Sometimes, people feel sad. Emotions can get the better of us and we can spend days feeling like a damp sock, without much promise of ever cheering up again. However, the remedy may be as simple as the right feel good movie – just taking that little bit of time out for yourself to gather your thoughts and regain your strength.
Here are the top 15 happy movies to cheer you up, and stop that emotional roller-coaster dead in its tracks. For the five saddest films that we think are the ultimate in making us shed a tear or two, check out our Top 5 Tearjerkers.
The Terminal (2004)
It’s not often that a movie about an immigrant stranded in JFK airport makes a list of feel-good movies. However, it’s also uncommon that said immigrant is played by Tom Hanks with a life directed by Spielberg himself.
The Terminal takes pride in its simplicity, in its ability to take a mundane tale, but bring it to life almost faultlessly. It’s funny, it’s romantic and it’s heartfelt, with Hanks bringing charm and sweetness to the misunderstood character of Victor. It doesn’t try to contribute anything new to movies, it doesn’t have to. But sometimes, you’ll just want to watch a true feel-good movie: that is The Terminal.
Clueless is a movie about over-the-top California girls leading over-the-top California lives. It’s colourful, it’s funny and it is a movie that has cheered me up on multiple occasions. Be it the sheer ridiculousness of their outfits, or the well-meaning stupidity of Cher, or just the friendships in general, this movie is happiness on tape.
Based on Emma by Jane Austen, Clueless follows rich girl Cher Horowitz and her friends, as she embarks on a search for her Luke Perry in a world of stoners and Monets. It’s silly, but it works, drawing on classic 90’s culture to bring the story to life. Even though it may not be the best of movies, there’s one thing you need to ask yourself: will you be sad after watching it? As if!
Troop Beverly Hills (1989)
One of the more obscure movies on this list, Troop Beverly Hills stars Shelley Long as a rich divorcee who takes over the running of the Beverly Hills girl scout troop. This movie is a hidden gem: it’s funny, it shows the endless possibilities that come from women empowering women, and it has a musical number.
It isn’t often that a movie that is generally regarded as terrible has any place in a top 15. However, there are some scenes that make up for the few that miss the mark. As a child, this was the only movie that could brighten my day, and there is a reason for it. Much like the characters within it, this movie is unapologetically itself.
The Blind Side (2009)
As far as biopics go, The Blind Side is not one of the best. However, the story that it is based on is possibly one of the most uplifting and touching tales ever to regale the silver screen. The plot follows Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who becomes an All American football player after being taken in by the family of Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock).
Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her portrayal of one of the kindest women on earth: if that doesn’t make you want to watch this movie, I don’t know what will. This is a film that will make you cry sad and happy tears, sometimes simultaneously, without a care in the world. If you need to let everything out, this is the movie for you.
Nothing quite describes the 60s like The Beatles. Contrary to popular opinion, Help! is up there with one of the best things The Beatles ever did. The plot follows Ringo, who gets a ring stuck on his finger, and then becomes the human sacrifice target of a cult.
The band spends 90% of the movie pratting about, with the other 10% being used to protect Ringo from actually being killed. It is weird, random and genuinely really funny, and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It’s definitely one of the best movies that The Beatles ever starred in, and is worth a watch just for some of the most quotable one-liners in movie history.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
There isn’t a film quite like Dodgeball. In no other movie will you find Vince Vaughn playing a dodgeball game whilst wearing a leather choker. In no other movie will you see a man in a wheelchair be killed by a falling slot machine. And in no other movie, will you find quite so much laughter. This movie follows Average Joe’s Gym as they compete against evil conglomerate Globo Gym in a dodgeball competition to prevent being bought out. This movie is hilarious.
If you need to laugh away your sadness, this is the movie for you: it doesn’t go more than 30 seconds without a joke, each one landing in its own unique way. Furthermore, this movie is inspiring. If you need a little pick me up, just remember these immortal words: if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
This is one of the most famous cult movies of all time. If you are ill and stuck in bed, feeling nothing but sorry for yourself, this is the movie to watch. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off follows Ferris (Matthew Broderick) and his two friends as they embark on the best sick day ever.
It has unnecessary musical numbers, choreographed chase scenes and possibly the best car crash in 80s feel-good film history. John Hughes knocks it out of the park with his funny, yet genuinely thought-provoking and charmingly cheeky take on the high school experience (well, lack thereof).
