of a kid, which is evident from her food choices for Zoe. Nick is the latest addition to the restaurant and brings along a certain charm and flair to the workplace, which Kate despises albeit temporarily. Soon, with Zoe’s little help, Kate and Nick start liking each other and there’s a certain change in how Kate initially was. ‘No Reservations’ should be watched for two reasons – Abigail Breslin as the ever-pretty Zoe, and the never-ending romance.
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27. Benji (2018)
The film opens with an adorable pet Benji who is on a run from a dog catcher and is astray in the city. Carter and Frankie are getting over the untimely demise of their father. The kids pick up the stray puppy and name him Benji. Their mom is a hardworking single mother trying to make ends meet and Carter and Frankie smuggle the pup into the house, unbeknownst to her. Fearing that his mother would commit the animal to a pound, he sets the animal free. Soon, Carter and Frankie are kidnapped and Benji is the only eyewitness that leads their mother and the police to the whereabouts of her children. ‘Benji’ is true to its heart and any movie on dogs would make your day, wouldn’t it?
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26. When We First Met (2018)
Adam DeVine shines brighter than anyone else in this rom-com that has a dash of science fiction and time travel angle associated with it. Noah is attending the engagement party of his one-sided crush Avery and Ethan, the person Avery is getting engaged with. The movie follows a somewhat non-linear narrative. Noah recalls the time when she first met Avery and was smitten by her, but sadly couldn’t get her engaged with himself instead. Drowned in gloom and after getting drunk, Noah ends up in a photo booth where himself and Avery had spent a nice time together. Soon, he realises he could travel back in time to the day he met Avery – every time he uses the photo booth. Despite repeated attempts to change the circumstances that prevailed during the first time he met Avery, Noah soon realises that perhaps Avery wasn’t meant to be his and goes on to live his life normally. ‘When We First Met’ relies heavily on DeVine’s pathbreaking performance and would’ve done miserably if not for him.
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25. Dear Santa (2011)
The story of a spoilt brat turned a prospective wife of a widower, ‘Dear Santa’ is feel-good only in a way when dreams and what one wishes for really comes true. The plot is the narrative of Crystal, a spendthrift who splurges her parents’ credit card money and has a massive debt on the card, thanks to her carefree nature. When her parents give her a year for course-correction and set herself straight, she determines to prove herself worthy and finds a letter to Santa from a young girl named Olivia. Apparently, Olivia is asking for a suitable girl for her widowed father who could be her stepmom as well. Her father Derek works in a soup kitchen and is a dedicated workaholic, who has an imposing and controlling girlfriend. Crystal must find her way to Derek’s heart and eventually, Olivia’s. The film received average ratings from critics, some of who called it a pleasant, watchable affair.
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24. Set It Up (2018)
What happens when a man and a woman get inspired enough to hook their bosses together? ‘Set It Up’ is the narrative of Harper and Charlie, who assist Kirsten, a journalist-turned-editor and Rick, a venture capitalist respectively and are boggled by the work-pressure from their respective bosses. One night, when they are to collect dinner for their bosses, Harper and Charlie meet owing to a coincidence and hatch up a plan to set their bosses up against each other, for they were fed up with single, workaholic superiors. While their plan works out well initially, it is doomed because as it turns out, Rick is already married and is apparently cheating on his wife. During the entire process, Charlie and Harper realise they too have feelings for each other. A coming-of-age love story, ‘Set It Up’ knows no bounds in making you feel good about it.
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23. Carrie Pilby (2016)
The titular Carrie Pilby is a genius child prodigy teenager who is graduating from Harvard after surpassing all expectations. While she’s shining at what she loves, she is socially awkward and doesn’t know how to mingle with people. While living alone in the never-ending New York City, her therapist suggests her to take up a challenge between Thanksgiving and New Year – to go out and make friends. As she begins the so-called socializing, an extremely slow and painful process for her, she does ultimately realize that social life has its own benefits. While the movie is relatable to an extent and is recognized as a coming-of-age story, the feel-good factor comes from the avenues wherever Carrie is seemingly winning towards the end of the movie.
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22. Penelope (2006)
‘Penelope’ is the story of the titular Penelope, an affluent girl who is born with the Wilhern curse – her nose and ears resemble those of a pig. The curse shall be lifted only when she is equally loved despite her shortcomings, by one of her own kind. As her parents start looking for her suitor who would accept her despite what she is without paying much heed to her (parents’) wealth, a journalist hires a gambler named Max to pose as a suitor so that the journalist could get a picture of Penelope. Penelope then decides to break away from her parents’ clutches and live her life carefree, until she could find one of her “own”, not knowing she’s already found one. The cast is good and the message loud and clear – money can’t buy everything.
