For the background singers featured in 20 Feet from Stardom, music is a vocation. It is not merely an occupation or a pastime; it is a way of life, a “higher calling,” as the legendary Lisa Fischer would say. For 90 minutes, director Morgan Neville superbly maps out the development of back-up singing in the US throughout the decades, exploring its deep connection with African-American culture and women’s history. It’s fun to finally put names and faces on the oohs and aahs we hear on records aplenty, but the film always finds its grounding on the singers’ own unique voices, where its true soul lies.
Find the best feel-good movies to watch, from our mood category. Like everything on agoodmovietowatch, these feel-good movies are highly-rated by both viewers and critics.
A simple movie about a Scottish country singer with a dream to go to Nashville, U.S.A and reach stardom. It starts with her leaving prison to return to her mom's house, where her kid was being raised in her absence. Heavy stuff, but this girl is determined to let nothing get in the way of realizing her dreams. Will she make it? At what cost? Wild Rose answers those questions with a warm script that's designed to make you feel good without completely misleading you. Think of it as a more grounded A Star is Born.
This Fool is a half-hour, 10-part series following Julio Lopez (played by co-creator Chris Estrada) a self-proclaimed “punk-ass bitch” and pushover who’s still in the process of learning to stand up for himself. Julio works for a gang rehab center called Hugs Not Thugs, where he also helps his cousin Luis (Frankie Quiñones) get back on his feet. It's equal parts silly and sweet, but it also reflects the socio-political problems that tend to pervade Julio and Luis' Southern LA community. References to violence and inequality are as present as they'll be in stories like these, but they're injected here with surreal humor, making it an easygoing but meaningful watch.
This lovely romance is about Ellie, a straight-A student who takes money from a classmate, Paul, to write love letters for him. Ellie does this to help with the household bills but there is one big problem: the girl Paul is in love with is also the girl Ellie has a crush on.
This might seem like the set-up for a standard Netflix comedy (and if you’re thinking Bergerac, you’re right, it is based on the famous play) but as the introduction of the film reads: “This is not a love story … not one where anyone gets what they want."
It is in fact, personal work from a brilliant and quality-focused director, Alice Wu. Her last movie, Saving Face, a pioneering lesbian romance set in an Asian American context, was released a long 15 years ago.
It's no fun being plus-sized—or at least, that's the message that we get everywhere, from tragic documentaries to self-help articles to shows that make weight the butt of every joke. Fat people are often perceived as inactive and sad and stubborn when those aren't mutually exclusive with one's size. In fact, there's nothing inherently wrong with being big.
In Shrill, our plus-sized hero Annie (played by the lovable Aidy Bryant) knocks down all those lazy myths with her sharp wit and buoyant charm. She goes on everyday adventures that prove she can be just as delightful (and exasperating) as any witty millennial writer trying to make it big in her city. Annie isn't perfect, but the fun lies in seeing her grow (not transform) into a better person.
The secret weapon to this charming story of a cranky, aging father and his new robot companion is the near-total dryness of its humor. On paper, this might sound like a depressing movie, but thanks to director Jake Schreier's sensitive touch, its protagonist's fading memory and family drama takes on the spark of youth once more. It's sweet and low-stakes, with most of the tension not coming from any fear that Frank might get caught in his hijinks, but in the curiosity of seeing if he can get back to his thieving roots. A great cast including Frank Langella, James Marsden, and Jeremy Strong keep every emotion coming consistently.
Mythic Quest is a workplace sitcom following the fictional video game studio Mythic Quest HQ. Created by the people behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the series is equal parts sentimental and funny, and with each episode running at more or less 30 minutes, it’s also a breeze to watch. This isn't to say that Mythic Quest doesn't have substance; on the contrary, one of its many strengths is its ability to parody the gaming industry. The show is laced with the kind of sharp wit that's found in the smartest of satires.
Gaming enthusiasts will surely find an instant liking to the series, but even those who aren’t familiar with the technicals won’t have any trouble connecting to the show’s sweet center.
