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Lucy Turns Pages: Why I Love You've Got Mail: An Essay on Comfort Movies, Mental Health & Books

Why I Love You've Got Mail: An Essay on Comfort Movies, Mental Health & Books

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I love the film, You've Got Mail. To me it is a classic romcom, a type of film that I used to devour. You've Got Mail is a film that I have watched several times. For me, it is one of my 'comfort movies', a film that feels like a hug, a blanket and a ray of positivity all in one. 

Kathleen Kelly, one of our protagonists, is a children's bookshop owner. A role that so many of us bookworms would love to have. Yet, she wonders "so much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?" This existential question is so relatable. It poses the question, when we get what we've been working for, is it really as good as we dreamt? Reminding us to be mindful, to be present and enjoy every day as it comes.

Meeting a partner through the internet is something that so many people can relate to in this present age. But when this film was created, it feels like the meeting of Tom Hanks' Joe and Meg Ryan's Kathleen, was written in the stars. Their developing friendship, then enemies to lovers relationship (a trope that I have coincidentally realised is in a lot of my favourite films and books), is something that is so captivating that it keeps you watching, loving each beat of this perfectly crafted story.

Whilst You've Got Mail is not the first film to use alternative points of views to progress the story (I'm thinking When Harry Met Sally, for example), the alternate email scripts and stories of each character really give you a feel for that character and their life, whilst progressing the story through the use of situations that are, on their own, typically viewed as mundane.

Comfort movies are much more valuable than their name suggests. On a day when you are feeling low, anxious or unwell, an old favourite film or TV show can whisk you away and bring you back to reality with a potentially more positive approach. If not, they can provide you with escape, and when you are trapped in a spiral, a film or a book can distract you from your thoughts, which at the end of the day, is necessary and immensely important for getting through bad mental health periods.

What are your favourite comfort movies? Have you seen You've Got Mail?

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  1. I haven't seen this movie in such a long time -- I have to watch it again as I remember how much I enjoyed it. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I have seen it several times, although last time it felt kind of weird. All their "new" technology was so old :) Mine is Dirty dancing. the original one from 80's