27 Films to Make You Smile

From My Neighbor Totoro to Wayne's World, here's twenty seven films to cheer you up when you feel down.

On Saturday, my beautiful and beloved hamster, Ryo-Ohki, passed away. He was such a good little boy, and a true companion. Sometimes, we all need a little cheering up, so here are my recommendations of films (in no particular order) to watch when you are feeling sad. I hope these films will make you smile.

1. My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)

This charming film is a series of animated vignettes about a family called the Yamadas from Studio Ghibli. Written and directed by Isao Takahata, My Neighbors the Yamadas is funny, a little silly, and you can’t help but smile when watching it.

Where to watch: Netflix

2. Paddington 2 (2017)

Both Paddington films are charming, but Paddington 2 is really a perfectly uplifting film. Everything about it is heart-warming and there are lots of laughs too.

Where to watch: Netflix and Amazon Prime Video

3. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

For when you need a laugh, This Is Spinal Tap is a mockumentary full of endlessly quotable one-liners and silly moments set against the unlikely background of a struggling metal group.

Where to watch: Available on Blu-ray

4. Okko’s Inn (2018)

Okko’s Inn tells the story of a little girl who becomes a junior innkeeper after her family is hit by tragedy. It’s peppered with as many funny moments as it is sentimental ones.

Where to watch: Available on Blu-ray

5. Spinster (2019)

Chelsea Peretti stars as Gaby, who navigates loneliness and womanhood. Set in beautiful Nova Scotia, Spinster tells an uplifting story full of charm, thoughtfulness, and a there are a few laughs along the way.

Where to watch: Available on Blu-ray

6. My Neighbour Totoro (1988)

My Neighbour Totoro is an animated masterpiece from Studio Ghibli. It is absolutely heart-warming and full of sentiment, and always a joy to watch no matter how many times you’ve already seen it.

Where to watch: Netflix

7. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

This John Hughes classic sees wise guy Bueller play hooky from school, which derails into a rambunctious adventure of a day.

Where to watch: Paramount Plus and Now TV

8. Matilda (1996)

Although there are plenty of dramatic moments in Matilda, Roald Dahl’s tale is an ultimately uplifting story of just desserts…

Where to watch: Netflix

9. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Another entry from Studio Ghibli, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a coming-of-age story where Kiki navigates the world as a new teen and new witch, balancing independence and responsibility with the help of her cat Jiji.

Where to watch: Netflix

10. Wayne’s World (1992)

Wayne’s World is a classic nineties buddy film starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. My partner and I love this film so much we dressed up as Wayne and Garth for Halloween once…

Wayne/Jordan (left) Garth/me (right)

Where to watch: Paramount Plus and NowTV

11. Up! (2009)

Although Up! might make you cry, it is a really uplifting story about new friendships and new adventures.

Where to watch: Disney+

12. The Inbetweeners 2 (2014)

If you’re in the mood for an hour and a half of silly jokes about poops and bums, this is the one for you.

Where to watch: ITVX

13. School of Rock (2003)

Jack Black’s comedy about a disguised substitute teacher using his students to form a band in order to win a competition. Morally dubious but funny.

Where to watch: Paramount Plus and NowTV

14. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Bill and Ted make everyone smile, those endearing lugheads.

Where to watch: StudioCanal

15. The Lego Movie (2014)

If you like Lego and you like movies, you’re in for a treat.

Where to watch: NowTV

16. The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

If you like Lego and you like movies… and you like Batman, you’re in for a treat. Will Arnett’s portrayal as the Batman is a close second to Michael Keaton for me.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

17. Ponyo (2008)

Ok, just one more Ghibli entry, I promise. Ponyo is a tiny little fishy in the sea and also a little girl with a round tummy. The film tells the story of friendship between Sōsuke and Ponyo, whilst Ponyo navigates her use of magic.

Where to watch: Netflix

18. Coco (2017)

Coco is a celebration of life and what lurks in the great beyond. It’s vibrant explosion of colour and music is a joy to watch and although it has its sad moments (it is Pixar), Coco is truly an uplifting film.

Where to watch: Disney+

19. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Into the Spider-Verse is a computer-animation masterpiece, featuring Miles Morales as he comes to grips with his new powers (or puberty).

Where to watch: NowTV

20. Zootropolis (2016)

Zootropolis is Disney’s take on a buddy cop movie, telling the story of an unlikely partnership between rabbit Judy Hoops and Nicke Wilde, a red fox.

Where to watch: Disney+

21. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

Mockumentary about vampires who live in Wellington, New Zealand, and in my opinion, one of the funniest films ever.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer

22. Ratatouille (2007)

Remy dreams of being a chef and forms an alliance with a famous restaurant’s garbage boy to get himself into the kitchen. It’s fast paced, fun, and delightfully uplifting.

Where to watch: Disney+

23. The Big Lebowski (1998)

Cult comedy classic from the Coen brothers, The Big Lebowski follows The Dude as he is mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, and finds his favourite rug defiled. This leads him to unwillingly embark on an offbeat adventure full of bowling and White Russians.

Where to watch: Available on Blu-ray

24. The Festival (2018)

Iain Morris’s festival-themed comedy is a cringe-filled caper about friendship, goats, Chafney bars, and beats.

Where to watch: Available on Blu-ray.

25. Paul (2011)

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s sci-fi comedy about two nerds who find an alien named Paul. It pokes fun at science fiction tropes, and features a great cast.

Where to watch: Netflix

26. Hot Fuzz (2007)

Although the whole Cornetto trilogy is a treat, I think Hot Fuzz is the funniest entry. You wanna be a big cop in a small town?

Where to watch: NowTV

27. Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975)

This parody of the legend of King Arthur is endlessly quotable, hilarious, and only further enhanced by its low budget and use of coconut shells.

Where to watch: Netflix

Update: Where to watch information correct as on 16th February 2023.

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