(Photo: Barry Wetcher)
(Photo: Barry Wetcher)

Sappy movies are the Christmas gifts that keep on giving.

Emotional cinema classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street have melted cold hearts over the years around the holidays, but it turns out they’re also good for your mental well-being.

“Those kinds of movies that celebrate hope, celebrate the possibility of a better life, that kind of thing, they’re needed all the time. But Christmas is a season dedicated to that feeling and need,” says Skip Dine Young, professor of psychology at Indiana’s Hanover College and author of Psychology at the Movies.

Two new movies are additions to that seasonal canon: In Collateral Beauty (now showing), an advertising executive played by Will Smith engages human representations of Love, Time and Death to come to grips with the loss of his young daughter. And A Monster Calls (in theaters Friday in New York and Los Angeles, expands nationwide Jan. 6), though not exactly holiday-themed, calls for tissues as it centers on a British boy (Lewis MacDougall) who conjures a tree monster while taking care of his dying mother (Felicity Jones).

For the complete story, visit USAToday.com/Life/Movies.

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