Movies guaranteed to make you feel good

Old-school: The Advertiser searched through the DVD collection to bring you the best flicks to make you feel good.
Old-school: The Advertiser searched through the DVD collection to bring you the best flicks to make you feel good.

We're all stuck at home desperate to find things to keep ourselves amused and feeling good.

With that in mind, the Advertiser pored through our DVD collection to bring you a bunch of movies that are guaranteed to make you feel good in this frankly depressing time.

Everything on this list is filled with laughs and good vibes.

So, in alphabetical order:

Begin Again

This may have a lot of songs in it, but it's no musical. Begin Again is an awesome story of a songwriter Brit (Keira Knightley) who's moved to New York to be with her now-famous musician boyfriend (Adam Levine), but finds herself hopelessly out of place and unsatisfied. Enter a down-on-his-luck music producer (Mark Ruffalo) who sees talent in the Brit and encourages her to make an album on the streets of New York. It's lively and life-affirming without being even a little bit sappy or saccharine. Also stars Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, Mos Def, Cee-Lo Green and James Corden.

Bend It Like Beckham

If you've never seen Bend It Like Beckham before, now is the time! It's a joyous clash of cultures in England, where Jess (daughter of Indian immigrants) is desperate to play soccer despite her parents disapproval. She becomes fast friends with Jules (Keira Knightley) and both girls are interested in their young coach Joe (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Directed by Gurinder Chadha, the film is truly hilarious, shows just how big the titular Beckham was back in the day and finishes up with a joyous singalong in the credits. What more do you need.

The Boat That Rocked

Fans of 60s music will love The Boat That Rocked (called Pirate Radio in some places). Written and directed by Richard Curtis (more from him later), the film tells the mostly true story of a group of radio broadcasters determined to bring rock and roll to the English, despite the government deeming the genre unsuitable and trying to shut them down. So they broadcast from a ship in international waters instead. The soundtrack is honestly one of the best out there and the cast of characters are so weird and quirky it'll make whoever you're stuck in isolation with seem totally normal. Stars Bill Nighy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Tom Sturridge, Nick Frost, Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh and more.


This could be the ultimate feel-good movie. There's nothing but good vibes in Chef. Directed by and starring Jon Favreau, it follows, shockingly, a chef, his son and his buddy as they travel to New Orleans in a food truck, making and eating all sorts of glorious food. That's really the whole story and it's brilliant. Cannot recommend highly enough. Also stars John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr, Dustin Hoffman and Bobby Cannavale.

Crazy Rich Asians

This one was a box office success for a reason. Crazy Rich Asians is genuinely funny, hugely on point with its observations, ridiculously lavish and just plain happy. New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is all loved up with her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) and about to head to his home country of Singapore for his best friend's wedding. Little does she know, Nick's family is rich (crazy rich, in fact) and she's about to enter a whole new world of money. The characters are great and the luxurious scenery will transport you right out of your four walls.

Death at a Funeral

Yes, it's got both 'death' and 'funeral' in the title, but I promise Death at a Funeral is one of the funniest movies on this list. In that classic British way, it's filled with awkward humour and odd-bod characters. All hell breaks loose at the funeral of a family patriarch, as long-buried secrets emerge, drugs are accidentally taken and decorum goes out the window. Stars Peter Dinklage, Matthew Macfadyen, Alan Tudyk (a true stand-out, you won't be able to stop laughing in his big scene) and more.

Fly Away Home

Fly Away Home is more inspirational than funny, and will transport you out of your home with its breath-taking (Oscar-nominated) cinematography. It tells the story of a girl from New Zealand who moves to Canada to live with her father and finds a bunch of goose eggs, eventually raising the geese. But the birds have lost their habitat (and their mother) to land clearing, so the girl and her father decide to direct the geese on their migration journey in single-person light planes. And the planes look like geese. It's a true story (well, the part about trying to save geese is anyway) and it's beautiful. Stars Anna Paquin, Jeff Daniels and Dana Delany.

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Another one with 'funeral in the title - and another that's truly hilarious. So British, so awkward and yet impossibly heart-warming, the movie features - you guessed it - four weddings and one funeral attended by the same group of friends. It's the movie that made Hugh Grant famous and made Wet Wet Wet's Love Is All Around a massive hit. And it was written by Richard Curtis (see The Boat That Rocked above). Classic comedy.