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21. Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)
Hector is a therapist who is good at what he does. He has a loving wife Clara who takes care of everything he needs. Both Hector and Clara have a life that is timed to a second – right from mundane tasks to household chores. Soon, Hector realises that his life isn’t going anywhere and he needs to do something that would involve more risks. He begins with travel and aspires to become a globetrotter. At first, he travels to China to meet a not-so-perfect businessman, followed by his visit to Africa and meeting a local drug lord and then followed by meeting his ex. Hector and Clara might not have been the perfect couple after all, because how can one be perfect in making things routine. ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness’ teaches us to look within and continue to grow and not stick to a regime, IYKWIM.
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20. Julie & Julia (2009)
The story of Julie Powell and Julia Child, two women who are at least five decades apart, have never met each other and yet are connected through lip-smacking food and a recipe book written by the latter, ‘Julie & Julia’ begins with Julie who has fallen prey to a routine life in processing 9/11 claims. Her husband encourages her to take up a new challenge every day, so she sets a personal goal for herself – to finish c
ooking each of the 500 odd recipes from Julia Child’s book – “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. Apparently, Julia was a zealous woman who ventured into French cooking by joining cooking classes where all other candidates were males, back in the ’50s when women in France weren’t known as professional chefs. Beating the odds and staying optimistic is the most adverse of the circumstances are the two key takeaways from this feel-good movie.
19. Meet the Patels (2014)
Ravi Patel is a struggling actor and about 30-years-old, yet still unmarried and so is Geeta, his sister. While his parents Vasant and Champa have left no stone unturned in their son’s matchmaking to a suitable Indian girl, preferably from their own community – from rigging far-flung contacts to registering in Indian matrimony sites, but all in vain, they still urge Ravi to find a girl for himself. Ravi, in turn, is in love with Audrey, with whom he has hit a rough patch lately as the latter wants to break up. After looking through a lot of Indian profiles of girls whom he could marry, he could still not convince himself of getting over Audrey. With the help of sister Geeta, he confesses his love for Audrey in front of his parents. Despite their initial reluctance, Vasant and Champa agree to marry him to Audrey. The conclusion of the movie is on a positive note and somewhere, we start rooting for Ravi and Audrey, an essential characteristic of a feel-good movie.
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18. Sixteen Candles (1984)
A slightly dated film, yet still packing a punch, ‘Sixteen Candles’ revolves around Sam, a soon-to-be 16-year-old girl whose birthday has been completely forgotten, thanks to the upcoming marriage of her elder sister. Sam secretly roots for Jake, a student in his senior year but is also wary of Jake’s girlfriend. Meanwhile, Jake doesn’t know about Sam’s existence, but a recent squabble with his girlfriend has opened new avenues for Sam. The rest of the story follows the show and hide love affair of Jake and Sam amid Sam’s 16th birthday and her sister’s much-awaited wedding. A typical ’80s movie wherein an adolescent girl is trying to find her identity, the goodness comes from the fact that she eventually does.
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17. The Spectacular Now (2013)
Sutter Keely is a charming yet self-obsessed 18-year-old who works at a men’s clothing store and is wasting away his time partying and womanizing while having a troubled relationship with his girlfriend, who eventually breaks up with him for the most popular boy in the school, which isn’t Sutter. After a drunken night, he ends up on the front yard of Aimee, one of those unpopular girls in college who Sutter had no idea even exists. Given their differences, they hook up easily and start dating. While Sutter has no plans for the future and believes in ‘The Spectacular Now’, Aimee believes in thinking and planning ahead. Their coming together despite the difference in opinion forms the rest of the narrative. Arguably, this is the second-best performance of Shailene Woodley after TFIOS.
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16. Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Belle is a timid bibliophilic girl who has a positive outlook on her life and lives in the countryside with her father and bears a likeable persona. When, one fine day, her father is returning home and stops by to pluck a flower from a castle nearby, he is kidnapped by an ignominious beast. Upon hearing the news, Belle rushes to the castle and the Beast agrees to hold her captive in lieu of her father. She soon realises that the beast was once a prince who was cursed by an old witch, and so were his servants, thus turning them into household objects. The curse on the Beast could be lifted only if he is loved by someone and if he could love someone back equally, before the falling of the last petal of the enchanted rose. And so it happens. The narrative and stunning visuals will definitely win you all over, along with the never-ending charm of Emma Watson.
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15. Chocolat (2000)
It is the Lent season and ‘Chocolat’ is set in rural France, where the isolated village is looked after by its mayor Comte. Vianne and her young daughter Anouk are the recent immigrants in the village, who decide upon putting up a chocolate shop during the Lent season. Despite Comte’s resentment, apparently, Vianne has forever known the taste people like in town and does her best job with the chocolates, while trying to improve the quality of life of her landlady Armande. Roux is a new acquaintance who has arrived in the village along with a boating group and befriends Vianne, furthering Comte’s dissent. ‘Chocolat’ is an endearing love story and beautifully narrates the victory of Vianne despite all the oddities being against her.
