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
  • 2 Director, Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (Frankfurt am Main), Germany
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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.


The Journal for Movies and Mind


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