Heart and Souls

More death in this entry, but also a lot of fun. Heart and Souls follows four people on an ill-fated tram in San Francisco, who die at the same moment a boy is born. They find themselves tied to the child - who grows up to be a smarmy yet charming Robert Downey Jr in adulthood - for life. He must eventually help them set something right that they couldn't do in their lives so that they can move on. Also features a cameo from the late great B.B. King. Starring Kyra Sedgwick, Alfre Woodard, Tom Sizemore, Charles Grodin and Elisabeth Shue.

Hidden Figures

This is up there with the most feel-good on this list, and that's in large part due to the fantastic music from Pharrell Williams. Telling the inspirational story of three black women who were instrumental in Space Race of the 1960s, Hidden Figures shows what you can do when you work hard, put your mind to something and don't let anything - even the system - stand in your way. Featuring fantastic performances from Taraji P Henson as Katherine Johnson (that she is not a household name is a travesty), Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst, among others, it's just the kind of movie to give you the inspiration you need to get through isolation.

National Treasure

Who doesn't dream of finding some family secret that leads to a long-hidden treasure? National Treasure is a fantastical history-based adventure that moves along at a cracking pace. Nicolas Cage gives a relatively normal performance as treasure hunter Ben Gates, who must steal the Declaration of Independence in order to stop his former partner and now rival Ian (Sean Bean) from destroying it in order to find a clue to the location of the Knight's Templar's hidden riches. Got all that? Super fun just a little (not a lot) educational. Also stars Justin Bartha as the hilarious Riley, Diane Kruger as Dr Abigail Chase and Jon Voight as Patrick Gates. Way better than the sequel, which is also good.

Practical Magic

It's got 'magic' in the title because it's magical. The seminal 1998 movie stars Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock and - to be a little superficial here - the pair have never looked better. While you probably haven't brushed your hair in a week (no judgement, we haven't either), these two are walking around with the most luscious locks you've ever seen. It's criminal. Anywho, the story is about a pair of witch sisters who come from a family where any woman who falls in love loses her husband/boyfriend. It's great fun, has lots of awesome feminist moments and the soundtrack is amazing. Also stars a young Evan Rachel Wood, Aidan Quinn, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest and Goran Visnjic.

Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any isolated person in want of a good film will inevitably watch Pride and Prejudice. That's the quote right? Anyway, the 2005 Keira Knightley version of the classic Jane Austin novel is just delightful. It is sumptuously shot, beautifully scored and brings a real modern energy to the story without sacrificing the period. It stands up to repeated viewings and can actually be enjoyed by everyone. Also stars Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, Jena Malone, Talulah Riley, Donald Sutherland and even Judi Dench.

The Princess Bride

A post-modern fairytale that's as clever as it is quotable, The Princess Bride should be seen by everyone at least once. If you haven't journeyed through the Fire Swamp and Cliffs of Insanity with Buttercup and Westley, what have you been doing with your life? Sure, the effects are a little crude more than 30 years on, but the dialogue still stands up. If you don't leave the film saying 'Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die' you must have been asleep or something.


It's a quirky little indie film, but Wes Anderson's first mainstream flick is charming and fun. It follows outcast Max Fischer at his new school. He's not especially dedicated to his study, but he loves his extracurriculars. Max forms a friendship with schoolmates' father Herman Blume (Bill Murray) and develops a crush on his teacher (Olivia Williams). It's odd for sure, but also a great time.

Stan and Ollie

This is the true story of Laurel and Hardy going on tour in England well after their heyday has ended. You don't need to know a thing about the classic movie duo to appreciate the film. John C Reilly and Steve Coogan are so wonderful and earnest in their titular roles that it's impossible not to love them. Good vibes from start to finish.

The Terminal

Of course Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks make the list! The Terminal is one of Spielberg's silliest, lightest movies and is a grand old time. It follows Viktor Navorsky (Hanks), who is stuck inside a New York airport because, while he was in transit, his home country of Krakozhia falls into war and his identity becomes politically messy. While being stuck inside an airport presents far more opportunities for entertainment than being stuck inside your home, The Terminal does echo a little bit of that crazy feeling we all have right now. And it's fun. Also stars Stanley Tucci, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna and more.