My Posts

Our List of Best Feel-Good Movies for a Joyful Time

By Albulena Murturi


5 December 2023

best feel-good movies

©️ Freepik

It’s that time of the year when all you crave is cozying up with movies and sipping on hot chocolate under a warm blanket. But sometimes it’s very hard to decide which movie we want to watch next. That’s why we made a diverse list of the best feel-good movies just for you. Enjoy!

1. Aladdin (1992)

Certainly! “Aladdin” (1992), directed and written by the talented duo Ron Clements and John Musker, remains a timeless Disney classic that captivates audiences with its enchanting tale of sand, sorcery, and a street-smart hero’s journey to fame. The film boasts an impressive ensemble cast, including Scott Weinger, Linda Larkin, Robin Williams, Jonathan Freeman, Frank Welker, Gilbert Gottfried, Douglas Seale, Charles Adler, Corey Burton, and Jim Cummings.

best feel-good movies
©️ Walt Disney Pictures

This cinematic gem effortlessly embodies the outstanding Disney magic, featuring a lovable underdog protagonist who falls in love with a captivating princess. Surprisingly, against all odds, the protagonist’s journey is marked by the triumph of love, friendship, and self-discovery.

Apart from that, what makes this masterpiece really great is the music. Every Disney song is a magic carpet ride, but no music gives you hope for a whole new world like “Aladdin.” That song is just pure joy! The whole film is a symphony of emotions, weaving together unforgettable melodies with enchanting visuals.

2. Clueless (1995)

Released in 1995, “Clueless” is an American teen comedy film that falls within the coming-of-age genre. The film was both written and directed by Amy Heckerling and features Alicia Silverstone in the lead role. Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, and Paul Rudd (marking his film debut) also contribute in supporting roles.

Silverstone plays Cher, who epitomizes the essence of the ’90s It Girl from an external perspective—she possesses beauty, wealth, and a keen fashion sense. Moreover, the movie, modern and relevant to this day, is actually based on the classical Jane Austen novel, called “Emma.”

best feel-good movies
©️ Paramount Pictures

Navigating the intricate social tapestry of her privileged world, Cher experiences moments of introspection leading to a spiritual awakening. Her story reminds us that the quest for depth and authenticity is an integral part of the human experience, transcending the superficialities of a glamorous exterior.

3. Zootopia

Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, with a screenplay penned by Jared Bush and Phil Johnston, Zootopia stands out as an unexpectedly socially conscious animated feature from Disney in 2016. The film delves into the profound themes of prejudice and inherent bias.

It unfolds the narrative of a young bunny aspiring to become a top police officer in a world inhabited by diverse animal species. Despite the integrated coexistence of predators and prey in Zootopia, the film boldly addresses lingering historical prejudices. In addition, it spotlights the culpability often found in those who consider themselves innocent and justified.

best feel-good movies
©️ Walt Disney Pictures

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Chris Columbus directed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, with Steve Kloves as the writer. The cast includes Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Richard Harris, and Maggie Smith.

best feel-good movies
©️ Warner Bros. Pictures

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” earns its feel-good reputation by seamlessly introducing audiences to the magical world of Hogwarts, offering a sense of wonder and escapism. The underdog story of Harry Potter’s transformation from an abused orphan to a wizard discovering his true identity resonates with viewers, fostering a hopeful and empowering atmosphere. The clear emphasis on friendship, the triumph of good over evil, and positive life lessons contribute to its uplifting nature. With a blend of humor, quirky characters, and nostalgic elements, the movie creates a delightful and heartwarming experience that appeals to both longtime fans and those discovering the enchanting world of Harry Potter.

5. Elf 

Directed by Jon Favreau and written by David Barenbaum. The cast features Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart, Peter Dinklage, Daniel Tay, and Edward Asner.

best feel-good movies
©️ Warner Bros. Pictures

Elf defies the typical shelf life of Christmas movies, as audiences could happily watch Will Ferrell’s escapades in an elf costume any time of the year. Buddy, wrapped in a giant green and yellow elf suit, embodies the essence of pure Christmas spirit. It overflows with generosity, boundless joy, goodwill, and an affinity for sugar. Undaunted by the fact that he is not a real elf, Buddy pursues his dream of becoming Santa’s greatest helper. This way, the movie celebrates the notion that one’s origins and identity matter less than their beliefs and actions. Your typical feel-good movie for the season.

6. Bring it On (2000)

Peyton Reed directed Bring It On, with Jessica Bendinger being the writer. The cast features Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jesse Bradford, Gabrielle Union, Lindsay Sloane, and Ian Roberts.

best feel-good movies
©️ Icon Film Distribution / YouTube

“Bring It On” is a feel-good movie known for its energetic and upbeat atmosphere, characterized by vibrant cheerleading routines, witty dialogue, and a lively soundtrack. The film’s underdog story, humor, and positive themes of friendship and teamwork contribute to its appeal. The youthful energy and relatable high school setting, coupled with a resolution that sees the characters overcoming challenges and achieving their goals, create a satisfying and uplifting experience for viewers. However, the film goes beyond these elements, showcasing a spirited critique. It touches on themes like gender-based bullying and white privilege, which can define the future of young people.

