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The 25 best feelgood movies on Netflix

Lift your mood with some of the best feelgood films on Netflix right now

By Time Out Film |
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As we know pretty well by now, real life and current affairs can really get you down. For many of us, Netflix is the antidote and escapism we need from daily life. However, with so many films and TV shows to choose from, it can be hard to know which films will leave your spirits high. 

Well, we're here to help. From classic romcoms like ‘Bridget Jones's Diary’, Reese Witherspoon's iconic turn as Elle Woods in ‘Legally Blonde’, movie musicals like ‘Mamma Mia!’ and ‘Burlesque’, or Netflix Originals such as ‘Dumplin'’ and ‘To All the Boys I've Loved Before’, here's our guide to the 25 best feelgood movies streaming on Netflix UK right now that are guaranteed to cheer you up. (Updated 11 June 2019.)

Recommended: Not a Netflix fan? Here are the 30 best films streaming on Amazon Prime UK right now. 

Feelgood movies on Netflix

1
Film, Family and kids

Roald Dahl's Matilda (1996)

Director: Danny DeVito

Cast: Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Pam Ferris

Danny DeVito's snappy, kinetic visual adaptation of this Roald Dahl classic fits the cartoon feel of the source material, and the cast is great. It's a modern-day pantomime about childhood solidarity and self-empowerment: the real joy here is the view of generational war, the children's assumption of zero tolerance for injustices inflicted by absurd adults, and the recognition that the big meanies should be punished, by fair means or foul.

2
Romantic film: When Harry Met Sally
Film

When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

Director: Rob Reiner

Cast: Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal

This is a film where everything works: Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan’s just-this-side-of-smug central couple, the gorgeous photography of New York through the changing seasons, even Harry Connick Jr’s jazz-lite soundtrack. And it’s all rooted in Nora Ephron's flawless script.

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3
Set It Up

Set It Up (2018)

Director: Claire Scanlon

Cast: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Taye Diggs, Lucy Liu

Director Claire Scanlon resurrects that tragically neglected genre, the romcom, with this amiable caper. The premise – two put-upon assistants (Glen Powell and Zoey Deutch) try to trick their bosses-from-hell as payback for their own stresses – is relatively well-trodden territory, but it’s executed deftly and boasts no little heart. There are even a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments sprinkled among the romantic fare, with Lucy Liu proving that when it comes to comedy she knows how to deliver.

4
Legally Blonde
Film, Comedy

Legally Blonde (2001)

Director: Robert Luketic

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Jennifer Coolidge

With Ariana Grande paying homage to ‘Legally Blonde’ in her ’thank u, next’ music video and rumours of a third movie floating around, it seems only fitting that Reese Witherspoon's fabulously camp and ferociously feelgood classic gets its spot on this list. Whether it's the ‘bend and snap’, her neon orange Mac laptop or learning about the dangers of showering with a perm, sorority queen turned lawyer Elle Woods is not only inspirational but aspirational, too.

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5
migrate.45995.jpg
Film, Drama

Mamma Mia! (2008)

Director: Phyllida Lloyd

Cast: Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters

What could be more feelgood than a trip to Greece soundtracked by ABBA. This film phenomenon might be naff (and the less said about Pierce Brosnan’s singing the better) but at its heart is a story about female friendship and creating your own family that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Perfect for when that encore of ‘Dancing Queen’ comes along.

6
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Masha_Weisberg

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)

Director: Susan Johnson

Cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo

To deal with her intense crushes, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) writes secret love letters to the boys she lusts after, which no one is ever meant to see. Of course, these letters end up being sent out and Lara Jean must deal with her feelings, and the implications of the letters, head on.

This Netflix Original movie, based on the book of the same name by Jenny Han, has been praised by all corners of the internet, especially for the performances of Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, who plays love interest Peter Kavinsky. It looks like the romcom is officially back.

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7
792.fi_.burlesqueREV
Film

Burlesque (2010)

Director: Steven Antin

Cast: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Stanley Tucci

Okay, so the plot of this Christina Aguilera and Cher vehicle makes little-to-no sense, but when you have the former belting out bangers and the latter bouncing off of Stanley Tucci, somehow magic happens. Indeed, Tucci and Cher’s chemistry is wonderful, even when the pop diva struggles to get the lines out without stumbling. Camp, clichéd and totally gluttonous, this one is so bad that it’s good.