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14. Tarzan (1999)
From being one of the most-narrated childhood stories of all time to a compelling movie, the story of ‘Tarzan’ is really awe-inspiring if you think about it. ‘Tarzan’ begins with an English couple who have battled a shipwreck and have landed on a dense forest shore in Congo. They build a treehouse using the shipwreck in order to protect themselves and their unnamed infant son. A tiger named Sabor kills the couple but the infant is saved. A female gorilla named Kala adopts the human infant and names it, Tarzan. Years later, Jane, Tarzan’s love interest, arrives at the jungle and they both seemingly fall for each other. Tarzan has to choose between the jungle and its animals or humans and his family while battling Clayton, a spiteful hunter. No story gets more and more compelling as ‘Tarzan’, which also has a very conclusive ending.
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13. August Rush (2007)
Categorically speaking, ‘August Rush’ has gotten more love from the viewers than the critics and remains to be one of those popular movies that have been panned by the critics, to this day. The movie begins with two musicians, Lyla and Louis. While Lyla is dominated by her over-protective father and is a cellist, Louis is the leading vocalist of a band named “The Connelly Brothers”. Louis and Lyla hook up after a chance meeting at a concert and have a one-night stand. As Lyla rushes back to the NYC with her father, she realises she’s been pregnant, much to the resentment of her father. She meets with a car accident while being determined to deliver the baby and yet, her father wrongfully tells her about the child’s demise. The child ends up in a foster home, has a penchant for sounds and music and grows up to be known as “August Rush”, the one who reunites his parents at one of his own concerts. An uplifting and transformational story, ‘August Rush’ can give you goosebumps.
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12. Mulan (1998)
Mulan is a free-spirited outcast, clumsy and unable to follow rules or traditions. Nevertheless, she has a kind heart and wants to defend her family honour, while still being true to herself. She joins the army in order to protect his father but also to prove her own self-worth. Mulan is one of few Disney princesses who are not actually royalty through either birth or marriage. With incredible characters and talented actors, “Mulan” quickly became a Disney classic about female empowerment.
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11. Love Actually (2003)
In this movie, we follow the lives of eight couples and their daily lives. Set in the month before Christmas in London, “Love Actually” is all about falling in love and out of love, meeting the right people or making mistakes. Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Keira Knightly and Martin Freeman are just some of the many wonderful actors that brought this movie to life. Although this chick flick has a great storyline, the movie would not be the same without this strong and talented cast. “Love Actually” is the perfect movie to relax and watch with your loved ones.
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10. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
“Kung Fu Panda” is an animated comedy about a lazy panda, Po, who must somehow become a Kung Fu Master in order to save the Valley of Peace from a villainous snow leopard, Tai Lung. Set in the mythical world of ancient China, Po is an unlikely hero, who enters the rigid world of Kung Fu and turns it upside down. The uplifting tale of a nobody that was Po to being the accidental dragon warrior, who needs to prove his mettle to the world as the rightful recipient of the dragon scroll, ‘Kung Fu Panda’ might have been one of the most significant and defining animated movies of the modern time. Dreamworks Animation managed to create a story that will keep everyone glued to the screen. It is about the power of believing in yourself and following your dreams. The animation is wonderful as well as the music.
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9. Wake Up Sid! (2009)
Sid Mehra is a spoilt brat. He doesn’t care for anything except for splurging his father’s money and piling up on credit card bills and partying with his friends. He is a laggard at studies and has mostly failed in it. He gets to meet Aisha, a struggling writer who has recently moved to Mumbai from Calcutta and looking for a place to settle in. Sid helps her out in setting up her apartment. After yet another failure in the final exams, Sid is ousted from his house by his father and he ends up at Aisha’s house, who agrees to let him stay for a while. Soon, with nothing in hand, Sid rediscovers his passion for photography and starts working for the same magazine Aisha has been working for while falling in love with the latter. Sid and Aisha’s simmering chemistry amid a beautiful rainy setup makes you feel good exactly the way you’ve always wanted to be.
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8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is a sequel filled with action and top-notch CGI. Because of its witty humour, charismatic characters and cameos of famous actors, the film is entertaining and captivating.
This time, the Guardians team up to uncover the truth behind Peter Quill’s true heritage. Quill and company finally get to meet Ego, Quill’s biological father who takes Quill and some of his mates to his planet. Apparently, Ego is not what he appears to be and turns out to be an invasive Celestial who cares about nothing and goes on a planet-destroying spree every time he wants it. His was a chance encounter with Meredith, Quill’s mother and so was Quill’s birth. The movie concludes with an enraged Quill taking over his father. Now recognized as heroes, the guardians must fight to keep their new family together despite all the odds.