Primarily, Cha Cha Real Smooth follows Andrew (Cooper Raiff) as he figures out what to do with his life post-college. But peripherally, it’s also about love, friendship, coming of age, and parenthood. Sometimes the movie wobbles under the weight of all it wants to be and you start to wonder whether it would benefit from a leaner script and a tighter focus.
But ultimately, Cha Cha Real Smooth is endearing and a breeze to watch. Andrew is relatable as a know-it-all who doesn’t actually know it all, and Domino (Dakota Johnson) is moving as a young mother consumed by both her envy and love for Andrew. Despite its occasional unevenness, the film’s big emotional heart triumphs, and sometimes that’s the best that you can hope for in a story about one’s 20s.
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.
In Reboot, a famous sitcom from the early 2000s is revived for a modern audience. While members of the cast attempt to rekindle their fame, the writers behind the show stir up endless debates about what constitutes "funny" in an age of political correctness. The hijinks and meta-humor that arise from this are admirable, but what really makes Reboot tick is its obvious love for the sitcom format. Underneath all the jokes is a commitment to TV comedies; like the most typical of them, Reboot switches from laugh-out-loud hilarity to tender moments of joy and sorrow. The only difference is that Reboot benefits from being self-aware—it's unafraid to make fun of itself and all the people and shows that came before it.
This easy French rom-com from 2006 is about Jean, a poor barman played Gad Elmaleh, who lies about his profession to date Irène, played by Audrey Tautou.
Irène has the habit of dating wealthy men to fund her lifestyle, she quickly realizes that Jean does not fit that description. Determined to do everything he can to win her over, Jean himself starts dating wealthy women.
Priceless, or Hors de prix, is a fun and light romcom with excellent lead performances.
This Dutch movie is a wonderful family story about a young boy who meets a peculiar girl while on vacation. He helps her find out more about her father who she has never met.
In its essence, this story is an uplifting coming-of-age story, not only because it was based on a young adult novel by Dutch writer Anna Woltz, but also because of a Moonrise-Kingdom-like staging. But like all great movies of its kind, it carries an emotional twist that packs enough depth even for not the not so young adult.
Romantically pairing up AI with humans is hardly new, and I'm Your Man is aware of that. Instead of spending way too much time explaining the advanced tech that makes the perfect mate possible, the movie zeroes in on its charismatic leads Tom the robot (Dan Stevens) and Alma the indifferent academic (Maren Eggert). Tom is the curious, humanoid automaton who is designed to worship Alma, and Alma is the disillusioned human who is conflicted with the authenticity of her growing feelings for Tom. I'm Your Man is smart and empathetic enough to stay afloat amidst its swirling genres and ethical dilemmas, but it is mostly the chemistry between Tom and Alma that anchors it to the love story that it actually is.
As southern movies go, Fried Green Tomatoes is inoffensively sweet and realistic—it’s not afraid to touch on the genuine issues that plagued America in the 1930s while also cushioning some blows, as feel-good movies are wont to do. But the film seems less interested in presenting a clear picture of the past than it is in telling a specific tale: that of outsiders forming bonds and making it together in an unforgiving society.
The main narrator is Ninny, an 83-year-old woman seemingly forgotten by everyone except Evelyn, an unhappy housewife who is “too young to be old and too old to be young.” Ninny recalls the stories of Sipsey and Big George, Black laborers who dared to succeed in their deeply racist community; of Smokey, the town outcast, who still helped people even if he was denied it himself; of Ruth, the domestic abuse victim; and of Idgie, the tomboy who spat on the face of all decorum. Then, of course, there’s the unspoken relationship between Ruth and Idgie, which hint at something quite radical for its time.
These are all the people conventionally denied happy endings, and in period films, you’d expect to be abandoned in tragedy. But here they sing; they win and lose in equal measure, and even though it might seem like light and familiar fare to some, it still goes down heartily and unforgettably—funnily enough, like a plate of fried green tomatoes.