25 Feel-Good Movies on Netflix Canada That Will Lift Your Spirits
Whether you’re looking to cure a case of the blues or need something to keep you going through self-quarantine, these uplifting and inspirational flicks will surely do the trick.
Alex Strangelove (2018)
While on a mission to lose his virginity, high school senior Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny) begins to fall in love with Elliott, an openly gay acquaintance. Sounds fine and dandy, but how will his girlfriend Claire react to his newly-discovered sexuality? Alex Strangelove captures the courageous act of coming-out with humour and heart.
Always Be My Maybe (2019)
Everyone assumed childhood friends Sasha Tran (Ali Wong) and Marcus Kim (Randall Park) would wind up together—except for Sasha and Marcus, that is. Fifteen years after graduating high school, she’s a celebrity chef and he’s an unsuccessful musician. Will the two reconnect and find their happily-ever-after? Always Be My Maybe is everything a rom-com should be—and it’s all the more special because it depicts Asian-American characters who aren’t often seen in mainstream movies.
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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)
In order to save his Malawian village from a drought, 13-year-old science wiz William Kamkwamba (Maxwell Simba) plans to build a wind turbine to power an electric water pump. But first, he’ll need the support of his skeptical family. Based on a true story, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is one of the best feel-good movies on Netflix Canada.
Loosely based on Jane Austen’s classic Emma, Clueless follows Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), a spoiled and stylish teenager who plays the role of matchmaker for her friends and teachers. As Cher’s meddling spirals out of control, she finds true love in the form of Paul Rudd, who plays her ex-stepbrother. As if! Always clever and surprisingly heartfelt, Clueless is one of the touchstone comedies of the ’90s.
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The Disaster Artist (2017)
In 2003, the mysterious Tommy Wiseau directed, produced, wrote and starred in The Room. With its convoluted plot and healthy supply of WTF-moments (Wiseau’s performance chief among them), it gained notoriety among film critics and audiences worldwide as one of the “worst movies ever made.” The Disaster Artist chronicles The Room’s rocky production—and the unlikely bond between Wiseau (James Franco) and co-star Greg Sestero (Dave Franco). Fortunately, The Disaster Artist has no mean streak whatsoever—instead, you’ll find a quirky comedy about friendship, impossible dreams and the magic of movies.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Few movies encapsulate the feeling of total freedom quite like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. From unforgettable set pieces (that dance-your-heart-out musical number) to classic quotes (“How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this…”), there’s no finer tribute to the healing power of a good time. Better yet, Ferris Bueller doubles as a Chicago bucket list guide, which makes it the next best thing to an actual tour of the Windy City.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Eminently quotable and full of nostalgia, Forrest Gump tells the story of a naïve man (Tom Hanks) who becomes an unwitting participant in the 20th century’s most defining moments. Despite all of the history he’s witnessed, however, Forrest only needs the love of his beloved Jenny (Robin Wright). In a world of gloomy headlines and general uncertainty, we could all use a friend as optimistic and kind-hearted as Forrest Gump.
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Good Will Hunting (1997)
When janitor Will Hunting (Matt Damon) isn’t wreaking havoc with his aimless buddies (Ben and Casey Affleck), he’s solving the world’s most difficult math problems. Leave it to his new therapist, played by Robin Williams, to set the boy genius on the right track. Good Will Hunting may have its share of heartbreaking moments, but the ending is a winner.
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Over the summer of 1958, good Australian girl Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) and tough American greaser Danny Zuko (John Travolta) fall in love. But when the duo discover they’re attending the same high school, they face a dilemma: can they renew their romance while also keeping up their hard-earned reputations? More than 40 years later, Grease is still the word.
Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015)
After the death of her mother, introverted and eccentric sixty-something Doris Miller (Sally Field) suddenly finds herself living alone for the first time in her life. Later at her data entry job, Doris meets John (Max Greenfield), an attractive young colleague with whom she is immediately infatuated. Anchored by Field’s winning performance, Hello, My Name Is Doris is a quirky and hilarious character study.
Legally Blonde (2001)
From being sorority president to gracing her campus calendar as Miss June, Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has got it made. Her West Coast credentials, however, are no match for the East Coast Ivy League—that’s made abundantly clear to Elle when she chooses to study at Harvard Law School to impress her pretentious ex. Charming, funny and highly re-watchable, Legally Blonde is a statement of self-empowerment for the ages.
