This Valentine’s Day, you won’t find us in a packed restaurant studying an overpriced prix fixe menu. Oh, no. We here at Focus Features have other plans. We’ll be partaking in our favorite pastime -- watching movies -- while embracing the latest well-being craze to invade the U.S., the Danish concept of hygge.
Pronounced hoo-GAH, the essence of the word means cozy (though the Danes insist there is no direct translation). The quest for hygge results in a sense of contentment or well-being, and its merits are being extolled by a bevy of trend watchers, from editors of the The New Yorker to fashion bloggers and even fireplace makers.
While it's difficult imagine a good reason why anyone would resist hygge’s appeal, we find it especially attractive when combined with the everyday joy of watching movies. Can you honestly think of a better way to spend February 14th than being wrapped up in a fuzzy throw while sipping a hot toddy and taking a cinematic trip with The Danish Girl or Lost in Translation? No, neither can we.
To help you down the path towards hygge, which is wonderful in February but by no means a winter-only pursuit, we offer you a few simple tips.
Step One: Pick a movie that will warm your heart
Focus Features' recent release, Loving, featuring Oscar nominee Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton as Mildred and Richard Loving, is perhaps the best portrayal of marital devotion and resilience to injustice we’ve seen in years. But it is not the only offering in our hygge movie-night queue.
To fully embrace the nordic spirit, why not watch The Danish Girl? Set in the art world of 1920s Copenhagen, it's a bittersweet romantic tale of acceptance and unconditional love. If you’d prefer something more lighthearted, step into In Bruges, a dry witted caper starring Colin Farrell (who will soon be seen in Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled) and set in the historic Belgian city. Speaking of Sofia Coppola, her film Lost in Translation is filled with the gentle glow of Tokyo at nighttime. It is as soft as one of those Park Hyatt robes.
From left to right, below: Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl. Watch it now on iTunes; Brandon Gleeson and Colin Farrell in In Bruges. Watch it now on iTunes; Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson in Lost in Translation. Watch it now on iTunes; Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton in Loving. Watch it now on iTunes.
Step Two: Grab something fuzzy for the couch
Once your cinematic choice is complete, turn your attention to your viewing spot. The quickest way to up your hygge quota is to surround yourself with soft textures and comforting tones that soothe both your sense of touch and your eyes. No Scandinavian inspired interior is complete without a bit of sheepskin, but there's no need to go overboard. Select one or two irresistibly snuggleable home accessories, like a faux fur throw or a knit-covered pillow, and you're ready to settle in.
Step Three: Slip on something soft
Cashmere and hygge seem to go hand in hand. What better garb to wear for a movie-a-thon than a luxurious, loose knit? Drape yourself in something sumptuous.
Step Four: Light a woodsy smelling candle
Candles are essential to the hygge vibe. Holly Becker, the blogger behind Decor8 explains: “Candles are always aglow in Danish homes the moment the sun goes down, especially in the winter. Even at cafes, you’ll see people sitting outside in late Fall all the way until March with candles on their tables, lap blankets and a cup of something warm.” If you don’t have a log-burning fireplace of your own to set the scene, a scented candle with the essence of wood can do the trick.
Step Five: Sip a warm beverage in a chic mug
If romance is on your mind, let your servingware reflect your feelings. Offer an expressive mug to your companion, perhaps one that recalls a special date or an inspiring iconic couple. As to what to put inside, you can play it safe with tea (we’re partial Trader Joe’s new turmeric and ginger offering), or heat things up with something stronger. Grab a bottle of bourbon and try a classic Hot Toddy.
How do you create hygge during your home movie screenings? Join the conversation with other film lovers by following Focus Features on Facebook.