Twenty Movies to Cheer you Up

movies to cheer you up

Looking for movies to cheer you up? You’re not the only one!

This week, has been completely rubbish. Just rubbish.

“Let’s watch something to cheer ourselves up,” I said to Flea, after a post-school scooter ride along the beach.

And so we flicked through Netflix, iTunes and Sky until we came up with a shortlist of guaranteed happy-maker pieces of cinema that can’t fail to cheer you up.

So fear not if you are also affected by a bad case of the I Can’t Evens. Here are 10 movies to cheer you up that can brighten up even the worst of days. And God knows, these are the worst of days.

The Rules

Before we begin some rules: a movie that cheers you up movie can’t be too sentimental. There will be no happy tears in this list. No Lilo and Stich moments where an adorable little alien croaks “family” and presses all your squishy buttons. No, sir.

Also, there will be no “uplifting” movies. There’s no Thelma and Louise/Shawshank redemption, “Oh isn’t is sad but doesn’t it remind you how lovely life is” stories in this list. When you’re THIS emotionally fragile, you simply can’t be expected to deal with Etre et Avoir, even if it is cinematic perfection at any other time of life.

No. This list is 100% purely happy movies that will not demand too much of your brain or emotions, but will leave you feeling happy. Guaranteed.

Top 20 Movies to Cheer you Up


movies to cheer you up

It’s warm and funny and I think I’ve now watched this movie often enough that I can do the song from it by it. Go on, join in. You actually can’t be unhappy by the time you get to “ice cream soda pop, cherry on the top.” I’m right. Try it, and see!  You have to do the actions, though.

Bad Moms

This is a fantastic film about Mums behaving badly. It’s bawdy and not sophisticated but has a warm heart, and plenty of laughs. I love the supermarket scene a bit more than I should.

bad moms


Who didn’t want to be Cher at some point in their life? It’s charming, funny and it’s got Paul Rudd in it. What’s not to love? Perfect cheer up fodder.

top 20 happy films

Moulin Rouge

When the world is sad and there’s a crazy president and your parents are Tories, you really just need an escape. Am I right? And this is the perfect escapist film. It’s crazy, romantic, lush and over-dramatic and Ewan Mcgregor’s singing Come What May makes my insides happy.

most cheerful films

Never Been Kissed

Ah, remember when you could make a film about having a secret relationship with your teacher before it was, like, all frowned upon? Seriously, this charming rom-com is about what happens when an improbably old looking journalist goes undercover at high school and tries to fit in – but mostly fails. Super cute.

Princess Bride

Having a bad day? Watching this movie will fix it all. For a while. By the time Wesley is mostly dead, you’ll have forgotten all about the things that were worrying you. It’s smart, romantic and genuinely, completely hilarious. Full marks.

I Love You, Man

I accept not everyone reading this is single. So here’s a movie the man in your life is likely to love as much as you will. I Love You Man is the story of an uptight groom who has no guy friends. So he has to hold a series of ‘man dates’ to try and find some. It’s a really genuine, funny movie that isn’t too demanding. Also I sort of love Paul Rudd. So there’s that.

13 Going on 30

This has got to be one of the all-time very best movies to cheer you up. I’ve got a soft spot for a good age reversal comedy, and I think 13 Going on 30 is a close second to Big in that regard. This is the story of a nerdy 13-year-old who wakes up one morning as a 30-year-old complete with the life she always thought she wanted. It’s charming and has good songs, and dancing and is just happy in a movie. Also Mark Ruffalo in this movie is basically the Best Boyfriend Ever.

The Peanuts Movie

Sometimes the world is SO sad that you basically need to revert to being five years old. The Peanuts Movie is beautifully drawn and voiced, the message is just the right sort of uplifting for those of us who still feel like Charlie Brown for a large chunk of their day.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

I will accept no argument. This is the BEST cheer-up film ever made. It has musical numbers and headmasters getting stuck in dog doors and ball games and car accidents and EVERYTHING. Life’s Pretty Short is also basically my life motto.

