As we know pretty well by now, real life and current affairs can really get you down and for many of us, Netflix is the antidote and escapism we need from daily life.
However, with so many titles to choose from, it can be hard to know which films will leave your spirits high. Well, we’re here to help. From rom-coms like to movie musicals, here is our pick of the best feel-good movies streaming on Netflix MENA right now that are guaranteed to cheer you up.
Always Be My Maybe (2019) Director: Nahnatchka Khan Cast: Ali Wong, Randall Park Netflix continues its rom-com reign with this touching and funny film about childhood friends Sasha and Marcus who have a falling out and don’t speak for 15 years. Brought back together when Sasha, now a celebrity chef, returns to her hometown of San Francisco to open a new restaurant, she finds her former friend to be a happily complacent musician still living at home and working for his dad. Naturally, things become complicated.
Dirty Dancing (1987) Director: Emile Ardolino Cast: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey Nobody puts Baby in the corner; they put her on Netflix instead. Revisit this 1987 classic for ‘the lift’, Patrick Swayze’s moves, top tunes like (I've Had) The Time of My Life, and more romance than you can shake a feather boa at.
Eat Pray Love (2010) Director: Ryan Murphy Cast: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, James Franco, Viola Davis Julia Roberts stars in this soul-searching bildungsroman that follows an unhappy Manhattanite on her journey of self-discovery, spirituality, food and love. It’s cheesy at times, emotional at others, and filled with some fabulous shots of pasta. It’ll make you want to take an extended gap year.
Falling Inn Love (2019) Director: Roger Kumble Cast: Christina Milian, Adam Demos, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman
The concept of this film is preposterous: an American woman loses everything but then happens to win a New Zealand inn, which she attempts to renovate with the help of her contractor. Essentially it’s a hit of sugar and who can complain about that?
La La Land (2016) Director: Damien Chazelle Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone What could be more feel-good than a musical that pays homage to the classic movie musicals of Hollywood? While not completely free from fraught romance and moments of melancholy, it captures the go-getter spirit of LA and the wonder of those old-fashioned big musical numbers, while telling a story about going out and achieving your dream.
Roald Dahl's Matilda (1996) Director: Danny DeVito Cast: Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Pam Ferris Danny DeVito's snappy, kinetic visual adaptation of this Roald Dahl classic fits the cartoon feel of the source material, and the cast is great. It’s a modern-day pantomime about childhood solidarity and self-empowerment: the real joy here is the view of generational war, the children’s assumption of zero tolerance for injustices inflicted by absurd adults, and the recognition that the big meanies should be punished, by fair means or foul.
Set It Up (2018) Director: Claire Scanlon Cast: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Taye Diggs, Lucy Liu Director Claire Scanlon resurrects that tragically neglected genre, the rom-com, with this amiable caper. The premise – two put-upon assistants (Powell and Deutch) try to trick their nightmare bosses as payback for their own stresses – is relatively well-trodden territory, but it’s executed deftly and boasts no little heart. There are even a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments sprinkled among the romantic fare, with Lucy Liu proving that when it comes to comedy she knows how to deliver.
Shrek (2001) Director: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson Voices: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz Who doesn’t love that age-old tale about an outcast ogre, a talking donkey and a princess locked in a tower guarded by a dragon? Of course, this animation totally subverts all the fairy-tale tropes with delightful results, while promoting the message that true beauty is subjective.
Someone Great (2019) Director: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson Cast: Gina Rodriguez, Brittany Snow, DeWanda Wise This rom-com might not be the most original or groundbreaking addition to the genre, but sometimes if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Instead, focus on friendship and the chemistry that this film’s three female leads have in abundance.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018) Director: Susan Johnson Cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo This Netflix original movie, based on the book of the same name by Jenny Han, has been praised by all corners of the internet, especially for the performances of Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, who plays love interest Peter Kavinsky. Rom-com is officially back and once you’ve finished the movie, you can move on to its 2020 sequel: To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You.