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The best feel-good movies on Netflix right now

Sophie singing in her balcony in Mamma Mia!
Universal Pictures

There are thrillers and rom-coms galore on Netflix, but feel-good movies are a little harder to pin down to a single genre. That’s because almost anything, from a drama or a comedy to a documentary, can be a feel-good movie. It has more to do with the response that the film gets from viewers than it does with the subject matter. And it often means more than just promising a happy ending because, in life, we have too few of those.

Our latest roundup of the best feel-good movies on Netflix includes the independently produced animation/live-action flick Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, the rom-coms Love At First Sight and Mamma Mia!, as well as a documentary that lives up to its title: The Greatest Night In Pop. And we have even more options for you below.

If this isn’t what you’re looking for, check out our other feel-good lists, including the best comedies on Netflix, the best stand-up comedy on Netflix, and the best romantic comedies on Netflix.

Recently added to Netflix

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2022) new

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
80 %
7.7/10
pg 90m
Genre Animation, Comedy, Drama, Family
Stars Jenny Slate, Dean Fleischer Camp, Isabella Rossellini
Directed by Dean Fleischer Camp

There’s something inspiring about the way that Dean Fleischer Camp and Jenny Slate turned their viral videos about Marcel the Shell with Shoes On into one of the rare independently produced animated films. Although this movie does have some live-action characters, including Fleischer Camp’s Dean, a filmmaker who moves into an Airbnb only to discover a childlike talking shell named Marcel (Slate) and his grandmother, Nana Connie (Isabella Rossellini).

Marcel and Dean quickly bond and the latter’s videos of Marcel make him famous in a very short period of time. That’s not something that Marcel is entirely on board with, but he does really want to reunite with his shell family after years of missing them. Now, Marcel will get a chance to have that reunion.

Love at First Sight (2023) new

Love at First Sight
55 %
6.8/10
pg-13 91m
Genre Romance, Drama
Stars Haley Lu Richardson, Ben Hardy, Rob Delaney
Directed by Vanessa Caswill

Do you believe in love at first sight? It’s hard enough to find any person who will return your love, much less make an instant connection. But it does make for some fun romantic comedies. Netflix’s Love At First Sight centers on Hadley Sullivan (The White Lotus‘ Haley Lu Richardson) and Oliver Jones (Ben Hardy), a pair of strangers who meet at an airport and spend time together before getting on a long flight to London.

Fate steps in to give the two a push towards love by moving Oliver into the vacant seat next to Hadley during the flight. From there, it’s pure love right until the duo lose track of each other in customs. Hadley realizes that they may have had something special, and the only question is simple: How far will she go to find Oliver again?

Mamma Mia! (2008) new

Mamma Mia!
51 %
6.5/10
pg-13 108m
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd

If you just want to sing along with the songs of ABBA, don’t let us stop you. That’s kind of the point of Mamma Mia!, a musical that was inspired by ABBA’s music and incorporates several of the band’s most famous songs. The story revolves around Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried), a young woman who is getting married to Sky Rymand (Dominic Cooper).

More than anything, Sophie wants her father to walk her down the aisle. The problem is that not even Sophie’s mother, Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep), knows for sure who that is. It could be Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan), Harry Bright (Colin Firth), or Bill Anderson (Stellan Skarsgård). Sophie has invited all three men to her wedding, and almost as soon as they meet her, each of the three is convinced that Sophie is their daughter. It might take a lot of singing and dancing to sort this out.

The Greatest Night in Pop (2024) new

The Greatest Night in Pop
69 %
7.9/10
pg-13 97m
Genre Documentary, Music
Stars Lionel Richie, Bruce Springsteen, Dionne Warwick
Directed by Bao Nguyen

There’s something almost quaint about the idea of the biggest music stars in the world coming together to record a charity song to combat a famine in Africa. But it really happened in 1985 with the recording of We Are the World. Some of those superstars, including Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, and Harry Belafonte, are no longer with us.

The Greatest Night in Pop features an intimate look at the chaotic recording session that brought all these acts into the same room. Some participants, including Bruce Springsteen and Lionel Richie, participate in new interviews as they share their memories of the night they spent together almost 40 years ago.

Family Switch (2023)

Family Switch
pg 106m
Genre Comedy, Fantasy, Family
Stars Jennifer Garner, Ed Helms, Emma Myers
Directed by McG
There are plenty of familiar notes in Family Switch, a body-swapping family comedy. Frankly, it fits the genre like a warm hug, not pushing the limits of what these types of movies can be. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s sweetness will make you feel good, propped up by the presence of stars Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

The Super Mario Bros. Movie
pg 93m
Genre Animation, Family, Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy
Stars Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day
Directed by Michael Jelenic, Aaron Horvath
One of the biggest animated movies of the year brought Mario, Luigi, Peach and Bowser back to the big screens in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Chris Pratt voices Mario in the film, though Jack Black is the one who steals the show as the big baddie by crooning “Peaches” and getting the earworm stuck in kids’ ears all year long. It’s a faithful dive into the world of Nintendo, without ever getting too heavy.