The Little Prince (2015)
Overwhelmed by her demanding mother, the Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) ignores her homework and instead spends her time with her elderly neighbour, the Aviator (Jeff Bridges). One day, he tells her the story of “the Little Prince,” whom he met years ago in the Sahara. A spiritual sequel to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s iconic novel, The Little Prince is a gentle reminder that a sense of wonder and imagination is something to be cherished.
In this quirky adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel, a brilliant little girl (Mara Wilson) discovers she has telekinetic powers, and uses her newfound gift to turn the tables on her abusive parents and tyrannical principal. Matilda is perfect feel-good viewing for adults and kids alike.
The Natural (1984)
If you want to know what it feels like to hit a walk-off homer to the roar of thousands of spectators, watch The Natural. This tribute to the beauty of baseball stars Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, a talented slugger who gets a second shot at making it in the big leagues. Randy Newman’s inspirational score helps knock this one out of the park.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Will Smith stars as Chris Gardner, a salesman who, along with his five-year-old son, is left homeless after a bad investment. About to hit rock-bottom, Chris lands a six-month unpaid internship at a brokerage firm, but can he prove himself? The Pursuit of Happyness is often a challenging watch, but this against-all-odds tale is nothing short of inspirational.
For most of his life, working class 22-year-old Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin) has dreamed of playing football at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana—unfortunately for Rudy, he doesn’t have the size or the grades to get accepted. But after the death of his best friend, Rudy decides once and for all to pursue his dreams. Based on a true story, Rudy continues to inspire new generations of fans more than 25 year after its release.
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School of Rock (2003)
After getting kicked out of his band, cash-strapped guitarist Dewey Finn (Jack Black) decides to impersonate a substitute teacher at a private elementary school. Once there, he learns that many of his pupils are also talented musicians. Dewey’s plan? Form a new rock band and enter a local competition called “Battle of the Bands,” which offers $10,000 in prize money. Buoyed by Black’s energetic performance and a killer soundtrack, School of Rock is a gut-busting paean to the healing power of music.
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Set It Up (2018)
To make their lives easier, two assistants in New York City (Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell) play matchmaker with their workaholic bosses (Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs). In true rom-com fashion, the scheming duo begin to fall for each other, too. Carried along by the great chemistry of its leads, Set It Up makes for thoroughly enjoyable viewing.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Released from a psychiatric institution after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, former teacher Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) moves back in with his parents. Soon he meets Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), a manic young widow who offers to help him win back his ex-wife if he agrees to enter a dance competition with her. Mental illness and dysfunction may not sound like your usual feel-good movie tropes, but Silver Linings Playbook is nevertheless an energetic, funny, big-hearted affair.
Someone Great (2019)
Music writer Jenny Young (Gina Rodriguez) scores her dream job at Rolling Stone and plans to move to San Francisco. Yes, everything’s coming up Jenny—until she’s unexpectedly dumped by her long-time boyfriend. To nurse her broken heart before she leaves New York City, Jenny rounds up best friends Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise) for one last girls’ night.
The Terminal (2004)
Upon arriving at JFK airport in New York City, Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) discovers that his native Krakozhia has been taken over in a coup and has closed all its borders. Unable to enter the United States or fly back to his home country, Viktor is forced to take up residence in an abandoned section of the airport. Like Viktor, The Terminal is always optimistic—and a poignant reminder about the kindness of strangers.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
Teenager Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) writes secret letters to every boy she’s ever fallen for and keeps them in a hatbox given to her by her late mother. When Lara Jean’s younger sister mails the letters behind her back, she’s forced to confront her imaginary love life head-on. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has become something of a cult classic, and it’s earned every bit of its acclaim.
The Truman Show (1998)
Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) has it all: a beautiful wife (Laura Linney), a loyal best friend (Noah Emmerich), and a relatively stress-free existence in the seaside town of Seahaven Island. There’s just one catch: he’s actually the star of a reality TV show broadcast 24/7 around the world, the town is a giant set, and everyone he knows is an actor. Can Truman make his escape? The Truman Show is as thought-provoking as it is uplifting.
Unicorn Store (2019)
Art school dropout Kit (Brie Larson) is pressured by her parents to finally start acting like an adult. Soon, however, she begins receiving invitations to a magical pop-up store owned by an eccentric salesman (Samuel L. Jackson), who tells her she’ll get her own unicorn if she completes a series of tasks. Unicorn Store is a whimsical tribute to childlike wonder.
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The Walk (2015)
The Walk tells the true story of French street performer Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his quest to live out his obsession: a high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. This thrilling biopic will have you believing in magic again.
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