If you’re having a bad day – or are in need of a little pick-me-up – snuggling up in front of an uplifting film can help to put a smile back on your face.
But, to help you avoid endlessly scrolling in search of the perfect film to watch, we’ve put together a list of a few that are really worth seeing if you’re feeling blue.
Whether you’re in the mood for romance, comedy, drama, or a film with an inspiring message, here are 16 feel-good film ideas.
1. La La Land (2016)
Jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) are brought together by their mutual desire to do what makes them happy.
After repeatedly running into each other, the pair eventually give into their love affair. However, it soon becomes clear how challenging it can be to maintain a relationship while also finding your place in the world.
Set in modern-day Los Angeles, La La Land has the glamorous feel of old-time Hollywood. This feel-good song-and-dance musical is full of light humour and romance, as well as wholesome messages of creativity, love, and following your dreams.
2. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Little Miss Sunshine is a feel-good comedy-drama about the Hoover family, who decide to travel across the country from New Mexico to California so that their daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) can participate in a beauty pageant.
Determined to help Olive follow her dreams, everyone’s sanity is soon stretched to the limit as each family member is forced to confront their problems along the way.
However, despite their individual quirks (and dysfunctional relationships), Little Miss Sunshine is heartwarming and celebrates how perfectly imperfect families can be.
3. Mrs Doubtfire (1993)
Faced with restricted access to his children, divorced dad Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) comes up with an elaborate plan to see them more.
With help from his brother Frank (Harvey Fierstein), Daniel disguises himself as an older British woman and convinces his ex-wife Miranda (Sally Field) to hire him as a nanny.
As ‘Mrs Doubtfire’, Daniel wins over his children and learns to become a better parent in the process. But, when both Daniel and Mrs Dobutfire are called to meet different people at the same restaurant, his secret is threatened to be exposed.
Entertaining and heartwarming, Mrs Doubtfire is a celebration of family and how, just like life, parents don’t need to be perfect.
4. Akeelah & the Bee (2006)
With her father dead, a mother who ignores her, and a brother involved with local gangs, 11-year-old Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) doesn’t have an easy life. Despite being smart, Akeelah’s environment isn’t on her side.
However, after participating in a spelling bee to avoid detention for her many absences, Akeelah wins and is asked to seek coaching from English professor, Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne).
With the potential to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Akeelah has the opportunity to provide her community with someone to rally around and be proud of – but only if she can overcome her own insecurities and difficult home life.
5. Sunshine on Leith (2013)
Sunshine on Leith follows the stories of Ally (Kevin Guthrie) and Davy (George MacKay) who have to re-learn how to live their ordinary lives in Edinburgh after serving as soldiers in Afghanistan.
Experiencing the joys and heartache of relationships, Ally and Davy work to regain control of their home and love lives.
Based on the stage-hit musical of the same name, Sunshine on Leith is set around the euphoric music of pop-folk band The Proclaimers. Dubbed ‘the feel fabulous film’ of 2013, this is an uplifting tale that’ll probably pull on your heartstrings a bit too!
6. Mamma Mia (2008)
Set on a small Greek island, bride-to-be Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) dreams of a perfect wedding – one which includes her father walking her down the aisle. The problem? Sophie doesn’t know who her father is.
After snooping through her mother’s old diaries, Sophie discovers that she has three possible fathers – Sam (Pierce Brosnan), Bill (Stellan Skarsgard), and Harry (Colin Firth). Secretly, she invites them all to her wedding, convinced she’ll know her father when she sees him. But as Sophie soon finds out, it may not be as clear as she once thought.
Told through the legendary music of ABBA, Mamma Mia! will fill you with joy and have you dancing on the edge of your seat.
7. Groundhog Day (1993)
Cynical television weatherman Phil (Bill Murray) finds himself reliving the same day over and over after he travels to the small town of Punxsutawney to film a report about the area’s Groundhog Day celebration.
Phil’s predicament leaves him highly frustrated and lost, until he sees a way to turn the situation to his advantage.
A light, entertaining comedy on the surface, Groundhog Day also reminds us to live every day to the fullest and how, with a little resourcefulness, even the most miserable days can be turned around.
8. The Bucket List (2007)
Car mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) and billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) are complete strangers, until they find themselves in the same hospital room.
Despite their differences, the men find common ground in their need to accept who they are and what they’ve done with their lives. With a ‘bucket list’ each of things they want to see and do before they die, Edward and Carter go against their doctor’s advice and leave the hospital to set out on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
With the clear message of finding joy in all areas of life, The Bucket List is a must-watch feel-good film.
9. Forrest Gump (1994)
Kind-hearted Alabama boy Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) remains inspiringly steadfast in his childlike optimism, despite having dealt with other people’s unkindness all his life.
