30 Feel-Good Movies That Will Get You Through the Next 30 Days
Right now is the perfect time to indulge in some cinematic comfort.
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The coronavirus pandemic has set the world on edge, and we’re looking for comfort and joy wherever it can be found. In that spirit, we’ve rounded up 30 of the most powerfully uplifting movies to watch right now. These are the movies that lift your mood, no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Our list of movies let you escape to Disneyland, baseball fields, Greek isles and dance floors across the world. You may cry a few tears of joy, but you’re also sure to laugh a lot.
Psst! Get ready for movie night by learning how to make popcorn on the stove.
Singin’ in the Rain
From the bright and brilliant splashing in yellow raincoats opener to the romantic, uplifting ending, this classic Hollywood movie delivers the joy. Just try to stay sleepy while the charming Debbie Reynolds croons “Good Morning” while tap dancing with Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. The title song, along with “Make ’em Laugh” will get you hopping off the couch and singing along. Need a snack? Check out these recipes inspired by vintage movies.
If you could time travel, go back to any moment in the past, where would you go? In About Time there are rules to that special power, but it’s mostly used to orchestrate happiness between a man (Domhnall Gleeson) and the woman he loves (Rachel McAdams). This rom-com has the perfect dose of sentimental sweetness to celebrate the simple beauty of everyday life. A romantic movie calls for one of these romantic dessert recipes, too.
The Pursuit of Happyness
The always-lovable Will Smith stars with his real-life son, Jaden Smith, in this movie based on the true story of the indomitable spirit of a single dad who loses his job and struggles to get back on his feet. You can’t help but feel inspired by his drive and determination even after roadblocks and strife. This is a man who won’t give up on success in a film filled with heartwarming moments that’ll give you hope.
Kristen Wiig steals the show as the maid of honor to her bestie, played by Maya Rudolph. She finds herself in competition over the wedding duties with a perfectionist rival (Rose Byrne). Get ready for dress fitting mayhem and hilarious chaos. Melissa McCarthy is a comedic revelation as the groom’s zany sister. This one will have you cracking up as it moves toward the wedding extravaganza finale. Take your viewing party up a notch with these adorable bride and groom cupcakes.
This sweet coming-of-age story is a modern update of penpal plots like the one in You’ve Got Mail. Two gay teenagers fall for one another through anonymous emails, but they can’t reveal their identities to each other or out in the world around them. Suspense runs underneath that threatens to out the secret in this truly uplifting romance that has a big reveal ending that will make you cheer. The movie was adapted from a bestselling young adult novel.
Sense and Sensibility
This one is for fans of Jane Austen, romantic intrigue, and the sweeping English countryside. You’ll swoon over this splendid adaptation of the classic novel. Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson (who won an Oscar for writing the screenplay) play the Dashwood sisters who fall in love with unavailable men before they finally sashay to happy endings. Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant also star in this dreamy film that may have you ugly-crying tears of joy by the triumphant ending. Enjoy these dainty tea party recipes while you watch.
Get ready for casually ecstatic choreography that you can do as you sing along in your own living room. The foot-tapping hits of ABBA bring to life this story about a bride-to-be (Amanda Seyfried) and her mom (Meryl Streep) whose former boyfriends happen to show up for the wedding set on a lush Greek island. You can’t help but smile when the dashing Pierce Brosnan sings the hit “S.O.S.” Make it a double feature with the recent sequel Here We Go Again.
Go back to the beginning of the lovable saga between Woody and Buzz Lightyear, Andy’s sentient, adorable toys, who take off for adventure in one of the most popular franchises in the world. Who would have thought that computer-generated imagery could be this heartwarming and so complete in capturing the human spirit? Make it a family film festival and watch the whole series again. All four acclaimed films will keep you entertained to infinity and beyond. For more Disney fun, check out the official recipe for Toy Story Land’s grilled cheese.
Missing football? This is the perfect film for sports fans who also have a hankering for a rom-com. Draft Day is a charming and suspenseful take on office romance set in the world of football. You get all the stressful bargaining of NFL managers on draft day alongside the tense negotiations that happen when you find out your girlfriend is expecting both a baby and a proposal. Kevin Costner plays a team exec trying to get the best players in down-to-the-second deals. Jennifer Garner stars as the team’s money manager who seems ready to walk if he doesn’t put a ring on it.
