40 Best Uplifting Movies on Netflix Right Now

Updated June 10, 2024 • Staff

Sometimes, the world gets a little too much to handle. In such times, there’s nothing like putting real life on pause and getting sucked into a feel-good movie. From irreverent buddy films to inspirational tales where good trumps evil, a wholesome watch can be a great comfort in the moments we need it the most. Here are some of the best uplifting movies currently streaming on Netflix, all of which are sure to turn that frown upside down.

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40.

Entergalactic (2022)

Entergalactic, a vibrant animated romcom from the mind of musician Kid Cudi, follows new neighbors Jabari (Cudi) and Meadow (Jessica Williams) as they navigate their way through the ups and downs of modern love. They’re both established artists at the height of their careers, but when it comes to romance, they’re still scraping for lessons, which they mostly get from equally clueless but funny friends.

Featuring songs from Cudi’s latest record of the same name, Entergalactic doubles as a visual album that comes to life with every beat and movement. It also stars many familiar names, among them Timothée Chalamet, Vanessa Hudgens, Ty Dolla $ign, Jaden Smith, and Macaulay Culkin.

Our staff rating: 7.1/10
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance
Actor: 070 Shake, Arturo Castro, Bill Lobley, Christopher Abbott, Fawn Stone, Francesca Reale, Jaden Smith, Jessica Williams, Keith David, Kenya Barris, Kid Cudi, Laura Harrier, Luis Guzman, Macaulay Culkin, Meryl Streep, Montego Glover, Teyana Taylor, Timothée Chalamet, Ty Dolla Sign, Vanessa Hudgens
Director: Fletcher Moules
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Netflix
39.

The Sea Beast (2022)

The Sea Beast tells the story of Jacob, a legendary sea monster hunter, and Maisie, a wannabe monster hunter herself. When a dangerous encounter isolates them from the rest of the crew, they’re forced to team up and reconcile their opposing beliefs—Maisie believes there’s good in the beasts, but Jacob has yet to be convinced.

Action-packed, fast-paced, and thoroughly entertaining, The Sea Beast is a perfect weekend watch. The part-Moana, part-Pirates-of-the-Caribbean tale also has the added bonus of being age-appropriate (rated PG), making it suitable for those spending their precious movie time with kids.

Our staff rating: 7.1/10
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Kids
Actor: Alex Wyndham, Benjamin Plessala, Brian T. Delaney, Dan Stevens, David S. Lee, Davis Pak, Doon Mackichan, Emily O'Brien, Helen Sadler, Ian Mercer, Jared Harris, Jim Carter, Karl Urban, Kathy Burke, Kaya McLean, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Max Mittelman, Paul Chowdhry, Rajia Baroudi, Shannon Chan-Kent, Somali Rose, Xana Tang, Zaris-Angel Hator
Director: Chris Williams
Rating: PG
Go to Netflix
38.

Seabiscuit (2003)

Though it paints in overly broad strokes and takes a while to get going, this tale of broken people finding each other eventually reaches an irresistibly feel-good conclusion. Like many good sports movies, Seabiscuit isn't really dependent on the final outcome of a matchup between underdog and high-profile contender. What becomes important, then, is the perseverance of a handful of individuals in doing something just to prove they can beat the odds. And while there aren't actually as many racing sequences in Seabiscuit as you might be led to believe, they're well worth the wait—punctuating the drama with sharp editing and beautiful, period-specific production design.

Our staff rating: 7.1/10
Genre: Drama, Family, History
Actor: Annie Corley, Cameron Bowen, Camillia Sanes, Carl M. Craig, Chris Cooper, Dan Daily, Danny Strong, David Doty, David McCullough, Dyllan Christopher, Ed Lauter, Eddie Jones, Elizabeth Banks, Finder's Key, Gary L. Stevens, Gary McGurk, Gary Ross, Gary Stevens, Gianni Russo, Hans Howes, James Keane, Jeff Bridges, Jesse Hernandez, John Walcutt, Ken Magee, Kevin Mangold, Kingston DuCoeur, Mariah Bess, Matt Miller, Michael Angarano, Michael B. Silver, Michael Ensign, Michael O'Neill, Michelle Arthur, Noah Luke, Pat Skipper, Paul Vincent O'Connor, Peter Jason, Richard Reeves, Robin Bissell, Royce D. Applegate, Sam Bottoms, Shay Duffin, Tobey Maguire, Valerie Mahaffey, William H. Macy
Director: Gary Ross
Rating: PG-13
Go to Netflix
37.

