Feeling a bit down? Watching one of these feel good movies on Netflix should change that!
By Lora O’Brien
When I’m feeling fed up or worried, a film is always my go-to mood lifter. And I don’t think there’s a more fitting time for us to all be in need of some feel-good movies to elevate our mood, am I right?
When it seems like everything around us is scary and the world as we know it has shifted, sometimes you need to just mute the outside world for an hour or two with a movie that will leave you with a smile on your face.
And while Netflix has some pretty dark, if not downright disturbing, content, there are loads of great ‘happy’ flicks, too! Not only on Netflix, of course, but on Hulu and Amazon, too.
Whether you’re looking for a dreamy rom-com or a laugh-your-pants-off comedy, there are plenty of films to choose from that will allow you to forget your worries – for a few hours, at least.
Not sure what to pick? Check out 15 of the best feel good movies on Netflix and beyond, below! Even if you’ve seen a few of these, it may well be worth viewing them again, just for laughs.
15 Movies That Will Make You Smile
1. When Harry Met Sally
Let’s kick things off with a classic! We’ve likely all seen this romcom, and remember that famous “I’
A chance encounter sees the two main characters strike up a short-term friendship. Fate interviews and brings them back together five years later, when they’re forced to deal with how they really feel about each other – while fearing that sex may ruin their friendship.
Watch it because: Meg Ryan is adorable, and because I’m pretty sure most of us have kind of tread the line between romance and friendship before…
I grew up thinking Alicia Silverstone – aka Cher Horowitz – was the coolest girl, like, ever! This coming-of-age comedy film is full of 90’s nostalgia for me. And although it’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 25 years since the iconic Cher burst into our lives and made a whole generation fall in love with her wit, charm and killer fashion sense (yellow plaid mini skirt, anyone?) it’s still a classic that can be enjoyed by a whole new generation.
Loosely based on Jane Austen’s book Emma, the plot centers on Cher, a rich and beautiful high school student who befriends a new student named Tai Frasier (played by the late Brittany Murphy, sob) and decides to give her a physical and social makeover. Along the way, she learns something about herself…
Watch it because: Sometimes we all need a little childhood nostalgia!
There’s something about Dolly Parton tunes that just make you feel lifted, right? If you’re struggling to tumble out of bed and stumble into the kitchen to pour yourself a cup of ambition, then sit back and watch Dumplin’.
The story is based around a plus-sized daughter who lives in the shadows of her mom (Jennifer Aniston) a former small-town beauty queen who can’t seem to let go of her glory days. Dumplin’ decides to enter the local beauty pageant….though her mom happens to be behind its organisation. Life lessons ensue! Add in a Dolly Parton soundtrack and the fundamental message about loving exactly who you are, this is a feel-good film that may just have you shedding a happy tear or two.
Watch it because: It’s hard to be blue when you’re hearing a few Dolly Parton tunes, and this film is FULL of Dolly’s hits, from Jolene to Here You Come Again.
Annie’s bestie, Lillian, is getting married, and she’s asked to be the maid of honour. The thing is, Annie’s life is a mess. But given how much she loves Lillian, Annie is willing to do anything it takes to give her the Best. Wedding. Every! Thing is, she may have some competition….
This is a film with a stellar cast, and some gross-out comedy that you’ll either think is a bit over the top, or that will make you laugh your arse off at. I guess you could say this is one of the best feel good movies on Netflix for ladettes!
Watch it because: It has some of the BEST lines in comedy, that only women will really get. My favourite: ‘Oh…did you just come from work?” It may not cause smiles reading it, but it will be hilarious when you see it in context!
If you’ve read the popular YA book of the same name, then you’ll pretty much know the plot for this film already. If not, this giddy romance is about Lara Jean, a shy teen who sees her love life spin out of control when the love letters she’s secretly written for every boy she’s ever loved mysteriously get sent out into the boy’s hands. It’s a heartwarming teen romcom that teens and adults alike can enjoy.
Watch it because: It’s swooningly perfect, and who hasn’t had a crush on John Corbett?
Is there anything more important than love and trust? Those are the two themes of this charming film. After his mom disappears, Courgette is befriended by a police officer called Raymond, who takes him to his new foster home, where he meets other orphans. At first, he’s uncomfortable and struggles to find his place in this new – and sometimes nasty – environment. But Raymond helps him fit in, and eventually he makes new friends, and by the end of this, you’ll be smiling wide!
Watch it because: The animation is wonderful, the transformation of the characters is wholly believable, and the story has some real heart. No wonder this was an Oscar nominated movie!
If you can’t resist a good, old-fashioned coming-of-age film, then The Edge of Seventeen is a must-see! High school can be tough for most, but life gets even more unbearable for Nadine when her best friend starts dating her older brother. Yipes! It may not have won the Oscar it absolutely deserved, but it’s still full of awkward, funny and heartwarming moments that we can all relate to.
