Movies where everyone is good and everything works out
December 21, 2019 9:32 PM   Subscribe

I like movies where none of the characters are villains and everything works out okay, for the simple reason that they make me feel good. Can you recommend me some good movies (or collections of movies) in this idiom? “No one is a villain” is a subjective bar, but some examples might be The Martian (they just want to get him home), My Neighbor Totoro and Mirai (families being families), Kiki’s Delivery Service (a witch grows up), and Inside Out (emotions being emotions). Thanks!
posted by Going To Maine to Media & Arts (55 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
That’s one of the many things I love about the original Mary Poppins.
posted by purenitrous at 9:52 PM on December 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Non-fiction ok? Like Apollo 13?
posted by Melismata at 10:14 PM on December 21, 2019

Non-fiction ok? Like Apollo 13?

Non-fiction is just fine! And Apollo 13 is a great example! I wasn’t really thinking about straight documentaries, but I would think that a lot of them would qualify otherwise.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:34 PM on December 21, 2019

The Peanut Butter Falcon

Edit: not everyone is good
posted by tinker at 10:36 PM on December 21, 2019

A documentary that might intrigue you is Touching the Void and the "villain" is nature. Or perhaps hubris. It can be a tough watch sometimes during the reenactments (how the heck do they get out of this? Oh, that looks painful!) but you have the comfort of knowing from the start that everyone survives because they are there on the screen talking about it!
posted by acidnova at 10:45 PM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

In a similar vein to Touching The Void, 127 Hours is fantastic and inspiring (though harrowing).
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:42 PM on December 21, 2019

Man On Wire.
posted by praemunire at 12:17 AM on December 22, 2019 [9 favorites]

Forrest Gump
posted by atlantica at 12:48 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

180 South - nice people travelling around doing outdoorsy things, at the end they meet up with one of the founders of Patagonia. All just good chill people. The scenery is beautiful and the soundtrack is great. Super relaxing.

See if you can find Usagi Drop - my library has it. Really sweet slice of life anime about a guy who adopts a little girl. (Aka Bunny Drop) Episodes however, not a movie. In general "slice of life" is an anime genre that would likely work for you. Let me know if you want reading recommendations.

The boat that rocked
Notting Hill
Lars and the Real Girl
50 First Dates
The Wilderpeople
While you were sleeping
My big fat Greek wedding
Jane Austen
Little Women
High fidelity
Oh brother where art thou
Big fish
Secondhand lions
Princess diaries
posted by jrobin276 at 3:20 AM on December 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Once (2007) springs to mind because I was on edge for the whole movie, expecting things to turn terrible.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:24 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mamma Mia!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:19 AM on December 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

The Fall is one of my favorite truly feel-good movies. There is one Big Bad (but he's imaginary), but everyone else is basically good and everything works out in the end and it's one of the few films that genuinely makes me feel better about humanity. It's such a sweet film, and it looks spectacular.
posted by biscotti at 4:42 AM on December 22, 2019 [8 favorites]

This is also true about another Miyazaki, Spirited Away. Some characters seem villainous at the beginning, but the story is about the heroine finding the goodness inside them.
posted by capricorn at 4:54 AM on December 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Two Paul Newman films:Mr. And Mrs. Bridge and Nobody's Fool. Also Driving Miss Daisy.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:12 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by coldhotel at 5:20 AM on December 22, 2019

My Cousin Vinny.
posted by Dolley at 5:31 AM on December 22, 2019 [7 favorites]

Happy Go Lucky with the amazing Sally Hawkins. There's really only one unpleasant person in the film, but he's ridiculous so not taken very seriously (played by the equally awesome Eddie Marsan).

Come to think of it, Mike Leigh's Another Year also fits the bill.
posted by 6thsense at 5:34 AM on December 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Only Yesterday
Roman Holiday
Before Sunrise
posted by AuroraSky at 5:44 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Several of the movies in this previous question of mine fit what you're looking for!
posted by phunniemee at 6:02 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Documentaries - He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin', about the New York dancer and choreographer Jacques D'Amboise and the dancing program he had in New York City schools for a while. Most of it is taken up by following the rehearsals and performance of a dance piece he's choreographing for a bunch of kids in the program. (Kevin Kline shows up to narrate the dance at the end, so that's a fun cameo.)

