20 Happy Films You Can Stream Now To Help Take Your Mind Off Lockdown

All the best films on Netflix, Disney+ and other free services to help pass the time indoors.

Between all the ups and downs around the (seemingly endless) US presidential election, plus the fact that most of us are back in lockdown at a time when the nights are drawing in earlier and earlier, there’s no denying it – this week has been a bit of a slog.

What we could all probably do with is some escapism, particularly when so many of us are stuck indoors.

To help take your mind off things, we’ve rounded up 20 films now available to watch on Netflix, Disney+ and other free streaming platforms, that should help bring a smile to your face, even under the most depressing of circumstances...

La La Land (Netflix)


Another Day Of Sun is pretty much the opposite of what we’re feeling right now, both in terms of the national mood and, indeed, the winter weather, so La La Land could be just the thing to perk you up.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were both nominated for Academy Awards for their performances in this LA-based musical (with the former being named Best Actress that year), but to be honest, we’re more about that opening group routine than anything else.

And once the film is over, that infamous Oscars blunder is waiting for you on YouTube, if you need an additional chuckle.

Matilda (Netflix)


Who among us couldn’t do with Miss Honey coming and saving them, right now?

A family classic from the 90s, Matilda delivers the perfect mix of nostalgia and escapism, and if nothing else, we love seeing the unlikely combo of Danny DeVito and Pam Ferris sharing the screen.

10 Things I Hate About You (Disney+)


10 Things I Hate About You really is the romantic comedy that has it all. Heath Ledger performing a musical number on the high school bleachers. Allison Janney penning an erotic novel. That weird bit where Julia Stiles dances on a table at a house party, about which we’re still not clear how we’re supposed to feel. And of course, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s smiling face.

This film is our usual go-to when we need cheering up, so it could well be time to break it out.

The Little Mermaid (Disney+)


Disney+ has the entire back catalogue of all your favourite animated classics from back in the day, so you can take your pick.

We’ve gone with The Little Mermaid on this list because it has one of the best soundtracks and when it comes to escapism, it doesn’t get much better than a film largely set under the sea.

Moana (Disney+)


Alternatively, for anyone who prefers their Disney films to be a little more recent, Disney+ has you covered in that instance, too.

We’re recommending Moana over the more obvious Frozen or Frozen 2, not necessarily because one is better than the other, but because as we head into winter, wouldn’t you rather spend an hour and a half staring at a gorgeous sunny backdrop to take your mind off things?

Legally Blonde (Netflix)

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Legally Blonde is the romantic comedy that’s got it all – big laughs, great outfits and a really important message about not underestimating people based on appearances and baseless stereotypes.

Oh, and there’s also the “bend and snap” scene, which is forever iconic.

Clueless (Netflix)


Even more old school is the teen comedy Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone, the late Brittany Murphy and a pre-Marvel Paul Rudd (who, incidentally, was just as dreamy in 1995 as he is in 2020).

What you mightn’t know about Clueless is that it’s actually based on Jane Austen’s Emma, so you can brag about being literary once it’s over, too.

Hitch (Netflix)


Hitch sees Will Smith playing a successful “date doctor” who gives men advice with their love lives, only to find himself – surprise, surprise – without a map when he falls for gossip columnist Sara Melas, played by Eva Mendes.

Admittedly, Hitch is a little on the predictable side, but it’s totally charming, and who can honestly say what they need in times like this is to be challenged?

The Holiday (Netflix)

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And speaking of pleasant but unchallenging watches, the pinnacle of the genre is quite probably The Holiday, which sees Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet swapping their lives across the Atlantic.

On one hand, it might be a teenie bit too early to break out a film with Christmas as such a central plot point, but on the other… Jude Law as Mr Napkin Head may well be our best bet at everything feeling alright again.

Mrs Doubtfire (Disney+)


It might have been Good Will Hunting that earned Robin Williams his Oscar, but our favourite performance of his is probably Mrs Doubtfire – a film with countless quotable lines, a stellar cast (Sally Field!) and one of the most heartwarming closing speeches in the history of family comedies.