8
Film, Comedy

My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)

Director: P.J. Hogan

Cast: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett

Not your usual the-best-friend-attempts-to-ruin-the-wedding film, this subverted romcom is genuinely funny. Julia Roberts is on the mark, although it’s Rupert Everett’s performance as George who clinches it. It’s proof that, just sometimes, love doesn’t conquer all.

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9
El principito
Film, Animation

The Little Prince (2016)

Director Mark Osborne

Cast Rachel McAdams, Jeff Bridges, Mackenzie Foy (voices)

This sweet, faithful adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry much-loved ‘The Little Prince’ skipped the cinema and landed straight on Netflix. It’s a charming mix of animation and stop-motion, as it follows a young girl who is told the familiar tale by the book’s now elderly pilot, who recalls crashing in the desert where he meets the titular alien.

10
A Royal Night Out
Film, Drama

A Royal Night Out (2015)

Director: Julian Jarrold

Cast: Sarah Gadon, Bel Powley

On May 8, 1945, the day the Second World War ended, London threw the party to end all parties. The pubs ran out of beer and the Royal Parks filled with condoms. And unnoticed, into the crowd slipped two teenage girls: Princesses Elizabeth, 19, and Margaret, 14. What did they get up to? Gambling in Soho and partying in a ‘knocking shop’, according to this strictly fictional and very fluffy comedy.

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11
The Duff
Film, Comedy

The DUFF (2015)

Director Ari Sandel

Cast Mae Whitman, Bella Thorne

Mae Whitman has oodles of charm as the down-to-earth lead of this harmlessly predictable high school comedy. Realising she’s known as the ‘duff’, a Designated Ugly Fat Friend guys talk to to get to their hotter mates, she sets about reinventing herself. But a message of acceptance wins out in the end.

12
Best animated movies: How to Train Your Dragon
Film, Animation

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Director: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois

Cast: (Voices) Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Kristen Wiig

On a remote North Atlantic island, the Viking population is suffering harassment from swarms of marauding dragons, until geeky son-of-a-chief Hiccup finds an injured dragon in the woods and suspects this constant state of warfare may be unnecessary. This is a smart and muscular animated adventure, the script is sharp and well-paced, and it all wraps up with a breathtaking aerial battle sequence.

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13
The 25 best feelgood movies on Netflix: good will hunting
Film

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Director Gus Van Sant
Cast Matt Damon, Robin Williams

The fairytale story of a kid from the mean streets of Boston who turns out to be a maths prodigy, this is silly, sweet and deeply moving in equal measure. If you need an extra mood-booster afterwards, check out writer-stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Oscar speech. Ah, bless…

14
Film, Comedy

Home Again (2017)

Director Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Cast Reese Witherspoon, Michael Sheen, Candice Bergen

The stakes are so low in this Reese Witherspoon vehicle that it’s practically soothing. Witherspoon plays a recently separated mother-of-two who accidentally finds herself living with three twentysomething filmmakers, one of whom she starts a relationship with. Michael Sheen shows up as her ex-husband to complicate things, but it’s all very soft, very kind and very L.A. This movie is basically a nice hug.

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15
bull durham
Film, Comedy

Bull Durham (1988)

Director Ron Shelton
Cast Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins

A former minor league baseball player himself, director Ron Shelton turned his insider eye over the fates of a hot young pitcher (Tim Robbins), a fading veteran (Kevin Costner) and the groupie (Susan Sarandon) from whom they both learn valuable life lessons. Any baseball film that folds in quantum physics and William Blake is fine by us.

16
703.film.loveyou.jpg
Film

I Love You, Man (2009)

Director John Hamburg

Cast Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones

Paul Rudd plays Peter, a friendless soon-to-be-married guy searching for a best man in this likeable bromcom. Jason Segel is Sydney, a mad rock-lover, who shakes Peter out of his premarital complacency.


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17
THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS.
Film, Animation

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (2012)

Director: Peter Lord.