Watch it because: We’ve all ‘been’ Nadine at some point in our lives, plus Woody Harrelson is the teacher we all wish we’d had at school!
8. Dolphin Tale
What would you do if you found a dolphin washed up on the beach? This is inspired by the true story of Winter the dolphin, and Sawyer, the little boy who finds her stranded on a beach after being tangled up in a crab trap. The thing is, after being rescued and transported to Clearwater Marine Hospital the damage from the crab trap rope causes her tail to degrade and, without her tail, Winter’s prognosis doesn’t look good! However, Sawyer, with the help of a doctor, embarks on an ambitious project to give the dolphin a new life.
Watch it because: This is one of the best feel good movies on Netflix for animal lovers. It’s hard not to watch and fall in love with Winter and her story. The whole family will be rooting for Winter from start to finish. You may shed a tear or two of joy, be warned!
A young woman who was the secretary to a primatologist gets the opportunity to live her lifelong dream when she’s sent to Africa to observe chimps. This is totally uncharted territory at the time, and the young secretary – now known as Dame Jane Goodall – eventually becomes a world expert in chimpanzee behaviour.
You’ll meet Jane, then and now, and follow her remarkable life with these remarkable animals.
Watch it because: The story of Jane Goodall is one we should know, and this documentary is a stunning homage to not only her work with chimpanzees, but the amazing woman herself.
Based on the memoir of Saroo Brierley, Lion follows the life of a young Indian boy who is separated from his mother and younger sister in Khandwa, India,
After getting lost hundreds of kilometres from home when he’s only five years old, Saroo Brierley’s life changes forever. The film picks up twenty years later, showing us Saroo’s life in Australia with his adoptive parents. Feeling more and more like he needs to get back in touch with his roots, he decides to see if he can track down the family he left behind.
Watch it because: This is one of those films that somehow restores your faith in humanity, and the truly incredible ending is worth the journey.
Whilst Charlotte’s Web is another great film about friendship and ‘remarkable pigs’, it may leave you with tears at the end. Not so Babe!
The narrator of the film introduces the story perfectly: “This is a tale about an unprejudiced heart, and how it changed our valley forever.” Babe barely escapes a horrible fate as Christmas dinner when Farmer Hoggett decides to show him at the next fair. The piggy makes friends with a nurturing border collie called Fly and discovers that he has a talent for herding sheep But will the other farm animals accept a pig who doesn’t fit in?
Watch it because: It’s got loads of (CGI) animals in it, and it’s a universally appealing movie, that people of all ages will love. Note: While this is available on Netflix UK, you can watch in on Amazon Prime in the USA
12. Wayne’s World
Small town teen Wayne and his BFF Garth present a cable show from Wayne’s mom’s basement. Ben Oliver is impressed, and wants to invest in the show and ‘polish it up’ – but Wayne and Garth aren’t happy that it’s no longer what it used to be. Wayne falls for a bass guitarist and what ensues is pretty funny and sweet story of friendship and the value of sticking to your ethics. Note: This is on Netflix UK, but in the USA you can watch it on Amazon here.
Watch it because: It’s worth watching again and again for the celeb cameos, famous catchphrases, Mike Meyer’s gags, and the Bohemian Rhapsody scene!
13. Mama Mia!
Oh, how I wish I were in Greece right now! But when I see this movie, I feel like I am. Starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried, it’s based on a rather silly plot: Streep is a small hotelier in the Greek islands, and is preparing for her daughter’s wedding with the help of two old friends. Her daughter, Sophie, doesn’t know who her real dad is, so invites three men from her mother’s past in hope of finding him so he can walk her down the aisle on her big day. But the real fun here is that the whole thing is set to Abba tunes!
Watch it because: This is one of the best feel good movies on Netflix for tunes! You’ll be singing Abba songs for weeks after. What’s more uplifting than that?
As a Brit, I can’t resist a bit of Monty Python’s absurd humour! And given that we are living in absurd times, this film is one you need to see time and time again.
This is the comedy troupe’s much loved 1975 sendup of the legend of King Arthur, featuring such classic incredibly brave Black Knight, the hilariously profane French guards, the Knights Who Say Ni! and of course, the ‘bring out yer dead’ Black Plague bit, which feels a bit…disconcerting right now….
Watch it because: It’s still freaking hilarious, even 40 years after it was made!
His name may be awesome, but Napoleon Dynamite is the King of the Nerds. He lives with his grandmother, his older (and equally nerdy) brother Kip, and their pet llama, Tina. Napoleon spends most of his time making up fantastic stories about himself, drawing ‘ligers’ and fighting with Kip. Eventually, he befriends the new kid in town, Pedro, who speaks little English. Together, the two launch a campaign for Pedro to become class president. This is one of the best feel good movies on Netflix for witnessing the misfits come out on top!
Watch it because: The dance sequence at the end is a feel-good movie classic!
Which movies here are your favourites? Do you know of any feel good movies on Netflix not mentioned in the list? Let us know in the comments section below!