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7. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Pat has recently been released from a mental correction facility. He was sent to the facility in the first place because he discovered that his wife has been cheating on her and had beat up his wife’s lover while they were having sex. Even after being released, he finds it difficult to gel with his parents and still has those bipolar episodes. Tiffany is the edgy sister-in-law of Pat’s best friend, who has lost her husband who was a cop and is sexually promiscuous these days. Pat and Tiffany make a wager with Pat’s father’s bookie friend – if the Philadelphia Eagles win their next game and if Pat and Tiffany manage to score a 5 out of 10 in an upcoming dance competition, Pat would win double of what he’d lost. The dance sequence, in the end, is really edge-of-the-seat. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have outshined everyone else in the movie and Lawrence got her well-deserved debut Academy Award for Best Actress.
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6. The Little Prince (2015)
In “The Little Prince”, a mother tries to prepare her daughter for a grown-up world. With her entire life schedule, the young girl doesn’t really have fun and is always thinking about her responsibilities. However, when she meets her neighbour, the Aviator, she discovers an extraordinary world where anything is possible. Mark Osborne created the first-ever animated film adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s iconic masterpiece, “The Little Prince”. Not only the story is amazing and emotional, but the animation is extremely well-made. This is a film that will make you feel good because of its powerful and important message.
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5. Hot Fuzz (2007)
Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg return with this impressive action-comedy movie that follows a skilled London police officer that is transferred to a small town. However, that small town is hiding a very dark secret. The parts are all cast brilliantly, especially Pegg and Frost as the two lead police officers. Moreover, this film is so funny you can watch twice and still catch jokes you did not notice the first time. With a lot of twists and turns, it manages to balance action and comedy perfectly. A witty intelligent British comedy that is well directed and with action scenes executed stunningly.
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4. Shrek (2001)
The story of an ugly fat green ogre who is smitten by a beautiful princess, ‘Shrek’ begins with the titular Shrek, an ogre who likes to live an idyllic life in his swamp. He is distracted by a swarm of other fairytale animals who have come to his swamp and in order to have it all by himself, he raises the matter with Lord Farquaad to exile the creatures somewhere else. Turns out, Farquaad wants to marry his love princess Fiona, who has been held captive at a castle guarded by a dragon and tasks Shrek to bring her to him in lieu of his life. Shrek and Donkey start off on an adventure to save Princess Fiona, but Shrek himself gets smitten by the princess – everything that ends up in an unusual but eternal love story. ‘Shrek’ is the endearing story of love despite all the shortcomings and gives us a lot to root for.
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3. The Iron Giant (1999)
Right after USSR launched the Sputnik I, a foreign object falls from space near the coast of Maine. Hogarth, a young boy who lives nearby, sees an Iron Giant eating off electrical wires and rails, before being hit by a train. Soon, Hogarth befriends the alien, who, in turn, also has a soft corner for Hogarth. Kent Mansley is a Government agent who is determined to catch hold of the Iron Giant and put an end to all speculations. Hogarth has to keep the Iron Giant safe and sound while trying to protect himself from the vicious agents who’re after both of them. While ‘The Iron Giant’ sounds somewhat inspired by ‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’, it is entirely an original script and makes for a heartwarming, non-invasive story of affection between a human boy and an alien metal giant.
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2. Song of the Sea (2014)
‘Song of the Sea’ is set around the Irish folk tale of Selkies – mythical beings who are humanoid but turn into seals when they’re underwater. The movie begins with a pregnant woman tucking her son Ben to the bed. She gives birth to a girl who is named Saoirse but dies afterwards. Six years later, Ben and Saoirse are living with their widowed father Conor, who is a lighthouse keeper and are frequented by their grandmother. Saoirse, while playing a shell and after following little specks of light, finds a coat which makes her a seal underwater – thus rendering the Selkies’ lore to be true. Saoirse needs to fulfil her destiny of being a Selkie and her dream takes her places she could never have thought of. ‘Song of the Sea’ is tear-jerking yet a triumphant tale of a mute girl who seemingly won us all over.
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1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
With the last but not the least of the movies on this list, we again get back to the same question – what makes a feel-good movie? Eternal happiness, I believe. ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ is a flawless narrative of a young man named Joel and his love interest, Clementine. Joel and Clementine have a chance encounter on board a train from Montauk to Rockville Centre. While it appears they wouldn’t have known each other, flashbacks reveal that they were lovers back in the day. Things didn’t work out and Clementine went for a memory-erasing procedure and so did Joel. Because the procedure erases memories in reverse, starting with the bitter ones first, Joel and Clementine are left with sweeter memories of each other, like meeting for the first time in Montauk. They agree to give their long-lost relationship yet another chance. Intriguing, inspiring and effectively mindblowing, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ has often been regarded as one of the greatest movies of the 21st century.
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