Another documentary - Rock The Boat, the story of a crew of HIV-positive sailors who entered the annual Trans-Pacific yacht race from California to Hawaii in the mid-90s.

Some older movies (Links to my own reviews) -

Meet Me In St. Louis, a story that's a slice of cozy life from the early 20th Century. Starring Judy Garland (and it's the origin of the song "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas").

I Know Where I'm Going! - a high-spirited English woman has ventured north to Scotland because she is engaged to a wealthy factory owner who lives on a remote island in the Scottish sea. However, she's forced to wait on the mainland because there's a spot of bad weather and the ferry to her fiance's island isn't running. So she finds a place to stay in a small town, where she meets and befriends some of the locals - including the handsome RAF officer who's also trying to get back to a nearby island. And as the bad weather drags on, she starts to reconsider her affections...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:24 AM on December 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Another Ghibli, but I don’t know that it’s Miyazaki, but My Neighbors the Yamadas is a wonderful movie about a Japanese family just trying to get through life together. It’s animated, and told through little vignettes. It’s not always the happiest movie, and there are bits where the characters come to grips with the fact that the life they lead isn’t necessarily the one they wanted, but that’s part of what makes it so believable, so real. Fantastic movie.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:02 AM on December 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

I love climbing documentaries for this reason:
Free Solo
Valley Uprising
The Dawn Wall
Cerro Torre: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell
posted by ellieBOA at 7:05 AM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Love Actually is my favorite feel good movie!
posted by katypickle at 7:07 AM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Cool Runnings - based on the true story of the Jamaica national bobsled team in the 1988 Winter Olympics

The Straight Story - based on the true story of Alvin Straight's 1994 journey across Iowa and Wisconsin on a lawn mower to reconcile with his estranged brother
posted by belladonna at 7:41 AM on December 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

Benny and Joon hasn't aged well in a lot of ways (SO MUCH 90s QUIRKINESS), but it's a good example of "everyone is trying their best to be good to everyone else, it's just really difficult for Reasons."
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:49 AM on December 22, 2019

The Dish
Apollo 11 (Documentary)
posted by nickggully at 7:53 AM on December 22, 2019

My Cousin Vinnie. There are people on different sides, but no actual bad guys. Bonus: one of the more realistic trial sequences in movie history. Plus Marisa Tomei.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 8:06 AM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
posted by Automocar at 10:04 AM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Not at all Miyazaki and although nobody's a villian, there's some unhappiness in the middle (of an intensity probably way beyond your experience) and realism like they don't make anymore in The Best Years of Our Lives from 1946.
posted by Rash at 10:34 AM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sleepless in Seattle is total comfort food.
posted by fshgrl at 12:41 PM on December 22, 2019

Can't quite believe nobody has yet recommended Jon Favreau's Chef, aka The Man Who Had A Nice Time.

(I very much enjoyed it)
posted by ominous_paws at 1:24 PM on December 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

The Barkley Marathons!
posted by just_ducky at 1:29 PM on December 22, 2019

Wbale Rider

One of the movies listed in the link phunniemee provided to their ask above is Made In Dagenham

Both of these are essentially about fighting the patriarchy.

Edit: there may be a bad/abusive person in Made in Dagenham. It's been awhile since I've seen it.
posted by acidnova at 2:57 PM on December 22, 2019

Also, Be Kind, Rewind. I mean, yeah, there's the bank trying to foreclose on the video shop, but everyone is so earnest and well intentioned throughout the movie, and the end is almost perfect.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:10 PM on December 22, 2019

Two Nancy Meyers movies does this for me - The Holiday and The Intern. She has a bunch of others but these are the ones I always watch when I come across them on TV.

I also love the Queen Latifah version of The Last Holiday.

Romy & Michele's High School Reunion
posted by Constance Mirabella at 5:04 PM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Weathering with you, by Makoto Shinkai is good.
posted by catbird at 6:56 PM on December 22, 2019

Brooklyn is the canonical example in my family, we're always on the lookout for movies like that. It doesn't have only nice people, but villainy is at a minimum.
posted by vasi at 9:06 PM on December 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Cast Away seems to fit the bill--like The Martian, or the climbing documentaries, it's a survival story. Plus, Tom Hanks!