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

A good cheer-up movie has to have certain things in it to be fully effective. One of those things is a scene set in a sparkling bay with sunshine glinting on the water and a hot man taking his shirt off. I think there’s a story as well, about girls and friendship and stuff, stuff, but the other scene sticks in my mind more. So sue me.

Cool Runnings

At its heart, Cool Runnings is a film about how the scrappy underdog can sometimes – just sometimes – come out on top. It reminds us that being different is okay, and to be celebrated. Oh, and if things don’t go your way, there could be a second chance just around the corner.

Shaun of the Dead

Some days the thing that’s going to cheer you up isn’t a lovely romance or a heartwarming story of the underdog. You want to see someone repeatedly hitting a zombie in the head with a cricket bat. And a film that says even if the world is ending, you really just should go to the pub and have a pint until it all blows over? I think a lot of us need that, right now.

Pretty Woman

Okay, it’s not the feminist choice, but desperate times call for desperate measures. This is candy floss wish fulfilment with a dubious anti-feminist agenda. And besides, no matter how crappy you’re feeling, at least you’re not a prostitute, right? Unless you are in which case, I have nothing for you.

The First Time

I love a good high school movie and this lesser-known movie is a real gem. If you haven’t see it yet, then do. The honest depiction of teen relationships and first love always hits the mark and makes me feel a bit more cheerful about life.

Crazy, Stupid Love

Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and a whip-sharp script. It’s also a really nice story about how you can find your way back to someone, and not just give up when it all looks hopeless. I like that.

Dirty Dancing

I’ve watched it 20 times and it still feels like a warm hug every time. I think it’s something to do with escaping to another time, another place, that is away from the real world. Oh, and Patrick Swayze dancing. There’s that.

The Family Man

I haven’t included many Christmas movies on this list (although if you need those, I have recommendations) but The Family Man works at pretty much any time of year. It’s a weird combination of It’s a Wonderful Life and a body-switch comedy, where Nicholas Cage sees what his life would be like if hadn’t been a “success”. In the process of course, he realises true success is about family and friends. Sniff.

Legally Blonde

From its pink-clad lead character to the rousing girl-power theme, this movie refuses to allow you to feel gloomy. It’s happiness on a screen. I also get a kick out of seeing Alaric from Vampire Diaries playing the snooty boyfriend Warner in this movie.

Bridget Jones’ Diary

Confession: the last Bridget Jones movie made me cry and ALSO rage at the screen that she ended up with the wrong guy. But there are no such problems here – Bridget Jones Diary is perfect cheer-up movie fodder. The scene where she quits her job. The blue soup. The singing. It’s all just perfect.

Picture Credit: Shutterstock


So there you have it. The best movies to cheer you up – as selected by me. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if I’ve missed your favourite!


5 thoughts on “Twenty Movies to Cheer you Up”

  1. Love your choices, there are only two that I haven’t seen Crazy, Stupid Love and The First Time. Will see if I can find them to watch at some point. Having boys I tend to watch the cheesy films on my own and can’t blame them on them, but I do love ones like Guardians of the Galaxy that they love too.

    The sound track on that film takes me back to sitting on the backseat of my Dad’s car (minus seat belts as it didn’t have any and legally didn’t have to) and listening to the one cassette tape that he owned.

  2. I watched ‘Mirror Mirror’ yesterday – Julia Roberts being an evil stepmother queen, amazing costumes, a feisty princess, a nerdy but lovable prince, and funny dwarves. Definitely suggest as a good addition to your list.

    Thanks for the list. We were just looking for exactly this kind of film to beat the January blues.

  3. It’s not often there’s a list where i’ve seen pretty much all of them on the list. I’m a creature of habit. Would enjoy crazy, stupid, love to see more of Miss stone and mr gosling after loving La la land!

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