Best Comfort Films on Kanopy | Page 2 | Mechanics' Institute

You are here

Best Comfort Films on Kanopy

Some days are ripe for a mental health break. Mechanics’ Institute’s new Kanopy streaming service is the perfect antidote to take your mind off everything that is happening right outside your front door. Kanopy has hundreds of feature films to comfort and lift your spirits. The best part is that you can binge-watch for free with your MI library card.

We’ve assembled a short list here with one goal in mind: to help you smile, laugh, and be reminded of better days. Please join us in a brief reprieve from these troubling times. To find Kanopy on MI’s website, go to and choose the Books and More tab. From the Books and More dropdown menu, select Articles and Online Resources to locate Kanopy in the alphabetical list. Once you click on Kanopy, you’ll need to create an account with a username and password, and in just a few moments, you’ll have thousands of films at your fingertips.

Here are our top choices for a soothing respite to refresh and cheer you:

Big Night - This is a story about a restaurant where the tables sit empty despite the talents of chef Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and the ambitious efforts of his brother Secondo (Stanley Tucci). A celebrity night at their restaurant promises not only to turn their business around but to change their lives. Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival and the Best First Screenplay at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

My Side of the Mountain - After the family trip is canceled, 14-year old Sam, a devotee of Thoreau, leaves home for the mountains. Based on the classic middle-grade novel of the same name by Jean Craighead George, this film chronicles a boy’s struggle for independence and his battle with the forces of nature.

A Street Cat Named Bob - The last thing a homeless man needs is another mouth to feed. But when James Bowen finds a stray cat in the London streets, he can’t resist nursing the poor creature back to health. Soon, the two are inseparable and sharing adventures in this transformative story of the redemptive power of pets. Based on the international best-selling book of the same name and winner of the Best British Film at the National Film Awards, UK.

Tortilla Soup - Semi-retired Mexican-American chef Martin Naranjo shares a suburban Los Angeles home with his three adult daughters. Although Martin has lost his sense of taste since his wife’s passing, he still cooks elaborate Sunday dinners for family and friends. The sisters humor their father’s old-fashioned ways but each is searching for fulfillment outside the family circle. Directed by Maria Ripoll, this comedy-drama was nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Director in Motion Picture at the ALMA Awards.

Storm Boy - Michael Kingsley (Jeffery Rush), a retired businessman and grandfather, recounts to his granddaughter the story of how, as a boy, he rescued and raised an orphaned pelican he named Mr. Percival. Based on the 1977 book of the same name by Colin Thiele, this is a timeless story of unusual and unconditional friendship. 
Children of a Lesser God - Marlee Matlin won a Best Actress Oscar for her role as a headstrong deaf girl who falls in love with John Leeds (William Hurt), an idealistic special needs teacher. Set against a New England backdrop, Sarah’s and John’s conflicting ideologies on speech and deafness create tension and discord in their developing relationship. Based on Mark Medoff’s 1979 Tony Award-winning stage play, this moving and intense love story will stay with viewers for a long time.

Posted on Jun. 1, 2020 by Celeste Steward