You loved it back in the 1980s and, it’s still an always-watchable classic that hits you right in the feels. Patrick Swayze (Johnny) and Jennifer Grey (Baby) have perfect chemistry as they sashay to pop hits and oldies in this movie about love affairs and shenanigans set at a summer resort in the 1960s. Let’s face it–it doesn’t get much more uplifting than watching Baby get literally lifted up out of the corner and into Johnny’s arms while “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” serenades you on the soundtrack.
Field of Dreams
If you miss baseball and love a little nostalgia, dive into the movie that inspired the famous “If you build it, they will come” quote. Kevin Costner plays a farmer who hears a voice that advises him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of a cornfield. It’s exactly the kind of scrappy plan that shouldn’t work, but when he does it, there’s a magical twist that will move even the heartstrings of the cynics out there. Hungry? These recipes were inspired by iconic summer movies.
Shaun of the Dead
If you’re looking for a feel-good zombie movie, then Shaun of the Dead will hit the spot. It’s a comedy-horror hybrid that combines a walking dead zombie story with one about love, friendship, and bonding with your community to beat the odds. Simon Pegg plays a bored store clerk whose life gets turned upside-down by a zombie apocalypse. Get inspired as he discovers he may just be a hero after all. You can expect lots of laughs amid the monster mayhem.
Coming to America
Before Wakanda, there was Zamunda in Coming to America. Eddie Murphy plays an African prince who comes to Manhattan to search for a proper princess to make his wife. Arsenio Hall plays his sidekick in this hilarious comedy. It’s the kind of movie you can’t quite pull away from no matter how many times you’ve seen the silly, ever-funny riff on being a royal fish out of water.
Crazy Rich Asians
If you’re in the mood for luxurious weddings dripping in flowers, glitz, and gorgeous gowns, then indulge in the hit comedy Crazy Rich Asians. This funny romance is the perfect comfort food. It’s a down-to-earth fairy tale that takes you to ritzy locales in Singapore. Imagine finding out your boyfriend is actually crazy rich, and oh yeah, his family definitely thinks you’re a gold digger. That’s what happens to the charming Rachel (Constance Wu) when her beau (Henry Golding) invites her home to meet the fam.
Robin Williams and Gene Hackman give stellar comedic performances as the dads of two engaged college kids at one of the most hilarious dinner parties in cinema. Williams stars as a gay night club owner, while Hackman plays a conservative Senator caught up in a scandal. Things get extra funny as they each try to hide the truth from the other. Nathan Lane and Dianne Wiest play their better halves in a watchable movie about inclusivity and acceptance that was way ahead of its time.
This eccentric coming-of-age movie sparkles with charm in its story about an intense high schooler, Max (Jason Schwartzman), who overdoes extracurricular activities and ignores academics. Highlights include Max’s school plays, staged with teens and tweens, in productions of the movie Serpico, as well as an elaborate war drama set in Vietnam. A local businessman (Bill Murray) gets caught up in Max’s schemes, and they both fall for the same teacher in this film that’s both heartwarming and adorable.
The Devil Wears Prada
Escape to the world of high style glam in this rom-com that celebrates the artistry of fashion while proving you don’t need to be a slavish workaholic to find happiness. Meryl Streep plays a terrifying boss who kills with a stare. Anne Hathaway plays the assistant who tries to impress her. It’s a funny, fierce comedy that’ll put a bounce in your step.
Saving Mr. Banks
Try to keep a dry eye during this true-life story about Walt Disney and P. L. Travers, the author of the popular Mary Poppins book series. Tom Hanks plays Disney who’s promised his daughters he would make a movie based on the books. Emma Thompson plays the author who is entirely resistant to letting Disney adapt her work and turn it into a musical with cartoons. This beautiful drama takes you into Disneyland during the 1960s, and back to Travers’s difficult childhood in Australia that inspired her novels. You’ll find yourself enraptured by this moving film that’s ultimately about acceptance, friendship, and seeing the world through another’s perspective.
The Secret World of Arrietty
This is one of the most beloved entries in Hayao Miyazaki’s catalog of wondrous animated films. This one adapts The Borrowers, a story of tiny people who live in the floorboards of a large house and scavenge for supplies while the humans sleep. When a boy with an ailing heart moves in he discovers the smaller world of the teenager, Arrietty. The two form a friendship filled with adventure in this uplifting film about hope and affirmation.
