If there was ever a time to seek solace in cinema, this is it. Fortunately, Netflix has plenty of options for movie-lovers looking to get a quick pick-me-up from their vast library of streaming films.
The definition of a “feel-good” movie can be subjective, but it seems safe to say that if a film is likely to make you smile, laugh, or cheer, it meets all the necessary qualifications. In order to help you find the films most capable of eliciting those reactions, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best feel-good movies Netflix has to offer.
Always Be My Maybe
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.
Back to the Future Part III
The third (and final) big-screen installment of the Back to the Future franchise sent Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Emmett “Doc” Brown (Christopher Lloyd) way, way back in time to 1885 for a Wild West adventure. After Marty learns that his pal Doc traveled into the past and was killed by the ancestor of their old enemy Biff (Thomas F. Wilson), he sets out to bring him, well … back to the future. As always, complications arise, and the film has the pair — and Doc’s new love interest — engage in all manner of thrilling, family-friendly hijinks as they attempt to return to 1985. Back to the Future Part III is a cheer-worthy send-off to the franchise that also stands on its own.
Robin Williams plays an adult Peter Pan in this 1991 fantasy film directed by Steven Spielberg that sends Williams’ workaholic character back to Neverland to restore his memory, find his inner child, and rescue his children from the notorious Captain Hook. Williams is joined in the cast by Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell and Bob Hoskins as Smee, but it’s Dustin Hoffman’s scene-chewing portrayal of the titular Hook that complements Williams’ charismatic, gleeful performance and makes it such a memorable feel-good film.
The Hundred-Foot Journey
This 2014 film chronicles the escalating battle between two restaurants in a small French village: One run by an Indian family and the other a lauded, Michelin-starred establishment. Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, and Charlotte Le Bon lead the cast of the film, which is adapted from Richard Morais’ 2010 novel of the same name. Mirren plays the proprietor of the latter, who feels threatened by the arrival of the new family and their new restaurant, located directly across the street from her own. Funny, heartwarming, and filled with plenty of mouth-watering moments that will appeal to your inner foodie, the film was co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
One of the most popular documentaries of the last decade, this 2011 Japanese-language film tells the story of sushi master Jiro Ono, the 85-year-old owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest living sushi masters. The film explores Jiro’s philosophy and career that led to his small, 10-seat restaurant located in a Tokyo subway station becoming a Michelin-starred destination for food lovers. The movie also profiles Jiro’s two sons as they attempt to live up to their father’s legacy, and dives into what it means to be the famous sushi master’s heirs.
Mary Poppins Return
Few people can brighten a day like Mary Poppins, the magical nanny who taught us how to take bad medicine with a spoonful of sugar. This 2018 film casts Emily Blunt as the eponymous nanny, and is set 25 years after the events of the original film. The story has Mary Poppins return to help the children she previously took care of, even though they’re grown up with children of their own. Blunt is joined in the magical, musical film’s cast by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep. The recipient of four Academy Award nominations, Mary Poppins Returns manages to recapture the wonder and joy of the original film in all the right ways.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
One of the best films of 2018 — animated or otherwise — Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduced much of the world to Miles Morales, a teenager who inherited the mantle of Spider-Man after the death of Peter Parker in his world. When a villain attempts to break the barrier between his world and the myriad similar-but-different worlds out there, Miles suddenly finds himself teaming up with (and being mentored by) a host of alternate Spider-heroes in an effort to repair his reality and get them all back home to their own worlds. Blending an amazing soundtrack with a talented cast of characters and voice actors (including John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, Hailee Steinfeld, and Mahershala Ali, among others), the brilliant, heroic Into the Spider-Verse took home a well-deserved Academy Award as the year’s best animated feature.
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are at their hilarious best in this 2008 film directed by Adam McKay, which follows a pair of adult men still living with their single parents who are suddenly forced to live together after their parents get married. While the movie received mixed reviews when it was first released, it went on to become a cult-classic comedy, full of infinitely quotable lines and showcasing the hysterical chemistry Ferrell and Reilly have managed to build. Few films can guarantee a laugh like Step Brothers, even when the fate of the Catalina Wine Mixer is at stake.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
When a teenage girl discovers that the secret letters she’s written to all of her crushes over the years were somehow mailed to them, it sparks a wild series of events that sends her life in directions she never expected in this 2018 romantic comedy. Based on Jenny Han’s novel of the same name, the film stars Lana Condor (X-Men: Apocalypse) and became an instant hit on Netflix when it was first released, spawning two sequels. The first of those sequels, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, was released in February.
Amy Poehler made her feature directorial debut with this 2019 comedy about a group of middle-aged women who embark on a wine-tasting tour in California to celebrate one friend’s 50th birthday. The film’s amazing ensemble cast is packed with some of comedy’s most prominent leading ladies, including Poehler and fellow Saturday Night Live alumni Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, and Tina Fey, as well as Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, and Emily Spivey. Both heartwarming and hilariously raunchy at various points, Wine Country is a coming-of-age movie for the middle-age crowd that offers a nice reminder of the role friends can play in our lives, even when we don’t see them very often.
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