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15 uplifting movies on Netflix for a feel-good escape

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You don’t need any excuse or reason to watch something uplifting on Netflix, so we’re not going to pretend you do. Yes, feel-good movies are always there for us when spirits are low, but even when you’re happy you deserve to ride that wave! Turn your frown upside down or fix that grin on firmly with these films.

Here are 15 uplifting Netflix movies you can stream right now. 

1. Dumplin’

Danielle Macdonald as Willowdean and Jennifer Aniston as Rosie  in 'Dumplin,' in which a former beauty queen's daughter enters a pageant as a protest.

Danielle Macdonald as Willowdean and Jennifer Aniston as Rosie  in ‘Dumplin,’ in which a former beauty queen’s daughter enters a pageant as a protest.

Image: Bob Mahoney/Netflix/Kobal/Shutterstock

Dumplin’ is the definition of sweet. While this coming-of-age story has a small-town Texas girl (Danielle Macdonald) entering the local pageant to spite her beauty queen mother, she learns a few important lessons about self-worth along the way.

The movie is full of character and has a few key elements that make almost anything better including Jennifer Aniston, glitzy costumes, and Dolly Parton songs. Its heart and warmth make it worthy of a crown. –Brooke Bajgrowicz, Entertainment Fellow

Where to watch: Dumplin’ is now streaming on Netflix.

2. Jingle Jangle

Madalen Mills as Journey Jangle in

Madalen Mills as Journey Jangle in “Jingle Jangle” on Netflix.

Shut up and embrace the magic of Christmas with , a delightful original musical about family, toys, and inheritable mechanical ingenuity. 

Forrest Whittaker stars as Jeronicus Jangle, a formerly genius toymaker who thinks he’s lost everything. But his daughter Jessica (literal Disney princess Anika Noni Rose) and granddaughter Journey (newcomer Madalen Mills) come back into his life to reignite the spark that makes their family special. Ricky Martin, Phylicia Rashad, and Keegan Michael Key also star in unforgettable roles that play together to make Jingle Jangle an instant holiday classic. –Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter*

Where to watch: Jingle Jangle is now streaming on .

3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

This 2016 adventure about bad egg Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) and his curmudgeonly foster father Hec (Sam Neill) is the kind of eccentric delight that writer/director Taika Waititi specializes in (this time co-writing with Barry Crump, who wrote the original book). 

After losing his foster mother, Ricky flees into the forests of New Zealand, pursued by Hec only to learn that the older man also feels no need to return to civilization. Together they become the wilderpeople; living off the land and evading capture from authorities, including Thor: Ragnarok‘s Rachel House. 

Wilderpeople is equal parts stirring, hilarious, and absurd — story of found family and adventure that can be loved by all. -Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter

Where to watch: is now streaming on Netflix

4. The Forty-Year-Old Version

THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION: RADHA BLANK (WRITER, DIRECTOR) as RADHA. Cr. JEONG PARK/NETFLIX ©2020

THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION: RADHA BLANK (WRITER, DIRECTOR) as RADHA. Cr. JEONG PARK/NETFLIX ©2020

Image: Jeong Park / NETFLIX

Get to know the hugely relatable voice of Radha Blank in the first-time writer-director’s semi-autobiographical comedy, in which she also stars and raps like freakin’ badass. 

A story about a middle-aged playwright facing an artistic crisis, Forty-Year-Old Version tackles its daunting themes of ambition, identity, racism, and aging with the irreverent tenacity demanded of its bold auteur. You’ll laugh as Blank tosses away searingly clever lines with ease, and be deeply moved by her more private moments of self-reflection. -Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter

Where to watch: The Forty-Year-Old Version is now streaming on Netflix.       

5. Kiss the Ground

Netflix's "Kiss the Ground" offers rare hope for the environment's future.

Netflix’s “Kiss the Ground” offers rare hope for the environment’s future.

It’s hard to imagine a documentary about the general health of our planet being uplifting. But despite human-led climate change, damaging factory-scale farming practices, and the deterioration of our food-bearing soils, Kiss the Ground shows that we haven’t crossed a point of no return

Smaller scale farming, regenerative agriculture, and the restoration of nutrient- and microbe-deficient soil is not only a possible path forward to rehabilitating the planet, it’s a path that many people are already taking. Featuring farmers, experts, eco-minded celebrities, and activists, Kiss the Ground lays out both the issues that are heavily affecting the ground beneath us and the myriad of ways that people can buck these trends to make the soil richer, the plants healthier, and the planet better off as a whole.  -Kellen Beck, Science Reporter

Where to watch: Kiss the Ground is now streaming on Netflix.

6. Over the Moon

Chin, Fei Fei, Chang'e, Jade Rabbit, and Lunettes in Netflix's "Over the Moon."

Chin, Fei Fei, Chang’e, Jade Rabbit, and Lunettes in Netflix’s “Over the Moon.”

You’ll basically get the same experience watching Over the Moon as you do when you watch a colorful bath bomb fizz: It’s comforting and pretty to look at.

This Netflix animation has a Chinese girl named Fei Fei taking a journey through the stars to meet the moon goddess Chang’e after her mother’s death. In addition to featuring fanciful visuals, Over the Moon delivers a sweet and touching message about moving on. It’s hard not to feel a little lighter by the time the credits roll. –B.B.

Where to watch: Over the Moon is now streaming on Netflix.

7. Good Burger

Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson in the beloved '90s comedy "Good Burger."

Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson in the beloved ’90s comedy “Good Burger.”

Image: Paramount / Kobal / Shutterstock

What could be more feel-good than a movie about two teenagers who set out to save the fast food restaurant they work for when a bigger, more popular competitor arrives on the scene? How about one starring Saturday Night Live legend Kenan Thompson, and featuring Abe Vigoda? 

