Proving that children's entertainment can be legitimate art like any other kind of cinema, the sequel to 2014's Paddington displays a stronger love for community and storytelling than many other adult-oriented productions. It may be cutesy and innocent, but Paddington 2 also uses its stunning visual effects and intricate production design to prop up a sophisticated story about discrimination, staying true to one's self, and (most surprisingly) the prison-industrial complex. It's a proper throwback to another era of family movies that offers something far more substantial to young children and genuinely moving moments for the parents and children at heart.
104 Best Lighthearted Movies to Watch
Find the best lighthearted movies to watch, from our mood category. Like everything on agoodmovietowatch, these lighthearted movies are highly-rated by both viewers and critics.
There’s a lot of good to be found in the charming, poignant, and endlessly quotable Marcel the Shell With Shoes On. It follows a documentarian named Dean, who has as his subject the one-inch talking shell that is Marcel. Marcel looks after an empty house along with his grandma Connie, and together they run a delightfully intricate system subsisting on electric mixers, tennis balls, and the occasional human hair.
Despite his small size, Marcel unwittingly makes big observations about life and the world around him, often moving Dean (and this writer) close to tears. It’s a simple film with a grand message, with lots to say about the importance of participating in life as opposed to merely observing it. But ultimately this is a movie with a precocious talking shell at the heart of it all, so really, what’s not to like?
On the surface, The Makanai is a simple, slice-of-life show about food and friendship. While it is that, to be sure, it's also a substantial drama that tackles questions about art vs. love, and love vs. companionship, and career vs. purpose. Under the gentle guidance of showrunner Hirokazu Kore-eda (Still Walking, Shoplifters, Broker), who generously allows up-and-coming directors to take the helm on certain episodes, The Makanai feels at once light and hefty, comforting and challenging. We're seeing mundane events unfold before us as if we were bystanders, but we also understand that there is so much more happening than what meets the eye. A prolonged gaze, a lovingly prepped meal, an especially sharp wing-eye, all of these have much to say about the state of mind of these girls.
It’s a supremely gentle and culturally rich show with a tender heart; a truly great watch on all accounts.
Adam Sandler, though currently imminently marketable, incredibly played out and boring, used to be a real actor. This is the film by which his legacy will be judged, where we see the funnyman drop the mask and actually show real feelings besides bumbling rage. Sandler's hurt and confused performance is beautifully vulnerable and true and is complimented by P.T. Anderson's incomparable direction (the man behind Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood), creating a true masterpiece of American cinema. This beauty also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Emily Watson.
Awkward. That is how Oliver Tate can be described, and generally the whole movie. But it is professionally and scrutinizingly awkward. Submarine is a realistic teen comedy, one that makes sense and in which not everyone looks gorgeous and pretends to have a tough time. It is hilarious and sad, dark and touching. It is awesome and it's embarrassing, and it's the kind of movie that gets nearly everything about being a teen right, no matter where you grew up.
In Please Like Me, twenty-year-old Josh (Josh Thomas) navigates love and adulthood alongside his friends and immediate family. He's far from perfect, and his loved ones are far from always right, but the ups and downs they go through—as small-stakes as they may seem—are always familiar and relatable.
Please Like Me touches on modern issues and treats them both wryly and realistically so that the series never verges on either extreme. It's charming and sensitive and bold, and the whiny arrogance that often curses millennial shows is balanced here thanks to smart self-deprecating jokes and tender characterizations. Despite its pleading title, Please Like Me is very easy to watch and, as such, very easy to love.
Made up entirely of B-roll and random, unglamorous footage of New York City, as well as the intentionally awkward, stuttering narration of its creator, How To with John Wilson might be the most unlikely series to offer touching, life-affirming insights about human connections and the simple beauty of the world we live in. As Wilson sets off at the start of each episode trying to provide advice on a mundane topic, his curiosity and self-effacing nature land him in increasingly odd places with different strangers around the city. The show may seem like nothing more than a bunch of vignettes loosely strung together at first, but upon closer look there's truly clever wit and intelligence that goes into every single transition. How To's power sneaks up on you—quietly teaching us the value of community and how we're always a part of something much more interesting.
There is an art to making a comedy that can be enjoyed by all ages—a balance must be kept between mature and genial humor, serious and unserious matters—and it’s an art that Acapulco manages to execute with finesse. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re a kid looking for a good story or an adult wishing to drive by memory lane.
The colors are vibrant, the characters are alive, and the plot, while familiar, is charming nonetheless. But perhaps the best thing about Acapulco is its call for viewers to be kind. It’s never explicit or preachy about it; it just comes naturally, by way of practice.