Cast: (Voices) Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant

A return to form for Aardman Animation, this film is a brilliant mish-mash of styles and genres, crammed with ideas and intelligence and carried off with a sense of rebellious fun and breathtaking invention not seen since, well, ‘The Wrong Trousers’. Kids will be enthralled by all the action, slapstick and yo-ho-ho-ing while the olds will get a kick out of the intricate visual detail, sparkling wit (there’s not a single ‘avast behind’ gag) and wild historical inaccuracies: find me another movie in which Jane Austen chucks a beer mug at the Elephant Man.

18
Beauty and the Beast 2017
Film, Romance

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Director: Bill Condon

Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens

It’s a tale as old as time, but this live-action version has been updated for the twenty-first century with plenty of CGI. Dan Stevens stars as the Beast, while Emma Watson tackles a new feminist slant on Belle. Throw in some musical numbers and you’ve got yourself a bundle of big-budget Disney magic.

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19
bridget jones diary, best christmas movies
Film, Comedy

Bridget Jones's Diary

Director: Sharon Maguire

Cast: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant

Who better than good ol' Bridge to give you that feelgood feeling? Whether it's her horrendous dating escapades, social faux pas (honestly, though, who wouldn't panic when faced with idle chit chat with Salman Rushdie?) or the fact that, despite everything, she's still a romantic, this film is like a warm mug of hot chocolate…or a soothing bottle of Chardonnay, depending on your mood.

20
A Knight's Tale
Film, Action and adventure

A Knight's Tale (2001)

Director Brian Helgeland

Cast Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, Paul Bettany

A silly, corny medieval romp starring Heath Ledger as a thatcher’s son who dreams of being a knight. He reinvents himself as Ulrich von Liechtenstein of Gelderland and soon wins over the heart of his fair lady. This is the definition of a guilty pleasure. 

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21
Romance movie: Four Weddings and a Funeral
Film, Comedy

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Director Mike Newell
Cast Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell

Boy meets girl. Well, actually, boy meets several girls and, um, well, things, erm, get fairly awkward. Then boy meets the girl and after much flirting, some killer gags and Hugh Grant at his most charmingly bumbling and foppish… well, you know the rest. A strong supporting cast and a tear-jerking funeral scene give it all extra heart.

22
i3-20100322 (502).jpg
Film, Comedy

Chalet Girl (2011)

Director Phil Traill

Cast Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick

Rogue One’ star Felicity Jones is at the heart of this fluffy fun British romcom. She plays Kim, a working class skateboard champion who becomes a chalet girl after her mum’s death – and ends up falling for a wealthy (and taken) client. 

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23
Best animated movies: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Film, Action and adventure

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

Directors: Nick Park, Steve Box

Cast: (Voices) Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter

In a bid to help the village from a plague of rabbits who are destroying their vegetables and to lose weight, Wallace accidentally turns himself into the were-rabbit. Of course, havoc and mayhem ensues. This is a sprightly addition to Aardman’s ‘Wallace and Gromit’ series, especially if you’re into bunnies.

24
Dumplin
Bob Mahoney / Netflix
Film, Comedy

Dumplin' (2018)

Director: Anne Fletcher

Cast: Danielle Macdonald, Jennifer Aniston

This entertaining and feelgood coming-of-age dramedy sees Jennifer Aniston excel as a former pageant queen whose plus-size, teenage daughter enters a pageant as a protest. Even better: it's all soundtracked by Dolly Parton.

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25
Film, Comedy

Maid in Manhattan (2002)

Director: Wayne Wang

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson

A modern-day Cinderella story, Jennifer Lopez plays a maid in a hotel who, thanks to a case of mistaken identity, finds herself embroiled in a potential love affair with senatorial candidate played by Ralph Fiennes. Yes, this is about as saccharine as things get, but it has all the right ingredients for classic romcom confectionary that’ll leave you buzzing with a sugar high long after the credits roll.

The best films on Netflix UK

Film

The 30 best movies on Netflix UK

Feeling overwhelmed or uninspired by the choice on Netflix UK? We’ve all been there. If you can’t decide what to watch, try one of these solid gold winners – and take your pick from hilarious comedy movies, reach-for- the-tissues heartwarmers and Oscar-winning nail-biting dramas.

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