If you’re missing sports and watching game reruns on ESPN, then check out the dramatic and heartwarming true story of Vince Papale, a bartender who gets a rare shot to try out for the Philadelphia Eagles football team. Mark Wahlberg plays Vince, with Greg Kinnear as the coach who gives him a chance against all odds. This story will have everyone rooting for the rookie whether you’re a sports fan or not. The whole family will devour these football snacks while they watch.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse
This coming-of-age animated story is filled with humor and heart. Family members of every age love the stunning visuals that merge pop and hip-hop sensibilities with vibrant animation. The inspiring story follows the young and endearing Miles Morales on his journey to becoming a hero. If you love this one, check out the awesome visual splendor of graphic novels.
This true story follows a high school cross-country team in McFarland, California, that defies the odds to get to the state championship. Kevin Costner plays a recently fired football coach who moves his family to a small town to start over. He inspires the students in the Latino community to join his team in this heartwarming movie about community, connection, and perseverance with race sequences that are truly inspiring.
We Bought A Zoo
If you’re an animal lover who dreams of running a zoo—that’s right next to your own house—then this is the movie for you! Matt Damon plays a single dad who buys a zoo in need of major TLC in hopes it’ll help his kids heal from a devastating loss. Scarlett Johansson is on board as a zookeeper who offers hope to the whole gang in this tearjerker that’ll make your heart swell with joy. Speaking of zoos, check out these creative uses for animal crackers.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Get swept away by Hollywood razzle-dazzle with this classic musical that proves why Marilyn Monroe is still such an icon. Here she stars with Jane Russell, as the two play a pair of showgirls who find themselves on a transatlantic cruise with the Olympic men’s teams. Monroe’s a superb singer and equally talented comedic actress in this sweet story filled with lavish, glitzy numbers like “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Ain’t There Anyone Here for Love.”
Fantastic Mr. Fox
This quirky, delightful film transports you to the perilous, but ever-fun adventures of a family of foxes who aim to outwit human farmers. The film features wondrous animation created with elaborate stop-motion figures and intricate set-pieces. The voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Jason Schwartzman capture the humanity of the animals in this clever, feel-good story that’s adapted from Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel of the same name.
Pride and Prejudice
Even if you’re devoted to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, you’ll still find yourself adoring Matthew Macfadyen as the dashing, aloof gentlemen who falls for the strong-willed heroine in spite of his own better judgment. Keira Knightley plays the outspoken Miss Elizabeth Bennett. Watch and learn as pride first compels her to give the arrogant Darcy the brush-off, but then softens for a second chance sunrise declaration. This is the perfect film for some literary escapism to the splendid world of Jane Austen. Feeling nostalgic? These recipes were inspired by classic novels.
School of Rock
If you’re looking for some feel-good rebellion, School of Rock is the perfect movie for breaking free from conformity and following your dream. Jack Black smirks and wisecracks his way through this comedy about elementary kids who form a rock band under the nose of their watchful principal, Joan Cusack. Grown-ups love this one as much as the kids will. Get ready to rock.
The Sound of Music
From the opening crescendos when the hills come alive to the final escape over the Alps, The Sound of Music lifts your spirits every time you see it. It was one of the first blockbusters, inspiring audiences to return to theaters to see it again and again. Julie Andrews shines as the nun-turned-nanny, Maria. Her charisma glows as she naturally gets you singing Do-Re-Mi and looking toward the bright side, with a drop of golden sun. If you want to eat like a star, check out Julie Andrews’ favorite foods.
Love Jones is the perfect movie for hopeless romantics who get seduced by poetry readings and jazz clubs. Take a trip to the late 1990s bohemia and watch Larenz Tate and Nia Long woo one another as hipsters who fall in love, but can’t quite get the timing right. Get ready for love poems and romantic declarations in the rain. This is a movie that makes you believe in love.
If you’re hungering for the touch of some clay on that iconic pottery wheel, then settle back into this classic love story with a message of hope. Ghost made the 1960s hit “Unchained Melody” soar back to the spotlight when the film was released in 1990. Now, it’s a song forever associated with the lovey-dove-iest movie scene of all-time. Demi Moore plays a grieving artist whose lost fiancé (Patrick Swayze) won’t move on until he’s sure she’s safe. He enlists the help of a psychic played by Whoopi Goldberg—she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the memorably comedic role.