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (2023)

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget
pg 97m
Genre Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family
Stars Thandiwe Newton, Zachary Levi, Bella Ramsey
Directed by Sam Fell
For the first time in more than two decades, animated film fans can return to the world of Chicken Run with the long-awaited sequel to the 2000 classic. Dawn of the Nugget features much of the same British humor seen in the original, but with more advanced animation this time around. It’s a worthwhile watch, particular for young adults who can remember when the first installment of the franchise escaped into theaters.

The Speed Cubers (2020)

The Speed Cubers
7.4/10
g 40m
Genre Documentary
Stars Max Park, Feliks Zemdegs
Directed by Sue Kim
Most people have fiddled around with a Rubik’s Cube, but a select few have taken the toy beyond a hobby and into a legitimate skill. The Speed Cubers takes a delightful look at the rivalry and friendship of two of these young speedcubing champions. Coming in at a breezy 40 minutes, the documentary will have you grabbing your Rubik’s Cube out of the toy chest and trying to twist it into the desired pattern.

Your Place or Mine (2023)

Your Place or Mine
pg-13 109m
Genre Romance, Comedy
Stars Reese Witherspoon, Ashton Kutcher, Jesse Williams
Directed by Aline Brosh McKenna
This movie is much in the traditional vein of romantic comedies, but that doesn’t make it any less endearing. Debbie and Peter get a chance to kindle something anew when staying at each other’s places over the course of a week. Each gains new respect for the other while realizing what they were lacking: love. Tig Notaro and Jesse Williams are part of a stellar cast.

The Redeem Team (2022)

The Redeem Team
76 %
7.4/10
98m
Genre Documentary
Stars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony
Directed by Jon Weinbach
Nobody would be bold enough as to call the USA men’s basketball team an underdog at any point in the last 30 years. But entering the 2008 Summer Olympics, the squad certainly had something to prove coming off a shocking bronze medal finish in 2004. The biggest names in basketball — LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony — put ego aside to come together and bring the gold back to the United States. The team came to be known as the Redeem Team, earning redemption (spoiler alert?) with a gold medal performance in Beijing. The documentary also offers an interesting view of the late Kobe Bryant, featuring his lethal mentality on the court and a more human side off of it.

Hustle (2022)

Hustle
68 %
7.3/10
r 118m
Genre Drama, Comedy
Stars Adam Sandler, Juancho Hernangómez, Queen Latifah
Directed by Jeremiah Zagar
During the rare times that Adam Sandler gets serious, his performances get much better. Following his turn in Uncut Gems, Sandler stars in Hustle. While this Netflix original film feels at times like a chance for Sandler to simply hang out with people involved in the sport he loves, it tells a heartfelt story about an NBA scout at a crossroads in life when he stumbles upon the best-kept secret in basketball. The film stars real NBA player Juancho Hernangómez, who could have a career in Hollywood when his playing days are over. Fellow player Anthony Edwards also has a significant role. This feel-good story has a lot of dark turns and isn’t for young viewers, but seeing Sandler and Hernangómez’s characters try to rise above their faults is a satisfying experience.

The Harder They Fall (2021)

The Harder They Fall
68 %
6.6/10
r 139m
Genre Western
Stars Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King
Directed by Jeymes Samuel
When Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) learns that his adversary, the wretched Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) is being released from prison, it’s war as usual for both parties. Rounding up a formidable posse to take down old Buck, Nat is looking to settle the score once and for all. But true to the spirit of the Old West, Buck has his own band of outlaws lassoed up to go toe-to-toe with Nat’s crew. A mesmerizing take on the Western genre, packed with powerhouse performances and glorious set pieces, The Harder They Fall is sure to raise your spirits. After all, nothing says “happy day” like triumphing over an old foe.

Wine Country (2019)

Wine Country
56 %
5.4/10
r 103m
Genre Comedy
Stars Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch
Directed by Amy Poehler
An ensemble laugh-fest featuring many great female comedy talents, Wine Country follows the likes of Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph into Napa Valley, California for a weekend of drinking and celebration, as one of the ladies is tying the knot. But as the long weekend ensues, the working-life tribulations of the six longtime friends start bubbling to the surface, upending their girl’s getaway entirely. The feature directing debut of Amy Poehler, the onscreen chemistry between the six main players is certainly undeniable. And what’s not to like about the glorious sights and sounds of beautiful California vineyards?