The African Doctor (2016)

In this French movie based on a true story, a med-school graduate from Congo is offered a job as the doctor to the president of Zaire. He refuses and chooses instead to move to a small town in France in hopes of getting French citizenship and securing a better future for his children.

The story, which starts in 1975, is set in a village where people had never seen a Black person. To that, Seyolo, the doctor, says: “so what? Now they will.”

The culture clash is both villagers-to-new-arrivals and the other way. Seyolo tells his family that he was hired in a village “north of Paris”, but all they hear is “Paris”, only to be shocked by the state of the rainy and muddy countryside village.

Our staff rating: 7.2/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Aissa Maiga, Bayron Lebli, Bernard Eylenbosch, Bwanga Pilipili, Christophe Lambert, Diogène Ntarindwa, Édith Le Merdy, Emilie Rouhart, Frédérick Bukolé, Ingrid Heiderscheidt, Jean Bediebe, Jean-Benoît Ugeux, Jean-Marie Barbier, Jean-Michel Balthazar, Jonathan Lambert, Julien Rambaldi, Kamini Zantoko, Laurent Caron, Marc Zinga, Marie-Philomène Nga, Marius Yelolo, Mata Gabin, Medina Diarra, Micheline Dieye, Narcisse Mame, Riton Liebman, Rodolphe Jonathan Lambert, Rufus, Stéphane Bissot, Stéphanie Crayencour, Sylvestre Amoussou, Tatiana Rojo, Thomas Vandenberghe, Thomas VDB, Vincent Lecuyer, Vincent Martin
Director: Julien Rambaldi
Rating: N/A
Go to Netflix
36.

Crip Camp (2020)

This Obamas-produced documentary does much to change the way we may still view people with disabilities as helpless or to be pitied. First, Crip Camp cleans up footage from a 1970s New York summer camp for disabled teens to pristine sound and video quality, allowing us to see how vibrant and lively this community has always been. Then, more importantly, the film traces how these kids—in particular, Judy Heumann—became badass faces in the movement for disability rights, staging protests and articulating themselves passionately for better accessibility in the most fundamental areas of everyday life. It's a documentary that isn't just designed to inspire, but also to advocate for safe spaces where young people with disabilities can receive the encouragement and motivation they need as early as possible.

Our staff rating: 7.2/10
Genre: Documentary
Actor: Ann Cupolo Freeman, James Lebrecht, Joseph O'Conor, Judith Heumann
Director: James Lebrecht, Nicole Newnham
Go to Netflix
35.

Badhaai Do (2022)

Funny, sweet, and tropey, Badhaai Do is a unique Hindi dramedy about a lavender marriage. Gay policeman Shardul (Rajkummar Rao) and lesbian teacher Sumi (Bhumi Pednekar) agree to wed in order to satisfy their family’s wishes without exposing their sexual orientations. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop their family from other expectations, such as that of maintaining their marriage and having a child. After their immediate connection, Shardul and Sumi’s continuous bickering, through Rao and Pednekar’s chemistry, is hilarious, leading to elaborate lies about each other for their family. However, underneath their funny back-and-forth is an understanding between them that almost feels freeing. Their platonic partnership feels like a lifeline in an isolating closet. While India is portrayed here to have a thriving LGBTQ+ community, microaggressions, harassment, and legal discrimination are still present. Despite this, the film carves up moments where Shardul and Sumi actively seek connection, with each other and with other people, including their eventual lovers. The most touching of these moments come when they both allow themselves to be honest.

Our staff rating: 7.2/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Apeksha Porwal, Bhumi Pednekar, Chum Darang, Gulshan Devaiah, Loveleen Mishra, Nitesh Pandey, Rajkummar Rao, Seema Pahwa, Shashi Bhushan, Sheeba Chaddha
Director: Harshavardhan Kulkarni
Rating: PG
Go to Netflix
34.