Studio Ghibli has brought us moving, remarkable animated films such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke. One of Studio Ghibli’s most overlooked movies is Yoshifumi Kondou’s Whisper of the Heart, which finds magic in the ordinary every day. Shizuku is a young girl with great aspirations to become a writer—the only thing stopping her is herself. When she comes across a curious antique shop, she befriends a mysterious boy and his grandfather, who are just the push she needs to look inward and discover her own artistic capabilities.
If you have ever wanted to create something bigger and better than yourself—a story, a song, a poem, a painting, a work of art—then Whisper of the Heart will excite you, will call to you, will remind you to answer your heart’s calling.
It’s the 1970s and women’s liberation is at its peak. Feminist writer Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) wants nothing more than to start a magazine called “The Matriarchy Awakens,” but publishers aren’t biting. Enter Doug (Jake Johnson), a seemingly sleazy magazine mogul who wants to turn Joyce’s idea into something more sellable—namely, an erotic magazine aimed at women. Against her better judgment, Joyce agrees, and along with a crew of unlikely creatives, they work to set up Minx, a sexy female-first magazine that is the first of its kind.
Minx, the series, engages both characters and viewers in important conversations about feminism and eroticism, but more than just a piece of infotainment, it’s actually a genuinely funny and charming show. The spars between Joyce and Doug propel the series forward, and the bonds that form between their co-workers are just as heartfelt and compelling. Given Minx's explicit premise, you might come in expecting a raunchy and sharp-edged show, but it's actually tamer than it seems. As it is, Minx is lighthearted and pleasing, as enjoyable as any half-hour comedy out there.
Dickinson takes more than a few creative liberties in telling the story of one of America's greatest poets, Emily Dickinson (played here by the effervescent Hailee Steinfeld). As soon as the first pop song blasts in the background, followed by more than a few expletives blurted by the characters, it becomes clear that the series is more interested in making Emily's life story not just understandable to a new generation, but timeless and universal too; it's a tale about freeing oneself from the constraints of gender and society, and how regardless of whether you succeed or not, it's the attempts that keep us human.
The series is funny and tender and vivacious, kept afloat by its modern sensibility and desire to showcase a whole new side of Emily. Here, she's a fighter, a (queer) lover, and an intellectual. But she's also spoiled, narrowminded, and selfish—she is after all, still a growing girl. Dickinson succeeds on two counts: as an enlightening biopic, artistic license notwithstanding, and as an energizing coming-of-age series, complete with awkward epiphanies and inspiring character developments.
Paul Giamatti knocks in out of the park in Win Win. The movie has so much humanity in it as well as a fantastic story that's rooted in normalcy. At last a movie about second chances that is anything but cheesy. The rhythm of the humor in this movie helps you move through the serious themes unscathed (for the most part). In sum, the jokes are spot-on and the acting is excellent.
Vibrant and quirky in a way that always rings true for its plucky protagonists, this abruptly cancelled children's series embodies the optimism and empathetic spirit that we should all hope to gain from the younger generations. By starting their own neighborhood business, the core characters of The Baby-Sitters Club (played with undeniable star power and chemistry by its young ensemble) learn how to bring joy and healing to others while facing everything from discrimination and generational trauma to their own imperfect family lives. Behind the club's humorous, sugarcoated antics is a real sense of helplessness that each character struggles with—forging ahead and doing whatever they can to fix things that they've been told are out of their control. It's an unexpectedly touching gem of a show that proves kids' entertainment can be truly beautiful.
Through positively adorable characters and zero dialogue whatsoever, Shaun the Sheep Movie reminds viewers young and old of the sheer artistry that goes into a truly great children's cartoon. Animated by British stop motion godfathers Aardman Animations, the film delivers one excellent visual joke after another, while still telling a coherent story that arrives at surprisingly tender places touching on the importance of community and home. In an animation industry that's constantly trying to innovate, a movie like Shaun the Sheep stands as a reminder that there are certain fundamentals in storytelling that deserve to be preserved and passed down to every new generation. It's the loveliest thing around.
Fans of sketch comedy, documentaries, and the always-hilarious duo of Bill Hader and Fred Armisen are in for a treat with Documentary Now!, a delightful miniseries that both satirizes and pays tribute to the non-fiction format. Each episode parodies a particular documentary and tone, bringing the comedians and their ever-revolving roster of guest stars to different eras, regions, costumes, accents, and more.
With SNL veterans Hader and Armisen at the helm, this mockumentary is sure to amuse and impress even the most stoic among us, if not for the show's humor, then for its sharp attention to detail and endlessly creative references.