When your faith in humanity is yet to be restored, it means it’s time to throw your feet up and hit the best feel-good movies on Netflix.
To save you time in culling the white noise, we’ve put together a fool-proof guide to the movies guaranteed to treat your soul and sanity. Watching one of these movies will do the trick but if it tickles your fancy, binging through all of them will do you a world of good too.
Here are the best feel-good movies to watch on Netflix.
After a young man and his beloved dog are separated on the Appalachian Trail, he and his father begin a desperate search to find him before it’s too late. The stickler for this one is that it's based on an incredible true story and stars Rob Lowe, who basically wrote the manuscript for feel-good movies. It's cliche and the script has more cheese than Switzerland so it's perfect for your weekend streaming. Watch it from January 13.
Look Both Ways
On the eve of her college graduation, Natalie’s (Lili Reinhart) life diverges into parallel realities: one in which she becomes pregnant and remains in her hometown, and another in which she does not and moves to Los Angeles. In both alternate realities, Natalie experiences life-changing love, pursues her dream career as an artist and rediscovers herself. Watch it from August 17.
Love & Gelato
Oh yes, let the escapism begin. While this film isn't for everyone (bar those that absolutely loved Emily In Paris or The Bold Type), it is the kind of flick you can switch on for a well-deserved break from the news or you know, heavy true crime documentaries. Lina, a 17-year-old American, finds herself having to travel to Rome to honor her mother's memory. Catapulted into an unknown country, too messy and full of chaos for her serious, methodical and even a little nerdy nature, she has to reckon with her obsessions, anxieties and fears. For us, we're loving this one for the Italian fashion montages and beautiful Roma scenery. Watch it here.
Rescued By Ruby
We mean, nothing will bring your spirits up more than a dog movie, right? State trooper Dan (Grant Gustin) dreams of joining the K-9 Search And Rescue team, but no one will give him the chance. Shelter dog Ruby has been unlucky finding her forever home. When fate brings Dan and Ruby together, it's their unshakable bond that helps them face their toughest challenge yet. The best bit? it's based on a true story. Watch Rescued By Ruby here.
It may seem a strange time to be enthralled by a Netflix movie in the midst of a global pandemic, racial injustice riots, anti-terror protests, a sport standstill, a climate crisis and political campaigns that outwardly discriminate against LGBQTI+ rights, but Will Ferrell’s latest comedy is the sort of brilliance that kicks back at the world’s divide right now. It’s not hard to realise why Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga is a glorious success. Written by Will Ferrell, the comedy follows aspiring Icelandic musicians Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) who are given the opportunity of a lifetime to represent their country at Eurovision and from here — the Eurovision cameos and references literally spiral out of control.
Directed by Amy Poehler, Moxie is the kind of movie bound to lift your spirits. Vivian (Hadley Robinson), a seemingly shy 16-year-old, has always preferred to keep her head down and fly under the radar. But when the arrival of a new student (Alycia Pascual-Peña) forces her to examine the unchecked behaviour of her fellow students running rampant at her high school, Vivian realizes she’s fed up. Inspired by her mother’s (Amy Poehler) rebellious past, Vivian anonymously publishes an underground zine called Moxie to expose bias and wrongdoing in her high school and unexpectedly sparks a movement. Watch it here.
The Fundamentals Of Caring
Based on the novel by Jonathan Evison and written, directed and produced by Rob Burnett, The Fundamentals of Caring stars Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Ehle, Megan Ferguson and Frederick Weller. The film follows the story of Ben, a retired writer who becomes a caregiver after suffering a personal tragedy. After six weeks of training, Ben meets his first client, Trevor, a foul-mouthed 18-year-old with muscular dystrophy. One paralyzed emotionally, one paralyzed physically, Ben and Trevor take an impromptu road trip to all the places Trevor has become obsessed with while watching the local news, including their holy grail: the World's Deepest Pit. Watch it here.
Dating Amber is the kind of feel-good Netflix movie you'll be pleasantly surprised with. Set in Ireland during the mid-90s, Eddie and Amber decide to stage a relationship together to stop the speculation about their sexuality. It's a celebration of platonic friendship and a coming-of-age comedy that will surely restore your faith in humanity. Watch it here.
Mindy Kaling is pure genius which is why anything she puts her hands on, we'll watch. Pair her with the royalty that is Emma Thompson and we mean, what do you have to lose? In Late Night, an acclaimed late-night show host is forced to hire a show writer because of her decline in popularity. Watch it here.