It’s also a hilariously sweet story based on a sketch from Nickelodeon’s All That. Almost 25 years after its release, Good Burger is still an absolute delight. –Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter/Weekend Editor

Where to watch: Good Burger is now streaming on Netflix.

8. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

It’s no secret that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is one of Mashable’s favorite movies, and while “uplifting” is a term sometimes reserved for feel-good movies, Scott Pilgrim uplifts by simply kicking ass. 

The relatable romantic themes of falling hard for The One and having to fight seven evil exes to win the right to date her are resonant for many young people all around the world, so watching one little putz take on the world and win should bring a smile to anyone’s punchable little face. –A.N.

Where to watch: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is now streaming on Netflix

A queen rises.

A queen rises.

It’s not often that we get to look behind the curtain when it comes to Beyoncé, and though Homecoming is tempered, it deeply satisfies that craving. 

The film follows the legendary singer as she performs at Coachella 2018, but the surprise gig also happens to be her biggest since giving birth to twins Rumi and Sir. Over the course of two hours, you watch her ascend the stage like a phoenix rising, relishing the show’s standout moments and audience energy at historically Black colleges across the country. In between, she opens up about the creative process, and we watch her vision come to life. It’s the closest some of us will ever get to a Beyoncé concert, and we truly feel at home. –P.K.

Where to watch: Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé is now streaming on Netflix

10. Hook

Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook and Robin Williams as Peter pan in 1992's "Hook."

Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook and Robin Williams as Peter pan in 1992’s “Hook.”

Image: Jorgensen / Shutterstock

Hook! Hook! Follow the Hook! 

No two ways about it, this movie whips. You got Robin Williams as a grown-up Peter Pan who’s forgotten his past in Never Land, Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell, Dustin Hoffman as a flamboyant Captain Hook, and the inimitable Dante Basco as Rufio, the Lost Boy of everyone’s dreams. Hook is a sweet reflection on family, childhood, and responsibility told through the lens of the boy who’d never grow up, and it should be on rotation any time you need to feel better about anything. –A.N.

Where to watch: Hook is now streaming on Netflix

Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore in the star-studded comedy

Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore in the star-studded comedy “Dolemite Is My Name.”

Image: François Duhamel / NETFLIX

Lightning struck for Netflix with My Name is Dolemite

On the one hand, it’s a meaty starring role for Eddie Murphy, whose comeback is long, looooooooong overdue. Then there’s the role and the story itself, a hilarious biographical account of one Rudy Ray Moore. Learn how the famed comedian, singer, and actor first made his name as a stand-up comic and then went on to define some of the most well-known Blaxploitation epics of the ‘70s, starting with Dolemite

Fun, funny, and stacked with a staggeringly talented cast, this is one of the best movies you can watch on Netflix or anywhere else. –A.R.

Where to watch: Dolemite is my Name is now streaming on Netflix.

12. The Intouchables

Based on the true story of a man and his caregiver’s unlikely friendship, The Intouchables is an imperfect film worth seeing at least once. 

Not to be confused with its markedly inferior English-language remake The Upside (yes, the one starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart), this 2011 French film has been praised for its sensitive onscreen representation of people with disabilities and exquisite leads François Cluzet and Omar Sy. Laugh-out-loud funny, this buddy comedy asks audiences to reimagine how they see others, and why. Although occasionally clumsy in its messaging, The Intouchables delivered some of the most enduringly impactful moments of the 2010s. -A.F.

Where to watch: The Intouchables is now streaming on Netflix.

13. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as Lars and Sigrit, who must defy all odds to win the Eurovision Song Contest.

Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as Lars and Sigrit, who must defy all odds to win the Eurovision Song Contest.

Image: John Wilson/NETFLIX

What isn’t feel-good about a movie where a struggling music duo is randomly selected to participate in the biggest music competition in all of Europe?

Eurovision Song Contest is mad fun. There are glitzy sets, catchy songs, and memorably over-the-top performances by Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. Did we mention Dan Stevens stars in a couple of fine on-stage musical numbers as a campy Russian Eurovision idol? Come for the comedy, come back because you can’t get Jaja Ding Dong out of your head. –B.B.

Where to watch: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is now streaming Netflix.

14. Miracle

An ice hockey team's journey to victory is the emotional core of "Miracle," based on a true story.

An ice hockey team’s journey to victory is the emotional core of “Miracle,” based on a true story.

Image: Disney / Kobal / Shutterstock

Revisit one of the most dazzling moments in Olympic history with director Gavin O’Connor’s 2004 film Miracle, a dramatic take on the iconically inspiring United States men’s ice hockey game against the Soviet Union in 1980, which won the team the gold medal.

Anchored in a phenomenal performance from Kurt Russell, who plays head coach Herb Brooks (who died just one year before the film’s release), this is one sports movie that pulls off even its most predictable beats with likable confidence and infectious nostalgia. Yes, you’ve seen all those training and motivating montages before — but Miracle makes them feel timeless once again. –A.F.

Where to watch: Miracle is now streaming on Netflix.

15. Little Monsters

This delightfully wholesome forgotten gem starring Fred Savage and Howie Mandel is like a live-action spin on Monsters, Inc. that released years before Pixar became a household name. Fred plays Brian Stevenson, an 11-year-old boy who’s feeling lonesome as the new kid in town. All of that changes, however, when he meets and traps his own, personal monster under the bed — that’s Howie. The two set off together on an adventure that introduces Brian to the fantastical world beneath every kid’s bed… and the dark secrets that hide there. –A.R.

Where to watch: Little Monsters is now streaming on Netflix.

*This blurb has appeared on a previous list.

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