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
68 %
7.6/10
pg 113m
Genre Drama, History, Family
Stars Maxwell Simba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aïssa Maïga
Directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor
The vast majority of feel-good films tend to involve romance and courtship. However, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind draws its inspirational and heart-warming moments from the true story of William Kamkwamba (Maxwell Simba). Chiwetel Ejiofor directed the film, wrote the script from William’s novel, and co-stars in the film as William’s father, Trywell Kamkwamba. As a young child in an impoverished village in Malawi, William struggles to educate himself after he is forced to withdraw from school. While nurturing his love for electronics and his ingenuity, William builds a working wind turbine that transforms the lives of his family, as well as his own.

The Half of It (2020)

The Half of It
74 %
6.9/10
pg-13 104m
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Alexxis Lemire
Directed by Alice Wu
In The Half of It, Leah Lewis stars as a lonely yet academically successful high school student named Ellie Chu. Much to Ellie’s surprise, her classmate, Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer), earnestly approaches her to get help wooing Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire). What Paul doesn’t know is that Ellie is also infatuated with Aster, and the feelings and words that she tells Paul to express are a reflection of her own. Additionally, Ellie is conflicted about what to do after graduation because she is reluctant to leave her father, Edwin (Collin Chou), behind to live out his life alone. Over time, Ellie comes to realize whom she can really rely on, even if she doesn’t get everything that she wants.

Dumplin' (2018)

Dumplin'
53 %
6.5/10
pg-13 110m
Genre Comedy, Drama
Stars Danielle Macdonald, Jennifer Aniston, Odeya Rush
Directed by Anne Fletcher
In Dumplin’, Danielle Macdonald plays the title character, Willowdean Dickson – her mother, Rosie Dickson (Jennifer Aniston), calls her daughter Dumplin’ both as a sign of affection and because of her plus-size body. For years, Rosie has neglected her daughter’s needs in favor of running beauty pageants, while Rosie’s sister, Lucy (Hilliary Begley), essentially raised Rosie herself. In the wake of Lucy’s unexpected death, Willowdean enrolls in one of her mother’s pageants as a form of protest. Willowdean’s best friend, Ellen “Elle” Dryver (Odeya Rush), also joins the pageant to support her. However, their friendship is tested when Elle becomes more enthusiastic about the pageant. This also forces Willowdean to reexamine her own reasons for entering the pageant.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
50 %
6.5/10
pg-13 123m
Genre Comedy, Music
Stars Rachel McAdams, Will Ferrell, Pierce Brosnan
Directed by David Dobkin
American fans may find this hard to believe, but the Eurovision Song Contest is very real … and it’s also a pretty big deal across the Atlantic. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a very silly movie, but it is also a loving tribute to the annual competition. Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams co-headline the film as Icelandic singers Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdóttir. The duo’s band, Fire Saga, has only a limited amount of success together. Yet through a freak occurrence, Fire Saga is chosen to represent Iceland in Eurovision. Unbeknownst to Lars, Sigrit is deeply in love with him. But the pressure of the contest may doom their personal and professional relationships.

Concrete Cowboy (2020)

Concrete Cowboy
67 %
6.3/10
r 111m
Genre Drama, Western
Stars Idris Elba, Caleb McLaughlin, Jharrel Jerome
Directed by Ricky Staub
If you want the feel-good vibes from Concrete Cowboy, you’re gonna have to be patient. It’s a family drama first and foremost. Caleb McLaughlin stars as Cole, a troubled 15-year-old boy who is sent to live with his estranged father, Harp (Idris Elba). As it turns out, Harp is really into the local horse riding subculture, and he clearly loves his horses more than most of the people in his life. Although Cole has an affinity for one of the more difficult horses, he’s more drawn to his cousin, Smush (Jharrel Jerome). Smush was once a rider himself, but he turned to dealing drugs in order to fund his escape from the city. Ultimately, Cole will have to choose between following his father’s example or his cousin’s darker path.

The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

The Fundamentals of Caring
55 %
7.3/10
97m
Genre Comedy, Drama
Stars Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez
Directed by Rob Burnett
When Ben (Paul Rudd) becomes a registered caregiver, nothing prepares him for the once-in-a-lifetime road trip he takes with 18-year-old Trevor (Craig Roberts), a boy with muscular dystrophy. Convincing Trevor’s mother, Elsa (Jennifer Ehle), to allow him and Trevor to leave Seattle on a quest to visit roadside oddities, including the world’s deepest pit, Ben and Trevor form an undeniable bond that weathers a number of emotional events on their journey. In this adaptation of Jonathan Evison’s 2012 novel The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, Paul Rudd delivers a stirring and grounded performance as Ben, helping this rather by-the-books road comedy become something much greater than just another buddy comedy.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
81 %
7.8/10
pg-13 101m
Genre Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Stars Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata
Directed by Taika Waititi
Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), a foster child, is taken in by Bella Faulkner and her husband Hec. Living on a remote farm with the couple, city-raised Ricky isn’t warming up to their goodwill, and his standoffishness is further challenged when Bella passes away unexpectedly. Emotionally distraught, Ricky takes off into the nearby woods with his dog, Tupac. Hec tracks the pair down but suffers a broken ankle in the process. Together, the trio must contend with the New Zealand wilderness as a search party tries to find the farmer and his foster son. Taiki Waititi brings a breath of fantastical fresh air to the typical childhood adoption sub-genre, giving us one of the most delightful feel-good flicks of this roundup.

