The Feel-Good Film

Genre Features and Emotional Rewards

in Projections
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  • 1 Research Coordinator, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (Frankfurt am Main), Germany keyvan.sarkhosh@ae.mpg.de
  • 2 Director, Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (Frankfurt am Main), Germany w.m@ae.mpg.de
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Abstract

In film criticism, “feel-good films” are widely dismissed as intellectually undemanding and sentimental entertainment. This study identifies key characteristics, emotional effects, and aesthetic qualities of feel-good films from the audience's perspective. Although the feel-good film does not appear to be a genre in its own right, it is more than just a rather vague category. Romantic comedy films with a substantial share of drama are shown to be the most prototypical feel-good genre blend. Fairy-tale likeness and perceived lightness were indicated as key characteristics of these films. Yet for all their focus on happiness and relaxation, the emotional trajectories also involve serious conflicts and are experienced as profoundly moving. Moreover, preferences for feel-good films differ greatly, depending on gender and age.

Contributor Notes

Keyvan Sarkhosh is Research Coordinator at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (Frankfurt am Main). The main focus of his recent research is on the history and aesthetics of film and the relationship between high and popular culture. E-mail: keyvan.sarkhosh@ae.mpg.de

Winfried Menninghaus is Director of the Department of Language and Literature at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (Frankfurt am Main). His fields of research are classical rhetoric and poetics; philosophical, evolutionary, and empirical aesthetics; literature from 1750 to the present. E-mail: w.m@ae.mpg.de

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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