Easy A (Netflix)


There’s a lot we could say about how smart and funny Easy A is, but we could just say… Emma Stone! Stanley Tucci! Patricia Clarkson! Penn Badgley! Lisa Kudrow! Amanda Bynes! Emma Stone again because she’s just that good!

Easy A is a high school comedy with a brilliant message, that’s also full of laugh-out-loud moments in almost every scene, if you’ve officially exhausted Mean Girls, this is definitely worth checking out.

Booksmart (Netflix)


Booksmart tells the story of two BFFs about to go off to uni, only to realise they didn’t quite get everything they wanted to get out of high school, and pledge to let their hair down for one last night out.

Not only is it laugh-out-loud throughout (it’s definitely one for fans of Bridesmaids or Blockers), the friendship at the centre of it all is brilliantly portrayed by its lead stars.

It’s also full of cathartic moments for the two central characters, who you can live vicariously through for an hour and a half.

Pitch Perfect (Netflix)

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A film about unlikely friendships and women supporting one another to reach a shared goal that also features Glee-esque musical numbers including Party In The USA, Since U Been Gone and Eternal Flame? Sign. Us. Up.

The two sequels that followed are also on Netflix but a follow-up that’s legions worse than part one probably isn’t what anybody needs to be sitting down to watch right now.

Dreamgirls (Netflix)

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Alternatively if you’re in the mood for a musical that’s a bit more traditional, Dreamgirls might be a safe bet.

This big-screen version of the stage musical is packed full of dramatic numbers you know and love from amazing performers like Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé and Eddie Murphy, not to mention more sequins than an entire series of Strictly Come Dancing put together.

The Sound Of Music (Disney+)

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We’ll admit this is not going to be a choice for everyone, but if in dark times your antidote is turning the pep all the way up to 100, then Julie Andrews spurring you on with numbers like I Have Confidence and My Favourite Things might be worth a try.

And while many have turned their nose up at The Sound Of Music in the past, it’s important to remember that it’s a story of one woman who defied convention and expectations in her pursuit of happiness and love.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (Netflix)

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is like Gen Z’s version of a John Hughes film. Lana Condor is absolutely adorable as leading lady Lara Jean, while Noah Centieno is… well he’s Noah Centieno, surely that’s enough?

And, if the Subway product placement doesn’t put you off too much, there’s also a sequel, which debuted earlier in 2020.

The Muppet Movie (Disney+)


Those opening strums of the banjo in Rainbow Connection really are a tonic, aren’t they?

The Muppet Movie was Kermit and the gang’s first venture into the big screen back in the 1970s, but even at its most dated, we still can’t help but smile for every single second of this film.

A Royal Night Out (My 5)


Ahhh, remember nights out? Good, weren’t they? Apparently even the Queen thought so, as evidenced in this 2015 film about a supposed clandestine night on the tiles for the Queen and Princess Margaret on VE Day back in 1945.

Definitely ones for fans of The Crown who are counting down the days until season four finally debuts.

Inside Out (Disney+)


Where Pixar really excels is with films like Inside Out, which truly have something for viewers of all ages, that you can enjoy with the whole family.

This film explores people and their emotions, which is probably pretty apt. Be warned, though, this is a Pixar film, so you will also find yourself audibly blubbing at least once.

Mamma Mia! (Netflix)

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Or, of course, maybe on the darkest of days, what you need is to bring out the big guns.

We’re talking Meryl Streep jumping into the splits during Dancing Queen, Julie Walters singing Take A Chance On Me out of the corner of her mouth, Christine Baranski giving Does Your Mother Know? everything she’s got, Pierce Brosnan singing… actually, maybe scratch that last one.

And then, once that final rendition of Waterloo is done and dusted, you can hit play on Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!, and get taken away to an ABBA-infused Greek paradise all over again.


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