7. Mamma Mia! (2008)

Phyllida Lloyd directed and Catherine Johnson wrote Mamma Mia! (promoted as Mamma Mia! The Movie), a 2008 jukebox musical romantic comedy film. Based on Johnson’s 1999 musical, the film uses the iconic songs of ABBA. The ensemble cast includes Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Dominic Cooper, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried, Stellan Skarsgård, Meryl Streep, and Julie Walters.

best feel-good movies
©️ Playtone & Littlestar Productions

The plot revolves around a young bride-to-be who invites three men to her impending wedding, entertaining the possibility that any of them might be her father. With its picturesque Greek isle setting, the movie, known for its iconic musical numbers, destination wedding theme, and the charm of its cast, has the power to transport viewers to Cloud-9, offering a perfect remedy for a bad day.

8. A Cinderella Story (2004)

Mark Rosman directed A Cinderella Story, a 2004 American teen romantic comedy film written by Leigh Dunlap. The cast includes Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray, Jennifer Coolidge, and Regina King.

best feel-good movies
©️ Warner Bros. Pictures

The story centers around Sam, a high-school student who works at her late father’s diners under the watch of her wicked stepmother. Despite her challenging circumstances, Sam dreams of attending college in Princeton, far away from her current life. Unbeknownst to each other, Sam, known as “Princetongirl,” and Austin, a popular boy at her school known as “Nomad,” connect in an anonymous online chat room. They make plans to meet at the school dance. The way the good triumphs in the end, makes this the ultimate feel-good movie for the end of the year.

9. The Parent Trap (1998)

Nancy Meyers directed and co-wrote The Parent Trap, a 1998 American romantic comedy film, marking her feature directorial debut. Charles Shyer produced and co-wrote the film. The movie is a remake of the 1961 film of the same name and an adaptation of Erich Kästner’s 1949 German novel Lisa and Lottie (Das doppelte Lottchen).

best feel-good movies
©️ Walt Disney Pictures

“The Parent Trap” is considered a feel-good movie for several reasons. The film’s central theme revolves around the heartwarming reunion of long-lost twin sisters who, initially unbeknownst to each other, conspire to bring their estranged parents back together. The plot is filled with humor, adventure, and clever schemes, creating an engaging and light-hearted atmosphere. Lindsay Lohan’s dual performance as both twins adds an extra layer of charm to the movie. In general, the narrative’s emphasis on family, love, and reconciliation, along with a satisfying resolution, makes “The Parent Trap” a delightful and feel-good cinematic experience for audiences of all ages.

10. 13 Going on 30 (2004)

best feel-good movies
©️ Columbia Pictures & Revolution Studios

Gary Winick directed 13 Going on 30, a 2004 American fantasy romantic comedy film. Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith wrote the screenplay, and Susan Arnold and Donna Arkoff Roth produced the movie. Starring Jennifer Garner, the film follows the story of Jenna, a frustrated adolescent who, on her 13th birthday, makes a wish to be “Thirty, flirty, and thriving.” Upon the manifestation of her angst-fueled desire, Jenna finds herself abruptly inhabiting the form of her thirty-year-old self. However, the stark reality she faces reveals that the allure of the other side may not be as appealing as anticipated.

In some countries, the film was released as Suddenly 30.

11. Ratatouille (2007)

best feel-good movies
©️ Pixar Animation Studios

In 2007, Pixar Animation Studios produced “Ratatouille,” an animated comedy-drama film for Walt Disney Pictures. It was written and directed by Brad Bird. The cast features voices like Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm, Janeane Garofalo, Peter O’Toole, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn, and Brad Garrett. The film’s title refers to the French dish ratatouille, served at the film’s conclusion, and alludes to the main character, a rat.

The plot unfolds in Paris, revolving around Remy, a young rat voiced by Oswalt. He aspires to be a chef at Auguste Gusteau’s restaurant. Remy pursues his dream by forming an unlikely alliance with Alfredo Linguini, the restaurant’s garbage boy, voiced by Romano.

12. The Princess Diaries (2001)

best feel-good movies
©️ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures produced and Garry Marshall directed “The Princess Diaries,” a 2001 American coming-of-age comedy film. It is loosely adapted from Meg Cabot’s 2000 young adult novel. It features Anne Hathaway in her feature film debut, alongside Julie Andrews, Héctor Elizondo, Heather Matarazzo, Mandy Moore, Caroline Goodall, and Robert Schwartzman.

The storyline revolves around Mia Thermopolis (Hathaway), a reserved American teenager who discovers she is the heir to the throne of a European kingdom. As Mia grapples with the revelation, her ordinary teenage life transforms into a whirlwind of royal makeovers and the scrutiny of her newfound heritage. This challenges her to reconcile with the potential realities and sacrifices of her royal destiny.

I hope we made it easy for you! Also, we would love to know your favorite feel-good movie. Feel free to add it to the list.

You might also want to read: These Are the Most-Watched Movies Of the 2000s

Albulena Murturi

An enthusiastic learner rediscovering the joy of writing.