Set It Up (2018)

Set It Up
62 %
6.5/10
105m
Genre Romance, Comedy
Stars Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu
Directed by Claire Scanlon
Charlie (Glenn Powell) and Harper (Zoey Deutch) are the dedicated assistants to two highly-demanding bosses, Kirsten (Lucy Liu) and Rick (Taye Diggs). Tiring of their lives as overworked go-getters, Charlie and Harper take it upon themselves to set their bosses up with the hope that once the two begin dating, their assistants will have more time to enjoy their lives. What ensues is a series of missteps and hijinks that hits all the major beats of the tried-and-true rom-com formula, but in a way that still feels fresh and authentic.

Work It (2020)

Work It
58 %
6.1/10
93m
Genre Comedy, Music
Stars Sabrina Carpenter, Liza Koshy, Keiynan Lonsdale
Directed by Laura Terruso
Dance competition films tend to have a formula and Work It is no exception. The key difference between Work It and other movies in its genre is that it executes the formula extremely well. Sabrina Carpenter stars as Quinn Ackerman, a high school senior who is desperate to build up her resume with some extra-curricular activities so she can get into the college of her dreams. When Julliard Pembroke (Keiynan Lonsdale) denies Quinn a place on the dance team, she joins forces with Jake Taylor (Jordan Fisher) and forms her own team. However, the demands of Quinn’s ambitions and her mother’s plans threaten to end Quinn’s burgeoning romance with Jake as well as her team’s chances to go all the way.

The Princess Switch (2018)

The Princess Switch
6/10
pg 101m
Genre Romance
Stars Vanessa Hudgens, Nick Sagar, Alexa Adeosun
Directed by Mike Rohl
Vanessa Hudgens has a very charming dual turn in The Princess Switch as both an ordinary young woman named Stacy DeNovo and the Duchess of Montenegro, Margaret Delacourt. Because Stacy and Margaret feel trapped in their respective lives, they agree to pull a Prince and the Pauper-style caper and temporarily trade places. However, complications ensue when both women start having romantic feelings for the men in each other’s lives. But don’t worry folks, there are no broken hearts in this movie.

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Always Be My Maybe
64 %
6.8/10
pg-13 101m
Genre Romance, Comedy
Stars Ali Wong, Randall Park, Keanu Reeves
Directed by Nahnatchka Khan
Ali Wong and Randall Park co-star in this clever 2019 romantic comedy about a pair of childhood friends who rekindle their romantic relationship after their paths cross as adults. The pair co-wrote with Michael Golamco, and the story has the two lead characters deal with the stresses that fame, fear, and old memories can have on a new relationship. While the pair’s experiences are funny enough on their own, the film also includes a cameo role for Keanu Reeves that ranks right up there among the actor’s most memorable performances of all time.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
64 %
7/10
pg-13 100m
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish
Directed by Susan Johnson
A teenage girl, content to spend her days with her nose in a romance novel, discovers that several secret letters she’d written to her crushes over the years were mysteriously mailed to them. This causes a domino effect of hilarious hijinks and heartwarming moments and leads this teen in a direction she never expected. This 2018 romantic comedy is based on Jenny Han’s novel of the same name; it featured Lana Condor (X-Men: Apocalypse) and became an overnight hit on Netflix. Two sequels have since debuted on Netflix.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Blair Marnell

Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek Monthly, SYFY Wire, Superhero Hype, Collider, DC Universe, and the official sites for Star Trek and Marvel. He also lends his pop culture expertise to Digital Trends on a variety of TV, movie, and streaming features.

Holden Walter-Warner

Holden is a writer with a focus on streaming service guides. He has also written content for Screen Rant and FanSided and is eagerly anticipating every Star Wars series set to debut in the coming years.

Michael Bizzaco

Michael Bizzaco has been writing about and working with consumer tech for well over a decade, writing about everything from A/V components and smart home devices to encryption software, cloud backup platforms, search engine tools, and more. He has written for Digital Trends for over three years, covering entertainment content, A/V, and smart home devices.

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