15 Uplifting Movies You Can Watch on Netflix Right Now
Improve your mood with these uplifting flicks, currently streaming on Netflix.
It's hard to remember life before Netflix gave us so many movies and TV shows at our fingertips. But that doesn't mean that your home screen isn't overwhelming at times. With so many shows, films, and categories, figuring out what to watch can take forever. So, if you're in the mood for something that will lift your spirits these days, we're here to help. We've narrowed your choices down to 15 uplifting movies streaming on Netflix right now. Whether you're looking for something light to watch with your kids or you're more of a romance fan, there's something in this lineup that will give you the "happy" you're looking for. And for more great content to stream, check out 17 Underappreciated TV Comedies That Are Available to Stream Right Now.
Certainly one of the best sports movies ever made, Miracle fictionalizes the U.S. hockey team's triumph over the Soviet frontrunners at the 1980 Olympic Games. Kurt Russell leads the 2004 film as coach Herb Brooks, who brings the team together as one cohesive, patriotic unit. Even knowing how it ends, you'll be on the edge of your seat during the gameplay.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
With characters named Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke) and Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes), the plot of this 1968 madcap musical makes about as much sense as the title. That aside, when you're in the mood for some wholesome escapism with uplifting songs—written by legendary songwriters Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman (Mary Poppins)—Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will be there. And for more recommendations for all ages, check out 16 Classic Family Movies to Stream With Your Kids.
In this 1996 Cameron Crowe film, Tom Cruise plays the titular sports agent who has a crisis of conscience that leads to him losing his cushy agency job and all but one of his clients. But optimism and loyalty win out over cynicism and greed as Jerry invests in a talented football player (Cuba Gooding Jr.) who's all but lost his love of the game and falls in love with a young mother (Renee Zellweger) who believes in his noble but half-baked mission.
The Hundred-Foot Journey
When an Indian family relocates to France and opens a restaurant right across the street from an upscale traditional French eatery, a rivalry flares up. But the love of preparing and eating food builds a bridge between the two cultures and stokes a new romance in this 2014 film based on the Richard Morais novel of the same name. The Hundred Foot-Journey has the happy ending you're craving, plus tons of sumptuous shots of delectable-looking meals. And for more great movies based on books, check out 23 Amazing Books That Made Even Better Movies.
You know it, you've seen it, but have you ever been sorry that you put Groundhog Day on? This 1993 classic comedy stars Bill Murray as arrogant weatherman Phil Connors, who gets stuck in a time loop while covering the groundhog ceremony that forces him to take stock of his life. Eerily appropriate for quarantine, this hilarious flick will help you find the beauty in the little things. And for more films that'll bring the laughs, check out The 30 Funniest Movies of All Time and Where to Stream Them.
Before Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!, Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann made his debut in 1992 with this fantasy about an individualistic ballroom dancer (Paul Mercurio) who yearns to break out of the art form's staid rules and the mousy newbie (Tara Morice) who inspires him. Strictly Ballroom proudly owns that it's a fairy tale. And though you'll see the conclusion coming from a mile away, you'll still love getting there. And if you love a good romance, check out The 20 Best Romance Movies on Netflix.
About Time isn't the type of time travel fantasy you're used to seeing. This grounded story—about a man (Domhnall Gleeson) who inherits the ability to travel back in his own life from his father (Bill Nighy)—focuses on family, choices, and the parts of life you can't control… even with an extraordinary gift. While introspective and sometimes bittersweet, 2013's About Time will leave you with a new appreciation of the twists and turns in your own story.
The Sapphires is based on the true story of Australian Aboriginal women who formed a girl group in the '60s. The 2012 movie version adds an original character, a talent scout played by Chris O'Dowd, who discovers the singers. It follows the same beats as many other rise-to-fame stories, but The Sapphires stands out because of the charm of its cast and its appropriately catchy soundtrack. And if you love some good movie tunes, check out 17 Movie Soundtracks Every Kid from the '70s Loved.
Julie & Julia
Moving back and forth in time, 2009's Julie & Julia stars Meryl Streep as famed chef and cookbook author Julia Child and Amy Adams as real food blogger Julie Powell, who challenged herself to make all of the recipes in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a single year. Aside from the two core performances, the best part of this uplifting film is that it shows how the achievements of women have the ability to inspire other women (even those they'll never meet).
The Pursuit of Happyness
In 2006's The Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, a man who wrote the memoir about experiencing homelessness while raising his young son on which this movie is based. Though Chris has a job, he and his son (played by Smith's real-life son Jaden Smith, which only makes the film more affecting) sleep in train stations and shelters due to several financial woes. Through luck and perseverance, Chris manages to improve both of their lives. (Keep your eyes peeled for the real Gardner—now a motivational speaker and entrepreneur—in the final scene.)
Silver Linings Playbook
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper star as Tiffany, a young widow, and Pat, a bipolar man trying to get his estranged wife back, in this 2012 film by David O. Russell. While it's evident that both Tiffany and Pat see themselves as damaged goods, they find kinship in each other's struggles while they train for a local dance competition Tiffany is intent on winning. That, along with their chemistry, leads both of them to make a fresh start together.
The 2017 Best Picture winner at the Oscars features its fair share of heartbreak as it follows the life of one man from childhood to young adulthood. While Chiron (Trevante Rhodes in the final vignette) copes with having a mother with substance use issues, losing his surrogate father figure (Mahershala Ali), and accepting his sexuality, the film ends on a hopeful, romantic note that's sure to lift your spirits.
Before she directed Lady Bird and Little Women, Greta Gerwig was primarily known for her work as an actress. Frances Ha is one of several collaborations between her and her future partner Noah Baumbach (Gerwig co-wrote the script in addition to starring), and revolves around an aspiring dancer trying to establish herself in New York City. With compassion and sweetness, 2012's Frances Ha encapsulates the experience of learning to "adult" and the competition that's inherent in that. There isn't much plot to speak of, but this character study still has an encouraging, happy ending.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor's inspiring 2019 directorial debut tells the true story of a young Malawian boy whose fight to be educated saves his whole community. With the village facing a drought, William (Maxwell Simba) builds a wind turbine out of scavenged parts, enabling farmers to continue growing their crops.
Always Be My Maybe
Randall Park and Ali Wong shine as two childhood friends who reconnect as adults in this Netflix original rom-com. Though their lives have taken very different turns, the spark between them is still there. Their chemistry and the representation provided by their Vietnamese-American and Korean-American families would be enough for a solid movie, but Always Be My Maybe also features Keanu Reeves playing an insufferable version of himself and several killer songs from Park's characters band, Hello Peril, as the cherries on top.