The best feel-good movies to stream on Netflix this weekend

Whatever you’re feeling down about, there’s always a reason to keep your head up high — especially if you’ve got a Netflix subscription. If nothing else can raise a smile, a feel-good movie from the leading streaming platform should do the trick. From animated tales to laugh-out-loud comedies, Netflix has got you covered for every joyous sub-genre. Better yet, we did the legwork of perusing page after page of Netflix feel-good movies, and you get to reap the rewards by curling up with top-picked flicks at your leisure.

Further reading

Chef

Chef (2014)

Jon Favreau writes, directs, and stars in this culinary comedy-drama. Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) holds an esteemed position as head chef of a high-class Los Angeles restaurant. After a string of disenchanting incidents tank his career, Carl returns to Miami with his ex-wife Inez (Sofía Vergara) and teenage son Percy (Emjay Anthony), where he decides to begin a food truck business that taps into the local Cuban cuisine that Carl admires. Chef is a feast for the eyes and mouth, filled with humor, family moments, and a great cast.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Jon Favreau, Sofía Vergara, John Leguizamo, Dustin Hoffman
Director: Jon Favreau
Rating:
R
Runtime:
114 minutes

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata
Director: Taika Waititi
Rating:
PG-13
Runtime:
101 minutes

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Set It Up

Set It Up (2018)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars: Zoey Deutch, Glenn Powell, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs, Pete Davidson
Director: Claire Scanlon
Rating:
TV-MA
Runtime:
105 minutes

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Easy A

Easy A (2010)

If there’s a signature teenage romantic comedy of the last decade, it’s Easy A, the film that truly made Emma Stone a star. In this modern take on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Stone plays Olive Penderghast, a 17-year-old who improves her life and her social standing thanks to her ability to lie on command for herself and others. However, Olive’s actions alienate her closest friend, Rhiannon Abernathy (Aly Michalka), and eventually lead to Olive being ostracized by her fellow students. Lying was the easy part. Getting the truth out and repairing the damage is much harder.

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Stars: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes
Director: Will Gluck
Rating:
PG-13
Runtime:
92 minutes

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Work It

Work It (2020)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Stars: Sabrina Carpenter, Liza Koshy, Keiynan Lonsdale
Director: Laura Terruso
Rating:
TV-14
Runtime:
93 minutes

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The Princess Switch

The Princess Switch (2018)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Stars: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, Nick Sagar
Director: Mike Rohl
Rating:
TV-G
Runtime:
102 minutes

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Always Be My Maybe

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

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.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Stars: Ali Wong, Randall Park, James Saito
Director: Nahnatchka Khan
Rating:
PG-13
Runtime:
 102 minutes

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The Hundred-Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

This movie follows the story of two restaurants in a small French village, locked in an escalating food battle. One restaurant is run by a new Indian family, and the other is operated by a highly-regarded Michelin-starred establishment. Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, and Charlotte Le Bon lead the way on this 2014 film, which is based on Richard Morais’ 2010 novel of the same name. Mirren portrays the owner of the esteemed establishment, and she feels threatened by the introduction of this new family and their restaurant. She struggles to balance this frustration, as their restaurant is just right across the street from her own. This film is touching, fun, and filled with delicious foods that will leave you hungry for more. Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey co-produced this film.

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Stars: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal
Director: Lasse Hallström
Rating:
PG
Runtime:
122 minutes

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To All The Boys I've Loved Before

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2014)

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 hi-jinks 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 were filmed; the first of those sequels, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, was shared on Netflix in February of 2020.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish
Director: Susan Johnson
Rating:
TV-14
Runtime:
99 minutes

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Wine Country

Wine Country (2019)

Amy Poehler made her feature directorial debut with this 2019 comedy about a group of middle-aged women who descend the hills of Napa Valley to reunite and celebrate one group member’s 50th birthday. Throughout a series of wine-tasting tours, the women joke, bond, and test their friendships. The ensemble cast for this Netflix film is jam-packed. Poehler and fellow Saturday Night Live alumni Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, and Tina Fey, as well as Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, and Emily Spivey, round out the stars. The movie is raunchy, funny, and tender. Wine Country plays like a coming-of-age movie for the middle-aged crowd and teaches us that our friends really do make all the difference in our lives.

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Stars: Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Amy Poehler
Director: Amy Poehler
Rating:
R
Runtime:
103 minutes

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