Living life to the fullest and taking any opportunity by the reins, Forrest becomes a college football star, a soldier in the Vietnam War, and captain of his own shrimping boat.
People are inspired by Forrest’s continuous positivity, but his misguided childhood sweetheart Jenny (Robin Wright) proves difficult for Forrest to save.
10. Bridesmaids (2011)
Annie (Kristen Wiig) is a single woman whose life is a bit of a mess. But when her lifelong best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) becomes engaged, Annie has no choice but to stand up and serve as maid of honour.
After meeting Lillian’s other bridesmaids – including the gorgeous but over-the-top Helen (Rose Byrne) – a hilarious rivalry ensues as Annie and Helen fight to take over the bridal party plans and prove they’re Lillian’s ‘best friend’.
With funny, relatable characters, and an easy-going plot, Bridesmaids is the perfect laugh-out-loud film to put on when you’re in need of a giggle.
11. Along Came Polly (2004)
Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller) is a risk assessment analyst obsessed with evaluating what could go wrong in his life. While his new bride Liza Kramer (Debra Messing) initially appeared to be perfect, she soon proves otherwise.
After running into ex-classmate Polly Prince (Jennifer Anniston), Reuben is charmed by her spirited, free-living ways. And despite believing that they’re completely incompatible, Polly’s lifestyle slowly teaches Reuben how he can learn to let go of control and take risks.
Simple and entertaining, Along Came Polly is an easy watch that’s sure to put a smile on your face.
12. Sister Act (1992)
Deloris Van Certier (Whoopi Goldberg) is a lively lounge singer from Reno, Nevada. Having witnessed her boyfriend Vince LaRocca (Harvey Keitel) murder an employee, Deloris is hidden in a convent under a witness protection programme.
After making friends with her fellow nuns, Deloris is ordered to join the church choir, where she begins coaching the nuns to become vibrant, soulful singers. As the choir becomes a huge success around the neighbourhood, the underlying worry remains: will Deloris’ boyfriend track her down?
Full of catchy music you can’t help but sing along to, Sister Act is a fun, vibrant, and uplifting film for everyone to enjoy.
13. School of Rock (2003)
Dewey Finn (Jack Black) is an overly keen and immature guitarist who, after finding himself out of work, decides to pose as a substitute music teacher at a private elementary school. Here, he secretly begins training the students to become hard rock musicians.
Dewey forms a strong bond with the students as they all prepare to compete in the local Battle of the Bands competition.
Due to the film’s success, School of Rock has also become a critically acclaimed theatre production. Funny and cheerful, it’s definitely one to check off the list.
14. About Time (2013)
When Tim Lake (Dombhall Gleeson) is 21, his father (Bill Nighy) reveals a secret: the men in their family can travel through time. While he can’t change history, Tim becomes determined to improve his life by changing what happens (and has happened) in his own life – and he starts by getting a girlfriend.
After meeting Mary (Rachel McAdams), Tim falls in love and manages to win her over using time travel. However, as his back-and-forth life progresses, Tim discovers that his special power can’t protect him or his loved ones from the problems of everyday life.
From the creators of Love Actually and Notting Hill, About Time is a romantic comedy-drama that’s perfect for a snuggly night in.
15. Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) is the daughter of a strict Indian family living in London. One day in the park, her impressive football skills are recognised by Jules Paxton (Keira Knightly), who convinces her to join her semi-pro team. The only problem is that Jess’ family rules don’t allow her to take part in organised football, despite her being 18.
In a bid to prevent her family from finding out, Jess uses elaborate excuses to hide her secret, while working through her romantic feelings for her football coach, Joe.
Addressing cultural differences, gender, and sexuality issues, Bend It Like Beckham is an inspirational rom-com film about following your dreams and developing your own unique identity.
16. Letters to Juliet (2010)
During a visit to Verona, Italy, with her very busy fiance, romantic-loving Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) visits the city’s famous wall where the heartbroken leave notes and letters seeking advice from Shakespeare’s tragic heroine, Juliet.
After finding one particular letter from 1957, Sophie decides to write back to its now-elderly author Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), who, inspired by Sophie’s actions, then sets out on a journey to find her long-lost lover, Lorenzo.
It’s hard not to feel good after watching this heartwarming film that reminds us we’re never too old for love – and to always go after opportunities that come our way.
When we’re in need of a little pick-me-up, there’s sometimes nothing better than settling down for a cosy night in with a feel-good film.
Whether you’re in the mood for an uplifting musical, a comedy, or something to tug at the heartstrings a little bit, there’s a film out there for everyone to enjoy!