104 Feel-Good Movies Guaranteed To Leave You Feeling, Well, Good

104 Best Feel-Good Movies To Make You Smile (With Kid-Friendly Picks, Too!)

November 30, 2021 Updated January 4, 2022

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Looking for a movie that will make you feel happy? A cinematic pick-me-up? I get it. The world can feel awful and dark — even around the holidays and especially in the middle of a pandemic. On the bright side, it might be starting to feel like we’re finally heading away from the world of The Handmaid’s Tale instead of hurtling towards it. *Still.* Homeschool is hell. And your favorite team just lost. And the days are getting shorter. When you need a little boost to get you out of your slump, sometimes the best way to proceed is to fire up that old DVD player or load up the Netflix app. Then just disappear into a happier world inhabited by all the best feel-good movies.

What is a feel-good movie, exactly? That probably depends on who’s asking. I love Almost Famous and escaping into the world of rock and roll in 1973 — but not everyone would find that world as happy and wonderful as I do. I’m including Chef on the list because I love Jon Favreau (who doesn’t, really?), food porn, and a solid redemption story. But an actual chef might not “feel good” about reliving work when they’re off. At the end of the day, a feel-good movie will look different for every person. Some people prefer movies with absolutely no sad moments. Others don’t mind a tragic start, as long as everything works out beautifully in the end.

So, yes, this list of feel-good movies is massive. There should be a little something for everyone!

Best Feel-Good Movies to Watch When You Need a Boost

1. Chef (2014)

Chef is such an easy premise. A tired, wildly talented chef walks away from the strains of working in a fancy restaurant. Along the way, he starts a food truck, takes a road trip, and reconnects with his family. It’s vibrant, beautiful, and just a little silly. As a bonus: This movie has spawned a whole cookie series starring Favreau.

2. Clueless (1995)

We’ll admit it: This movie made me feel a lot deeper when I was a teen. Now that we’re older, though, it’s just the right mix of absurdity, fashion, and high school drama. Alicia Silverstone’s disgusted faces make us laugh every time.

3. Always Be My Maybe (2019)

There is so much to love about this stellar Asian-led Netflix rom-com. Not only is the cast outstanding, but the story is sweet and realistic. (Well, minus the dating Keanu Reeves part.) If you’ve ever thought about getting together with your old high school friend, crush, or ex, Always Be My Maybe will be the ultimate, adorable escape from your reality.

4. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Can I just say, Netflix is really crushing it with their drive to make movies that feature diversity? I love, love, love To All The Boys’ look at life as a mixed family, as well as the life of three teen girls being raised by a widowed father. Will you cry at least once while watching this film? Yes. But will you be grinning ear-to-ear by that big end-of-film pan out? Absolutely. Plus, guys, there are two sequels already made and Netflix just announced a new film starring Laura Jean’s little sister, Kitty.

5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Ferris is a classic for a reason. From crashing a car to crashing a parade, this movie is full of absurd but still somehow relatable high school angst… and goofiness. If you don’t love Ferris, are you even capable of love?

6. Elf (2003)

“But this is a Christmas movie!” Is it, Karen? Is it?! Sure, it stars an elf. And, OK, it starts in the North Pole and takes place in New York City in late December. Plus, yes, there’s a whole subplot involving believing in Santa to get the sleigh to fly. Elf is so much more than any of those things, though! It’s an adventure film. A story of acceptance. And, you know, it’s even a rom-com. Did I mention it’s also funny AF? Smiling is our favorite.

7. The Long, Long Trailer (1954)

If you only ever get to watch one Lucille Ball movie, it should be The Long, Long Trailer. This black and white film is full of all the normal shenanigans you’d expect to see on I Love Lucy. But it’s set around a newlywed couple who buys a car and trailer and takes a road trip across the country. This movie will either ignite or stifle your desire to own a camper and do the same.

8. Love, Simon (2018)

Anyone else notice how so many movies about gay teens (and even gay adults) are often reductive and downright tragic? Life outside the heteronormative can be the latter — but it isn’t always, and it certainly doesn’t have to always be portrayed that way on the big screen. Love, Simon follows two closeted kids navigating their love story, and it manages to avoid being another depressing story about bullied teens. Seriously, it’s perfect. And it has a happy ending… something we all desperately want for the people in our lives.

9. Ratatouille (2007)

Even if you hate rats, Ratatouille might change your mind. Meet Remy, a rat who has a dream of becoming a chef. And in a weird twist of fate, he gets a shot at his dream, but things get complicated when his secret gets out. Ratatouille may be about food, but it’s also a reminder to kids (and adults) to follow your dreams, no matter who they are or where they come from.

Even More Feel-Good Movies

  1. A Good Year (2006)
  2. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)
  3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
  4. The Magic of Belle Isle (2012)
  5. No Strings Attached (2011)
  6. King Richard (2021)
  7. Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
  8. Brown Sugar (2002)
  9. Love Actually (2003)
  10. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
  11. Cool Runnings (1993)
  12. La La Land (2016)
  13. The Holiday (2006)
  14. Sister Act (1992)
  15. Tampopo (1985)
  16. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  17. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
  18. Bridesmaids (2011)
  19. You’ve Got Mail (1998)
  20. Julie & Julia (2009)
  21. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
  22. Set It Up (2018)
  23. Eurovision Song Contest: The Store of Fire Saga (2020)
  24. Big Fish (2003)
  25. The Birdcage (1996)
  26. Luca (2021)
  27. Jerry Maguire (1996)
  28. Ghostbusters (1984)
  29. Paddington 2 (2017)
  30. The Princess Diaries (2001)
  31. Girls Trip (2017)
  32. Mamma Mia! (2008)
  33. Up (2009)
  34. Legally Blonde (2001)
  35. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
  36. Hook (1991)
  37. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  38. Morning Glory (2010)
  39. Grease (1978)
  40. The Blind Side (2009)
  41. A League of Their Own (1992)
  42. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
  43. Someone Great (2019)
  44. Sing Street (2016)
  45. Coming to America (1988)
  46. Amélie (2001)
  47. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
  48. Patch Adams (1998)
  49. Enchanted (2007)
  50. Top Gun (1986)
  51. The Bucket List (2007)
  52. Groundhog Day (1993)
  53. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
  54. Big (1988)
  55. Sex and the City: The Movie (2008)
  56. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)
  57. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
  58. The Parent Trap (1998)
  59. Moonstruck (1987)
  60. Mary Poppins (1964)
  61. Michael (1996)
  62. Southside With You (2016)
  63. Love Jones (1997)
  64. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
  65. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  66. Hidden Figures (2016)
  67. Pitch Perfect (2012)
  68. I Love You, Man (2009)
  69. The Sandlot (1993)
  70. Easy A (2010)
  71. Me Before You (2016)
  72. Hitch (2005)
  73. Billy Elliot (2000)
  74. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
  75. 13 Going on 30 (2004)
  76. Hope Floats (1998)
  77. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
  78. The Intern (2015)
  79. Life or Something Like It (2002)
  80. Field of Dreams (1989)
  81. Booksmart (2019)
  82. Ever After (1989)
  83. 50 First Dates (2004)
  84. Soul Food (1997)
  85. Dan in Real Life (2007)
  86. Free Guy (2021)
  87. Father of the Bride (1991)
  88. Love & Basketball (2000)
  89. The Intouchables (2011)
  90. What Dreams May Come (1998)
  91. Mulan (2o20)
  92. The Princess Bride (1987)
  93. The Proposal (2009)
  94. Matilda (1996)
  95. Calendar Girls (2003)