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The best feel-good movies on Netflix (September 2022)

When things seem most bleak, we all could use something to cheer us up. Movies are a great thing to turn to in times of need. They can provide an escape for a couple of hours, either with some laughs or with a way to help us feel uplifted. Netflix provides plenty of films in the feel-good genre, whether they allow viewers to giggle or inspire them by watching somebody overcome the odds. If you want to embrace that sensation, here are some of the best feel-good movies on Netflix.

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
Hustle (2022) new
Hustle
67 %
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 Hernangomez, 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 the family. But seeing Sandler and Hernangomez’s characters try to rise above their faults is a satisfying experience.
Soul Surfer (2011) new
Soul Surfer
53 %
7.0/10
pg 112m
Genre Family, Drama
Stars AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid
Directed by Sean McNamara
The story of pro surfer Bethany Hamilton begins with tragedy before ending in feel-good triumph. Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb) lost her arm in a shark attack and, against all odds, and with the help of her parents (Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt), she fought to become a surfing champion once again.
Paddington (2014)
Paddington
77 %
7.3/10
pg 96m
Genre Comedy, Adventure, Family
Stars Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins
Directed by Paul King
A talking live-action bear? It doesn’t get more feel-good than that! Paddington Bear ends up on the streets of London, where he is taken in by the Brown family. The very nature of the anthropomorphic bear draws interest from an evil taxidermist, played convincingly by Nicole Kidman. The movie is family-friendly and charming, and it’s CGI depiction of Paddington isn’t as creepy as other live-action CGI animal attempts. The movie and its sequel, sadly absent from Netflix but available on other streaming services, are some of the most widely praised family movies of the last decade.
The Harder They Fall (2021)
The Harder They Fall
68 %
6.5/10
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 of today’s greatest 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 on 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.
The Half of It | Official Trailer | Netflix
Dumplin' (2018)
Dumplin'
53 %
6.6/10
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.
Get on Up (2014)
Get on Up
71 %
6.9/10
pg-13 139m
Genre Drama, Music
Stars Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd
Directed by Tate Taylor
The late Chadwick Boseman left us last year, but Get on Up is one of the films that cemented his legacy. Boseman stars as the iconic singer James Brown in a biopic about his life. This movie tracks several pivotal events that shaped James, from his parents abandoning him to his meteoric rise to stardom after a brief stint in prison. James’ relationship with Bobby Byrd (Nelsan Ellis) is also explored, as their collaboration took James to his greatest heights. However James proves to be his own worst enemy, and his self-destructive tendencies nearly cost him everything.
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 %
7.1/10
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.

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