Well, sue us for including another Will Ferrell gem. If it’s some hard laughs you’re after, the feel-good comedy that is The House is an absolute must-watch. Starring Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell as two parents desperate for cash when their daughter is accepted into a college they can’t afford, The House follows their mission of turning their suburbia house into an underground casino to make bank.
If you grew up watching National Lampoon’s Vacation, you’ll want to hit play on its next-generation spin-off. The Vacation follows the infamous Clark Griswold’s son, Rusty, as he tries to reconnect with his family in true Griswold style. Rusty (Ed Helms) basically goes all or nothing and forces his family into a week-long road trip to the nostalgic Walley World and, as you might have guessed, everything that can go wrong absolutely does. The Vacation also stars the hilarious Christina Applegate and Aussie talent Chris Hemsworth.
Feel good movies come in all forms and for us, nothing makes us smile more than a classic high school comedy. Case in point—The Duff. This witty flick is based off the book of the same name and will have you laughing from the opening scene. It follows the life of Bianca Piper (played by the hilarious Mae Whitman) who upon finding out she’s the DUFF (designated, ugly, fat friend) of her girl gang, strikes up a deal with high school heartthrob Wesley Rush (Robbie Amell) to give her a makeover. But as you can probably guess, she’s gets a whole lot more than that.
The Wedding Singer
Say what you want about about Adam Sandler’s recent movies (Uncut Gems aside), but you cannot deny that The Wedding Singer will never get old and always leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy. For those of you haven’t seen it, it follows wedding singer Robbie (Adam Sandler), who after being ditched by his fiancée, befriends waitress Julia (Drew Barrymore) and helps her plan her wedding…only to fall in love with her. We could, and have, watched this on repeat.
The Blind Side
The Blind Side tells the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless teen who has been the victim of abuse his whole life—stay with us the feel-good part is coming. But everything changes when he’s adopted by local do-gooder Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her family, who introduce Michael to football and proceed to change the course of his life for the better. This one is the ultimate heart-warmer.
We’re sticking with the sports theme here because the formula for a triumphant flick that just makes you feel good is all here. When Coach Ken Carter (played by Samuel L Jackson) is hired as a basketball coach for a school in a notoriously tough part of town he causes a serious stir with teachers, parents and players, with his "controversial" coaching method—aka he wants them to do well on the court and in school. As the troubled teens begin to turn things around, they realise they're worth so much more than what society has led them to believe. Yes, there will be some tears with this one, but in the end you’ll feel so much better for watching.
Whether you’re a fan of ABBA or not, you’d be hard-pressed to get through this flick without cracking a serious smile. Set on the Greek island of Kalokairi, a single mum (played by queen Meryl Streep) has her idyllic life flipped upside down when her bride-to-be daughter (Amanda Seyfried) invites three of her mum’s ex-lovers to the wedding. Singalongs are highly encouraged.
Inspired by true events, Wonder is the story about a young boy with Treacher Collins syndrome who learns to navigate the world of high school after being home-schooled for most of his life. Starring the king and queen of all feel-good movies, Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts, you can expect this one to really pull on the heart-strings but leave you with your faith in humanity restored.
If you haven’t already delved into Gifted, you’re in for a glorious suprise. You know him as Captain American but in this feel-good flick, Chris Evans takes the role as the single Dad struggling to bring up his math prodigy daughter. After he gets into a custody battle with his Mother In Law, things start to go down hill.
If you need a break from the seemingly dark world of Netflix right now, Someone Great is your fix for laughs, the reality of relationships and the beauty of amazing best friends. Extremely relatable, this hilarious film stars Gina Rodrigues as Jenny, an aspiring music journalist who has just landed her dream job across the country. Things fall through with her boyfriend of nine years which naturally means her two best friends rally together to give her a mammoth send off and hit one last adventure around the city for old times sake.
Not only is Dumplin’ one of the best Netflix Originals, it’s also one of the best feel-good movies you could treat your soul to. Dumplin’ (you know her as Aussie star Danielle Macdonald) is the plus-size, teenage daughter of a former beauty queen, played by Jennifer Aniston), who signs up for her mum’s pageant in protest. When this escalates and more contestants follow suit, the pageant and town it's based in, are slowly revolutionised.
For the nostalgic feel-good flick, your go-to has to be Dirty Dancing. Hit play on this gem for all the on-screen magic between Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey that’s guaranteed to give you all the feels. Telling the story of a young girl who heads to holiday camp with her family, “Baby” falls hard for the camp’s dance instructor Johnny Castle.
Need more binge content? Then binge your way through the best shows on Netflix.
Image credit: Netflix