Movie Reviews

10 Of The Best Feel-Good Movies Set In Small Towns, According To Reddit

The town of Hawkins, Indiana captured fans’ hearts once again when Stranger Things returned to viewers’ screens back in July 2022 for its fourth installment. Season 4 of Stranger Things was both sinister and heartwarming as it toyed with the town’s tranquility whilst also showing the power it held against threats that sought to destroy it.

Hawkins, Indiana may have been subject to many bizarre happenings, but, underneath all of it was a town where everybody knew each other and proved their willingness to protect their locals. The famous Upside-Down town left viewers wanting less gore and more wholesome small-town vibes, with plenty taking to Reddit to see if there was any that fit the niche.

Super 8 provides fans with the same small-town vibe as Stranger Things as it follows a group of kids who seek to uncover the strange goings-on within their town. According to one Redditor, “Super 8 is pretty damn good” in terms of science fiction and gave fans a thriller that wouldn’t just terrify them but also warm their hearts.

RELATED: 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Super 8

This sci-fi thriller plunges the peaceful suburb into chaos through incredible special effects, low-key lighting, and an intriguing plot. Super 8 may take a darker approach to the small-town setting but by the end, provides both characters and fans with a sense of hope in a thought-provoking, enigmatic ending that gave the townspeople a welcomed feeling of freedom.

Moonrise Kingdom is a film that feels exactly like summer due to its warm, hazy glow and interesting cinematography. According to one Redditor, “Moonrise Kingdom fits the motif” of a feel-good movie as it provides viewers with an interesting adventure story that shows the power of a tiny village.

Wes Anderson’s playful charm continuously appears throughout the movie and is particularly evident through his eccentric characters that mirror the town’s wacky vibe. Moonrise Kingdom has many heartwarming moments, but its final scene is the sweetest as it shows Sam being legally adopted by Sharp and in turn, the close-knit town that welcomed him in with open arms.

Now And Then follows the lives of four female friends as each one reminisces about the summer of 1970, where they cemented their long-lasting friendship and caused chaos around their town. One Redditor believed “Now and Then is the girl’s version of The Sandlot,” due to its heavy focus on friendship.

By employing a small town as the film’s setting, it saw the girls form their own entertainment before the introduction of technology, which changed childhood adventures for good. Now And Then saw the girls explore the tiny town, where they lived as their friendships blossomed further, resulting in the girls forming their everlasting bond.

October Sky is easily one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best movies to date and certainly gives viewers the motivational boost they may be seeking. The movie follows the true story of Homer Hickam, who was inspired by the launch of the first artificial satellite to build his own rockets and with the faith of his trusted friends, does exactly that.

Whilst Homer’s father may have doubted him, the movie has a happy ending that finally sees his father celebrate his hard work alongside those who live in the small town with him. It’s not surprising that ProfessorPwnage views it as a “wholesome movie […] choice” as it encourages people to chase after their dreams and illustrates the power of a town spirit when they are working towards a common goal.

The Sandlot is an iconic ’90s film that still gives viewers that childhood nostalgia they have been missing. The movie follows Scotty as he moves to a new town and joins a local baseball team in a bid to make friends, but as the story progresses, his love for baseball also turns into love for his newfound friends.

RELATED: 9 Movies Guaranteed To Give You The Same 80s Nostalgia As Stranger Things

The Sandlot represents many viewers’ childhoods (as recognized by Sciencemusk, who shared how they “watched The Sandlot as a kid almost every weekend”). This fun flick shows the importance of community within a small town through its children, who welcome Scotty in with open arms and create a wholesome friendship group that viewers hope will still dominate the small town for years to come.

Elio and Oliver may be responsible for breaking viewers’ hearts but it’s safe to say that Call Me By Your Name entranced fans from the offset, with many fans like Quirky_AD_7325 sharing how “the views in this movie are [wild].” Set in Rural Italy, this poetic flick tells the story of a growing love that toys with the idea of a small-town summer romance.

The movie makes the most of its idyllic and rural setting, often seeing Elio and Oliver explore the empty fields. Whilst the film ultimately ends in heartbreak, the movie still encourages its viewers to seek love in a small town that mirrors the tunnel vision that comes with romance, especially one fuelled by summer heat.

There are many things viewers can learn about love from The Half Of It, with the movie focusing on Ellie Chu and Paul Munsky as they both fall for the same girl: Aster Flores. Squahamish embodied the small town narrative viewers know and love by often picturing Ellie traveling from place to place on a bike, usually accompanied by a chatty Paul.

The movie’s isolated suburb doesn’t hesitate to explore how small towns can fail to accept newcomers and highlights themes like prejudice. But ultimately, viewers were left with a happy ending that proved how one solid friendship can’t just change a person’s life but a whole town’s attitude, resulting in one Reddit user labeling it a “feel-good and modern” rom-com.

Back To The Future‘s small-town setting has a similar vibe to Stranger Things, with Hill Valley falling victim to some strange goings-on that sees Marty travel back in time to save his parents marriage. Hill Valley left a lasting mark on its viewers by creating a small town with a close-knit community, allowing fans to see the town’s progression as Marty travels back in time.

RELATED: 10 Movies With Neon Rock And Roll Vibes Like Thor: Love And Thunder

Whilst Hill Valley changed visually, its people remained, with many of the teens Marty’s parents went to school with still being present in the ’80s. This created a wholesome full-circle moment that fans, including one Redditor, believe led to it being a “timeless flick.”

The Dressmaker contains some of Kate Winslet’s best on-screen outfits due to her role in the film allowing her to be quite the fashionista, much to the dismay of her gossipy neighbors. The movie takes place in Tilly’s tiny hometown that is haunted by the people who ousted her for an apparent “murder” she committed.

Quirky_Ad_7325 explained “how Kate Winslet was such an intriguing character in this” and won viewers’ hearts with her incredible style, but her attitude towards the small town gossip is what got fans laughing. This light-hearted thriller explores how fast news travels in a small town, including how a person can be shunned from society. However, Tilly taught viewers that the best way to get revenge is by being fluent in sarcastic wit.

Earning 3 Academy Awards at the 2022 ceremony and making history as the “first film with a predominantly deaf cast to win Best Picture” (via Apple), CODA is a heartwarming and funny movie that follows the life of Ruby Rossi as she tries to find a balance between helping out her family’s struggling business and pursuing her dreams.

CODA‘s small-town setting warmed viewers with a community feel based on fishing and friendship, resulting in many fans like one Redditor listing it as “the movie that you’re looking for” when you want a feel-good flick that also has substance to it.

NEXT: 10 Best Thriller Movies Set In A Small Town

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