Edit: actually, speaking of Tom Hanks, Catch Me If You Can doesn't *really* have a villain--there's Leo DiCaprio as a charming impostor and Tom Hanks as the FBI agent trying to track him down.
posted by pykrete jungle at 10:30 PM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sounds like a perfect set-up for The Hallmark Channel...
posted by summerstorm at 10:45 PM on December 22, 2019

Moonstruck is my go-to feel good movie. While there is some family tension and a fair amount of infidelity going on, in the end, the whole family is together and happy (albeit confused).
posted by kbar1 at 11:33 PM on December 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Orlando - person lives for 400 years, first as a man, then as a woman and through experiences, learns things about themselves, based on the novel by Virginia Woolf.
posted by girlpublisher at 5:13 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I wasn’t really thinking about straight documentaries, but I would think that a lot of them would qualify otherwise.

The Dawn Wall.

Basically a buddy documentary movie about climbing. Excellent climbing without the "are they gonna die?" aspect of Free Solo, because they're roped in the whole time. There's a short re-telling of a story where there is a "bad" guy but it's not really part of the film and it is only used to re-enforce how good the good guy is.
posted by bondcliff at 6:12 AM on December 23, 2019

Elf. Scrooged. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. A Christmas Story.
posted by talldean at 7:36 AM on December 23, 2019

ocean's 11
the greatest showman
the sting
fun mom dinner
office christmas party
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:50 AM on December 23, 2019

There are a lot of Golden Era Hollywood movies that fit the bill - I don't know if it's because of the vast amount of time that has passed, the Hays code, or just the way they made them, but movies by Frank Capra, Ernst Lubitsch, and Billy Wilder (among others) seem to have that low-stakes, high entertainment gloss to them. You can even jump back to Charlie Chaplain or Buster Keaton movies, where the premise is usually paper-thin.
posted by Dmenet at 9:39 AM on December 23, 2019

Dan in Real Life
In Her Shoes
The Proposal
posted by yawper at 10:37 AM on December 23, 2019

Also recommending Big Fish and Secondhand Lions. I haven't seen it in years, but Julie and Julia fits the bill, i'm pretty sure. the sisterhood of the travelling pants is exceptionally feel good.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:08 AM on December 23, 2019

You need romcoms! Can I suggest "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" and "Bridget Jones's Diary?"
posted by zeusianfog at 11:39 AM on December 23, 2019

Little Miss Sunshine
Safety Not Guaranteed
posted by DrAstroZoom at 11:48 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Sounds like a lot of Christmas movies? If you can get past the somewhat stupid plot, I found The Knight Before Christmas (on Netflix starring Vanessa Hudgens) very entertaining.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 6:41 AM on December 24, 2019

Diverted (TV movie - 2009)

On September 11th, 2001, 38 planes headed to New York City were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland, Canada. A town of 9,000 took in 7,000 passengers for 4 days until American airspace reopened.

(Not high art, but a really nice story.)
posted by Cris E at 9:47 PM on December 25, 2019

Booksmart was one of the best films of 2019, imho, and unusual for a teen comedy in that it vilifies none of its characters.

> Sleepless in Seattle is total comfort food.

I’d argue Meg Ryan is a total villain/psychopath in Sleepless in Seattle, and the film has to work pretty hard to guide you away from that idea. Still comfort food though!
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 1:13 PM on December 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty sure both Paterson and Jump Tomorrow meet your criteria. In any event, I am always seriously on the lookout for the kind of movies you describe, and I really really enjoyed both of these.

Also, not a movie, but if you're up for a short series (19 half-hour episodes), Detectorists is just wonderful. The villains aren't particularly villainy, and the main characters are just so great.

Other possibilities:

Stan and Ollie
The Big Sick
After Life
posted by kristi at 6:22 PM on December 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert has no villains and should be high on your list.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:51 AM on December 29, 2019

Hearts Beat Loud is a movie I am recommending lately. Lovely little movie about a father and a daughter in NYC. No villains and a nice ending and some great music.
posted by bove at 8:20 AM on December 30, 2019

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