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.
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
Runtime: 114 minutes
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
Runtime: 101 minutes
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
Runtime: 105 minutes
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
Runtime: 92 minutes
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
Runtime: 93 minutes
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
Runtime: 102 minutes
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
Runtime: 102 minutes
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
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.
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Stars: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal
Director: Lasse Hallström
Runtime: 122 minutes
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2014)
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.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish
Director: Susan Johnson
Runtime: 99 minutes
Wine Country (2019)
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.
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Stars: Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Amy Poehler
Director: Amy Poehler
Runtime: 103 minutes