The Queenstown Kings (2023)

The Queenstown Kings is a sports film that has plot points we’re all familiar with – alcoholic father trying to seek forgiveness from his son, a tempting offer for fame and riches, the standard training montage and more. These plot points sometimes go into melodramatic territory, but the film’s relationships make these scenes feel sincere, especially with the family dynamic that drives the film. And as Buyile strives to better himself to become a good example to the team, and Fezile makes different choices from his father, The Queenstown Kings feels sincere as a reminder of the better side of South African men, one that can be uncovered if they, and their community, believe in a higher dream.

Our staff rating: 7.2/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa, Likhona Mgali, Patrick Ndlovu, Sandile Mahlangu, Tessa Twala, Thoko Ntshinga, Unathi Platyi, Zolisa Xaluva
Director: Jahmil X.T. Qubeka
Go to Netflix
33.

Fanfic (2023)

Being made for free, fanfiction is free to play with controversial, less print-friendly concepts like gender-bending your favorite character. This freedom might go into strange territory, but most often than not, writers use fanfiction for escapism or for catharsis of their day-to-day lives. While the film doesn’t delve into fanfiction’s creative process, Polish drama Fanfic does recognize how the genre’s experimentation allows its writers to safely and freely explore different styles of expression, the same way teenage years hopefully do for its viewers. And as Tosiek goes through the trappings of coming-of-age self-discovery, it’s lovely and comforting and cathartic like the stories he writes.

Our staff rating: 7.2/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Adam Cywka, Agnieszka Rajda, Alin Szewczyk, Anna Krotoska, Dobromir Dymecki, Ewelina Starejki, Helena Sujecka, Ignacy Liss, Jakub Wróblewski, Jan Cięciara, Kaya Kołodziejczyk, Krzysztof Oleksyn, Maja Szopa, Marcin Perchuć, Mateusz Górski, Natalia Łągiewczyk, Radosław Krzyżowski, Stanisław Cywka, Sylwia Achu, Wiktoria Kruszczyńska
Director: Marta Karwowska
Rating: NC-17
Go to Netflix
32.

Bank of Dave (2023)

Bank of Dave is a simple but well-told film that feels utterly satisfying from start to end. Dave is the little guy who only wants to give back to his community, but stopping him from achieving his noble goals are the big guys in suits with vested interests and too narrow a focus to appreciate the good that Dave is after. The film is David versus Goliath, countryside versus cityside, socialist versus capitalist (or, if you like, ethical capitalism versus unethical capitalism). You know who will triumph in the end, but that doesn’t detract from the film’s overall enjoyability. The dialogue is smart and stirring, and you can’t help but root for the film’s small heroes to win big. 

Our staff rating: 7.3/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Adrian Lukis, Angus Wright, Cathy Tyson, Drew Cain, Florence Hall, Freddie Bolt, Harry Michell, Hopi Grace, Hugh Bonneville, Jo Hartley, Joe Elliott, Joel Fry, Naomi Battrick, Paul Kaye, Phil Collen, Philip Gascoyne, Phoebe Dynevor, Rick Allen, Rick Savage, Roger Morlidge, Rory Kinnear, Steve Edge, Vivian Campbell
Director: Chris Foggin
Rating: PG-13
Go to Netflix
31.

Can You See Us? (2023)

As the first Zambian film on Netflix, Can You See Us? is an interesting portrayal of albinism. Inspired by the real-life story of musician John Chiti, the film’s plot feels grounded, even if it’s similar to other stories depicting discrimination. With newcomer Thabo Kaamba at the forefront, her performance of the albino boy Joseph shines brighter than even the older actors of the film’s cast. That being said, it is held back by repetitive dialogue and sped-up character development from certain characters. Despite this, Can You See Us? is still a remarkable film that stands out from the other tearjerkers available on the streaming platform.

Our staff rating: 7.3/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Chilu Lemba, Fransisca Muchangwe, Kangwa Chileshe, Ruth Jule, Thabo Kaamba
Director: Kenny Mumba
Go to Netflix

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