From The Prom and Dumplin’ to La La Land: The best feel-good films on Netflix right now

Cosy up with a comforting movie from our pick of the best new films, cinema classics and award-winning comedies and weepies streaming right now.

By Katie Archer Published: 20 May 2021 - 6.37pm
Netflix The Prom Meryl Streep and James Corden

A feel-good movie is like a comforting hug, a cosy blanket and your favourite cuppa all rolled into one – and we could all do with that right now.

When you want to switch off from the world and enter a universe where everything just makes you feel a little bit better about life, the right film choice can be a great way to do it.

Here’s our pick of the most comforting titles streaming on Netflix right now, from weepy romances to cheery comedies.

The Prom

The Prom Netflix

This film adaptation of the Broadway musical hit the headlines when it was released in 2020 for James Corden’s slightly controversial portrayal of Barry Glickman.

But controversy aside, it’s one of the ultimate uplifting films to stream as washed-up Broadway stars Barry and Dee Dee (Meryl Streep) decide to throw their celebrity weight behind a good cause – a teen being allowed to attend her high school prom with her girlfriend.

It backfires spectacularly, but the pair decide to give the teen a night to remember and make some changes to their own lives in the process.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before Netflix

On the face of it, this is just another teen romcom but a sweet storyline and gentle comedy have made it a hit for Netflix.

In fact, the adaptation of Jenny Han’s novel was so popular that it quickly became a trilogy, so if you’re in real need of soothing your soul, you can binge watch the sequels To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, and To All the Boys: Always and Forever.

When Lara Jean’s secret love letters to her five crushes actually get posted to them, her life at high school is turned upside-down while becoming infinitely more exciting than it ever was before.

Labyrinth

Sometimes, only a classic film will do to lift your spirits, and few movies manage it quite so well as Labyrinth.

The 1986 musical fantasy was directed by Muppet creator Jim Henson, produced by Star Wars director George Lucas, and stars David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly, so it has some serious Hollywood credentials.

But of course, it’s the adorable baby lost in the maze, his sister’s desperate quest to win him back after wishing him away to the goblin king, and of course a very familiar score that make this such a heartwarming watch, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

La La Land

It isn’t all guilty pleasures in the feel-good genre – one of the most uplifting films of recent years was also a hit at the Oscars.

Damien Chazelle’s old-school Hollywood musical stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as two ambitious performers following their dreams of fame and struggling to make their romance work alongside it.

Huge musical numbers, dance routines and even a starring role for John Legend combine with a wistful theme of whether a different first meeting could have transformed the following years of their relationship make this one of the ultimate feel-good films.

Eat Pray Love

Julia Roberts stars in this 2010 adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s moving memoir about leaving her husband and finding herself.

Trying to rebuild her life after her divorce, she travels to Italy where she discovers the importance of good food, on to India where she gets in touch with the power of prayer, and then finally finds true love in Indonesia.

It’s one of the great break-up films and is perfect viewing for anyone looking for inspiration in changing their life.

Dumplin’

Dumplin' Netflix

This Netflix Original film starring Jennifer Aniston is one of the most feel-good titles available to stream.

A former beauty queen’s plus-size teen daughter decides to enter the same contest her mum once won as a protest, which gathers pace when others decide to follow in her footsteps.

They change the face of the contest and the town forever as they prove that beauty is much more than just skin deep.

Chalet Girl

Yes, it’s trashy and ridiculous, but this snowy, youthful romcom is absolutely perfect for winter days when your mood needs lifting.

Felicity Jones is a former snowboard champion who gets a job with a posh chalet services company after her mum dies.

But will she revive her sports prospects and her love life while working for her rich clients?

Hook

Another film favourite to take you right back to childhood is the Peter Pan-inspired Hook, directed by Steven Spielerg and boasting an incredible star cast including Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Smith, Bob Hoskins and a young Gwyneth Paltrow.

Peter Pan has grown up, become a workaholic and forgotten all about his days with the Lost Boys – until Captain Hook kidnaps his son.

As he sets out on a rescue mission, Peter gets back in touch with Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and all of his old enemies as he learns how to have fun again.

About A Boy

It’s not the only one of Nick Hornby’s novels to be adapted into a film, but it’s probably the most popular.

Hugh Grant is on familiar territory in this London-set romcom, Badly Drawn Boy was responsible for the instantly recognisable soundtrack, and of course there’s a heartwarming message about life at the centre of it all.

Look out for Hollywood star Nicholas Hoult in his first big role and sporting that iconic haircut.

The Notebook

Is The Notebook really a feel-good film? It’s a little weepier than some of the others on our list, but its epic love story earns it a place in the genre.

A privileged young woman and a poor carpenter find their worlds colliding one summer, but can their love cross the social divide, and how will it last throughout their lives?

There’s an added layer to the story as stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams met and fell in love on the set, and although their romance ultimately didn’t last, it was one of Hollywood’s favourite stories for years.

Wine Country

Wine Country Netflix

In the absence of being able to head off on a boozy weekend with your best mates, Wine Country is the next best thing.

Featuring a hilarious cast including Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer, it’s a gem in Netflix’s selection of easy comedies.

Both uncannily accurate for a fraught trip with friends and ridiculously slapstick, it warms you like a good glass of wine.

The Fundamentals of Caring

The Fundamentals of Caring Netflix

When a writer retires after a personal tragedy, he finds a new career as a teenager’s carer.

The two embark on a road trip together and learn plenty about each other, as well as the kind of people they want to be.

It’s the sort of film where you just know you’re going to be choking down the lump in your throat by the end.

Booksmart

Booksmart

Billed at the time of its release as a female version of Superbad, Booksmart is actually so much more than that comparison would have you believe.

It’s hilariously funny, but with a heart – this is nothing like the high school comedies you might be used to.

The stereotypical cliques turn out to be based on nothing more than the main characters’ assumptions, as two A* students heading towards graduation decide to make up for a total lack of partying over the last few years in just one night.

Where the Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book holds fond memories for many, but it’s also the inspiration for an emotional film.

A boy going through a tough childhood runs away from home and enters an imaginary world where the wild creatures crown him as their leader.

It evokes so many emotions and memories that it can’t fail to warm your heart, even after a rather gritty beginning.

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