Couch-surfing through cinema: The must-watch movie list crafted during recovery

Sep 01, 2023
How rest and recovery led to some unexpected cinematic discoveries for this blogger. Source: Getty Images.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the couch recently, recovering from some surgery, but it has given me a chance to watch loads of movies, here are my thoughts on a small selection I watched. Two I’d recommend and two that I endured to save you the time and trouble.

Long Story Short

I’m surprised that I somehow had missed this Australian film until now. Written and directed by Josh Lawson in 2021 this charming movie features great footage of Sydney beaches with a very talented cast of Rafe Spall, Zahra Newman, Ronny Chieng and Noni Hazelhurst.

If I have to find a box to fit Long Story Short into, I would lean towards romantic comedy but it’s more than that with a bit of fantasy thrown in.

Teddy wakes up the morning after his wedding to find that his life is passing by at the rate of a year every few minutes. If you have ever wished you knew just what your future held then you might be envious of Teddy but will he get the chance to actually live his life?

It’s an enjoyable movie, if somewhat predictable, with some nice work by the cast and great Sydney scenery. I watched it on Netflix.

Happiness for Beginners

Helen signs up for a wilderness hiking course a year after her divorce. It’s supposed to be a chance to rediscover herself after leading a very safe life but she is horrified to learn that her younger brother’s best mate is also on the course.

Ellie Kemper is Helen with Luke Grimes as Jake. The characters are really likeable and even though you know where it’s most likely headed you find you actually want them to be safe and OK. I especially enjoyed the role of Hugh played by Nico Santos, with his beautifully timed one-liners like, “Helen, I can honestly say that of everyone in the group, I dislike you the least”.

Directed by Vicky Wright and written by Vicky Wright and Katherine Center who is the author of the book the film is based on, Happiness for Beginners is a new release, July 2023 on Netflix. The plot is predictable but still uplifting so lace up your hiking boots and go hiking through some beautiful country to help Helen find some answers.


Apart from Jennifer Coolidge, playing a very wealthy guest who apparently made up many of her lines in the film, this movie didn’t have a lot of appeal. I am a fan of Jane Austen but I’m still not sure what this film was trying to be.

Austenland is an English theme-based resort catering to Austen-obsessed women seeking their perfect “Mr Darcy” romance which is also catered to by the resort employing actors to ensure appropriate, “no touching” romance for the guests. Keri Russell is Jayne Hayes a thirty-something Darcy-obsessed woman who spends all of her savings to holiday in Austenland.

Directed by Jerusha Hess and written by Hess and Shannon Hale the movie moves fast but doesn’t really go anywhere. Jane Seymour plays the owner of the resort, Lady Wattlesbrook and there is a lovely twist at the end for Lady Wattlesbrook and her husband when the resort becomes a theme park. I watched Austenland on Binge.

Then Came You

Kathie Lee Gifford obviously faced the problem that so many “actors of a certain age” face and couldn’t find a suitable part so she co-wrote, with Chris Blake, produced and starred in Then Came You. Directed by Adriana Trigiani and also starring Craig Ferguson in 2020 the storyline is that a lonely widow plans her trip around the world with her husband’s ashes but at the very first stop her life changes forever.

It’s so predictable that if I say the first stop is a castle owned by a grouchy Scottish widower you already know what happens, right? I watched it on Prime so you don’t have to but if you choose to it harmless and sweet with some cute moments and that fabulous Scottish scenery.

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