A foreign language film isn’t always the first port of call to cheer up a lot of people. With a reputation for being serious and pretentious, it is fair to assume that a lot of people would avoid this genre altogether. However, Amelie should be an exception to this rule. Set in Paris, Amelie follows (surprisingly) Amelie as she commits acts of kindness and finds love in the process.
Being the first foreign language film to be nominated for Best Picture at The Oscars, it is obvious that Amelie is deserving of your attention. This film is an unapologetic, beautiful and unique love story that really captures what love in Paris should feel like. The cinematography is gorgeous, with rich hues of red and green bringing a cartoonish essence to an otherwise average love story. With plenty of butterflies moments and some genuinely breathtaking shots, Amelie is worth the watch whether you’re sad or not.
Legally Blonde (2001)
What would a feel-good movies list be without the quintessential female empowerment movie of the 21st century? Pointless, that’s what. Legally Blonde is the perfect example of a good film with strong female leads and a plot that is entertaining throughout. The story follows Elle Woods, a typical blonde who applies to study Law at Harvard after her boyfriend leaves her.
One thing leads to another, and by the end of the movie she is the best law student in her year, as well as the most stylish. Legally Blonde shows that anyone can do anything if they work hard enough. It is funny, sweet and the best motivation money can buy. If you are down in the dumps and lacking a work ethic, this is the movie for you.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Shakespeare isn’t, typically, what most would associate with uplifting. However, when brought forward a couple of hundred years and set in an American high school, it starts to make sense. With an all-star cast, 10 Things I Hate About You follows a group of teenagers as they figure out how to fall in love and stay that way.
With young Heath Ledger and one of the most romantic moments in a film of all time, 10 Things I Hate About You really knows how to induce the warmest of fuzzy feelings in everyone who watches it. Also, it manages to do it without being overly saccharine, throwing in a few oddball jokes along the way. If you’re looking for a rom-com, but don’t particularly like them, this is the movie for you.
The Help (2011)
As far as biopics go, this is one of the best. Set in the 1960s, The Help follows a white author as she attempts to document the experiences of African-American maids. As serious a topic as this film has, the personality-filled characters take you on an emotional rollercoaster that will have you crying, laughing and yelling for the entire 146-minute running time.
It is bold and heartbreaking and uplifting, which is hard for such a heavy plot. Every scene has a reason and every character is flawless, which makes this movie a perfect escape. Not only does it take your mind off of whatever is bothering you, but it also teaches you a plethora of life lessons along with that. This is a movie that will never get old, and will forever be one of the best ways to take your mind off of the stress of everyday life.
View From The Top (2003)
This movie is one of the worst regarded movies on this list. Yet, it is one of the only movies I can rely on to get me out of a rut. View From The Top follows a small town girl on her journey to become a world-class flight attendant.
Granted, the plot doesn’t sound like anything special, but the movie is so carefree and unashamed of its mediocrity that it genuinely becomes inspiring. It is so lighthearted that it could relieve even the heaviest of hearts. Yes, it really isn’t a good film. However, a good film isn’t always what you need: for those days, View From The Top is what to watch.
School of Rock (2003)
A modern classic. School of Rock follows Jack Black as he prepares his substitute class at a private school to compete in a battle of the bands. Somehow, this movie can cure even the most sullen of moods with the power of rock and roll.
Like the other films on this list, School of Rock has its fair share of laughs, as well as its fair share of musical numbers: all the best movies have a musical number. With a soundtrack that will improve your mood immediately and the genius that is Jack Black, this movie is a win from all angles.
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
The second movie on this list to include Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, Catch Me If You Can is another biopic that takes your mind off whatever is happening in real life. It follows Frank Abagnale Jr., a conman who forged millions of dollars worth of checks, as well as becoming a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer.
With a plot that is so far fetched you can hardly believe it is true, this movie is brilliant at taking your mind off of things. John Williams’ score will be stuck in your head for days, and the movie is genuinely one of Spielberg’s best. It is snappy, it is brilliantly made and it has Leonardo di Caprio in it – what more could you want?
Which feel good movies cheer you up every time you watch them? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the box below, we reply to each and every one.