The definition of a ‘bad day’ is indeed subjective. With the daily news of wars, pandemics, climate change and other terrifying events bombarding our devices, we barely have time for respite. Top it off with professional and personal worries, anxieties and problems, and we find ourselves trudging down the slippery slope.
After a long, bad day, what we often need is a bit of respite from the daily absurdities of life. Netflix provides a much-loved audio-visual “escape”, which often helps us unwind and relax. The streaming service offers a warm hug on melancholy days within its giant repository of content, both original and classics. These feel-good films are indeed quite uplifting, from animated surreal realms to absurd humour in real-life situations.
If you are having a bad day, do not worry. Watch any of these five films to feel better and keep your worries at bay, if only for a moment:
5 best films to watch on Netflix if you are having a bad day
5. The Adam Project (Shawn Levy, 2022)
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Walker Scobell, Jennifer Garner and Zoe Saldana, among others, The Adam Project has had one of the biggest debuts on Netflix ever since its release this year. The film is often compared to Back to the Future; the film comprises a plethora of sci-fi elements wrapped within a heartwarming tale of family, love, acceptance, and self-discovery.
The film revolves around the titular Adam, who travels back in time to meet his younger self. Together, they travel back even further in time to meet their dead father and find closure; this quest helps Adam come to terms with himself and his past and move forward.
4. 13 Going on 30 (Gary Winick, 2004)
A gawky 13-year-old teenage Jenna yearns for popularity and a boyfriend. After being humiliated at her birthday party, she wishes she were 30 and a sprinkle of magic dust grants her wishes. However, with the heart of a 13-year-old, Jenna must navigate through adulthood and understand how to make correct decisions.
Starring Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner, the film adheres to cliches in teenage cinema. A comical reflection of teenage desires and fantasies, the film juxtaposes childhood innocence against adult complications as the protagonist finally comes to terms with whatever she wants in life.
3. Rescued by Ruby (Katt Dhea, 2022)
One of the very few Netflix Original films to receive a 100 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Rescued by Ruby is an inspirational and uplifting story based on the real-life events of a Rhode Island state police K-9. The film follows the journey of the titular Ruby, a naughty shelter puppy adopted by a state trooper who aims to train her for the forces.
Based on real-life incidents, this feel-good film chronicles the antics of a mischievous yet adorable dog who touched many lives. Quite recently, the real-life Ruby has been euthanised due to “sudden”, “untreatable” illnesses and has been honoured by the Rhode Island state police, as she should.
2. Kung Fu Panda (Mark Osborne, John Stevenson, 2008)
Starring Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen and others as voice actors, the film chronicles the escapades of an adorable panda named Po who enjoys gorging on food, especially dumplings. Unexpectedly, his fate leads him to train as the Dragon Warrior, who must find his true purpose and is the last hope for sustaining the art of Kung Fu, all the while preparing to battle against some of the deadliest adversaries.
On days when one feels powerless and empty, a film like Kung Fu Panda can help mend their spirits in several ways. With outlandish humour, brilliant and vivid imagery and heartwarming moments, the anthropomorphic animals convey messages of self-love, acceptance, belief and confidence. While the franchise has two other films and several other shows, the first film will always remain special. It enunciates Po’s unwavering determination and faith in himself that helps him achieve the unachievable.
1. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
Chihiro and her parents find themselves in a supernatural realm inhabited by otherworldly beings where the parents turn into pigs for gluttony. Chihiro soon enlists the help of a shape-shifting dragon boy named Haku to free her parents from the evil clutches of the witch named Yubaba guarding the spiritual realm.
One of the most spectacular and surreal Studio Ghibli productions, the film was the first-ever non-English language hand-drawn film to win the Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards. The film carries an underlying message of innocence and determination in triumphing the impossible, a visual delight for the audience. It also serves as an escape from the drudgery of everyday life and is a great way to distract one’s troubled mind.