2022 had its fair share of serious dramas and tense-filled blockbusters, but it also gave us a handful of films that genuinely warmed our hearts. Below, we’ve picked out some of our favorite feel-good movies of 2022.
9. “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”
When widowed cleaning woman Ada Harris (Lesley Manville) comes into some unexpected money, she decides to go to Paris and buy her own custom-made Dior dress. She’s met with doubt and hostility, but perseveres, finding a new sense of empowerment and (perhaps) true love. Its brand of “feel good” is more subdued than most of the films on this list, but it’s still a very heartwarming tale.
8. “I Used to Be Famous”
Washed-up former boy band star Vince (Ed Skrein) starts jamming with young Stevie (Leo Long) at the local market and their collaboration becomes a viral hit. Will this be Vince’s ticket back to the big time? And will Stevie’s overprotective mother let him do the one thing he loves best? This upbeat music drama hits a lot of familiar notes, but also a few unexpected ones.
7. “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts”
While so many actors from the franchise have sadly passed away, including Robbie Coltrane, who died on Oct. 14, it’s a joy to watch the cast meet up again in this Jan. 1 release from HBO Max. While not technically a “movie” per se, it’s great to see that Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are still so close, and arguably even better to see how overjoyed Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter are to see them again. (J.K. Rowling appears in a taped segment, but does not take part in the reunion itself.)
6. “Wedding Season”
Singles Ravi (Suraj Sharma) and Asha (Pallavi Sharda) are tired of their families’ constant matchmaking efforts, so they agree to be each other’s wedding date for the rest of that year’s “wedding season.” Naturally, the fake romance soon becomes real in this warm comedy that’s several degrees deeper (and better acted) than your average rom-com. Extra points for great supporting characters and one of the funniest wedding moments ever.
5. “Top Gun: Maverick”
One of the most-seen movies of the year is also one of the most rewatchable, as “Top Gun: Maverick” delivers on the high-octane action many hoped for from the long-awaited sequel but also packs an emotional punch in the best way. If you don’t tear up when Miles Teller says to Tom Cruise, “It’s what my dad would’ve done,” are you even human?
4. “Turning Red”
Mei (Rosalie Chiang) is horrified when she begins randomly transforming into a giant Red Panda, before she realizes all her classmates love the panda. After an epic, stadium-size clash with her mother Ming (Sandra Oh), both learn to embrace the panda within and love their messy, sometimes out-of-control selves. Group hug, everyone!
3. “DC’s League of Super Pets”
When Superman (John Krasinski) is kidnapped, it’s up to his equally super-powered dog Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) to rescue him. Krypto is joined by a group of pets with newly acquired powers, including Ace (Kevin Hart), who must take down the villain behind it all (a delightfully evil Kate McKinnon). Not only is the day saved, but life lessons are learned, and hugs are delivered as plentifully as laughs. And did we mention that Keanu Reeves voices Batman?
2. “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
One of the year’s most celebrated movies — it’s been nominated for 11 Oscars — is also one of its most moving. As if seeing defeated laundromat owners Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) and Waymond (Ke Huay Quan) realize their full potential and rediscover their love for each other didn’t have you misting up, we were also blown away by Joy/Jobu Tupaki (Stephanie Hsu) re-embracing life and her mother. And finding out that even Jamie Lee Curtis’ vindictive IRS agent has a heart.
S. S. Rajamouli’s epic has its share of heartache and loss, but damn, it feels great to see leads Ram Charan and N. T. Rama Rao Jr. become best friends and burst into exuberant dance to “Naatu Naatu” as their colonial oppressors fume on the sidelines. When they finally rise up and defeat their enemy, it’s just as glorious, as is their joyous dance at the end.