Written by Malin Evita
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it can become exhausting to watch all of the tear-jerking, devastating movies that it seems most movies with people of historically marginalised backgrounds tend to be these days. I love that diversity is blooming and that unheard stories are finally getting told. But sometimes, I also just want to watch some feel-good movies that aren’t about pain and trauma but still have non-stereotypical, diverse representation. Here is a list, varying from comedies to romance and family films that are heart-warming hits and easily accessible, with great, three-dimensional characters from various identities and paths of life. Some might make you still shed a tear, but in the end, they are all positive movies that will hopefully give you the digitally emotional hug you deserve.
Ali & Ratu Ratu Queens (2021)
Dramedy | Available on Netflix | Watch the Trailer
Directed by Lucky Kuswandi | Written by Ginatri S. Noer & Muhammad Zaidy | Starring Iqbaal Ramadhan, Aurora Ribero, Marissa Anita, Nirina Zubir
After his father passes away, Ali (Ramadhan) sets out for New York on a quest to find his estranged mother. But that won’t be his only discovery, as love and deeper connections begin to unravel in unexpected places with unexpected people.
Finding ‘Ohana (2021)
Adventure | Available on Netflix | Watch the Trailer
Directed by Jude Weng | Written by Christina Strain | Starring Kea Peahu, Alex Aiono, Kelly Hu
A summer in rural Oahu takes an exciting turn for two Brooklyn-raised siblings when a journal pointing to long-lost treasure sets them on an epic adventure with new friends and leads them to reconnect with their Hawaiian heritage.
Sylvie’s Love (2020)
Sylvie’s Love (2020) Romance | Available Amazon Prime Video | Watch the Trailer
Written and Directed by Eugene Ashe | Starring Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Rége-Jean Page
This romantic drama is about a summer fling and rekindling. Sylvie (Thompson) first met Robert (Asomugha), an aspiring saxophonist, one summer when he took a summer job at her dad’s record store in Harlem. At first, it was a summer romance. But years later, as their paths cross again, they find their feelings and harmony to be intact.
The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020)
Comedy | Available on Netflix | Watch the Trailer
Written and Directed by Radha Blank | Starring Radha Blank, Haskiri Velazquez, Peter Y. Kim, TJ Atoms
Radha (Blank) is a struggling playwright living in New York who is desperate to get her breakthrough as an artist before she turns 40. So she decides to reinvent herself as a rapper – now swimming between theatre and the hip hop scene, looking for a way to make people hear her voice.
Saint Frances (2019)
Dramedy | Available on Netflix | Watch the Trailer
Directed by Alex Thompson | Written by Kelly O’Sullivan | Starring Kelly O’Sullivan, Ramona Edith Williams, Charin Alvarez, Lily Mojekwu
This charming, feminist indie film follows Bridget (O’Sullivan) is a nanny in her 30’s, struggling with where she is at in her life. After recently having an abortion following an unplanned pregnancy, she is hired to look after a six-year-old girl, where an unlikely friendship develops, and a powerful yet lovely story unfolds.
Late Night (2019)
Satirical Comedy | Available on Netflix | Watch the Trailer
Directed by Nisha Ganatra | Written by Mindy Kaling | Starring Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, Hugh Dancy, John Lithgow
Legendary late-night host Kathryn Newbury’s (Thompson) career hits a bump when she, due to her all-male writing room, is accused of not supporting other women. She immediately hires Molly (Kaling) onto her team. Not taken on kindly by her male colleagues who call her a diversity hire, Molly becomes determined to show that she is so much more than that, and the pursuit of saving a dwindling host’s show ensues.
Coming of Age Dramedy | Available on Netflix | Watch the Trailer
Directed by Olivia Wilde | Written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman | Starring Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein
They are at the cusp of graduating high school when book-smart students Amy (Dever) and Molly (Feldstein) realise all of the stuff they have missed out on from having their heads stuck in books. That’s when they decide to cram four years of experiences into one explosive last night.
Always Be My Maybe (2019)
Romcom | Available on Netflix | Watch the Trailer
Directed by Nahnatchka Khan | Written by Randall Park, Ali Wong, Michael Golamco | Starring Randall Park, Ali Wong, James Saito, Michelle Buteau
Sasha (Wong) and Marcus (Park) are childhood friends who grew up next to each other. Over the years, they grew a close friendship, and everyone always thought they would end up together. But an incident would drive them apart. Only 15 years later, they reconnect and start to wonder if they are could be each other’s future maybe.
Coming of Age Drama | Available on Netflix | Watch the Trailer
Directed by Sarah Gavron | Written by Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson | Starring Bukky Bakray, Kosar Ali, D’angelou Osei Kissiedu, Shaneigha-Monik Greyson, Ruby Stokes, Tawheda Begum, Afi Okaidja, Anastasia Dymitrow
Rocks (Bakray) is a young teenage girl living in a London council flat who when abandoned by her mother, suddenly finds herself needing to care for her younger brother (Kissiedu), ultimately with no other choice than to live on the street. This is a story of resilience, friendships, and taking on an unexpected life at unexpected times, filled with so much heart.
Girls Trip (2017)
Comedy | Available to Rent on Demand | Watch the Trailer
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee | Written by Kenya Barris & Tracy Oliver | Starring Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Larenz Tate, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Mike Colter
This comedy road trip movie with a dazzling ensemble cast follows four lifelong friends as they reconnect over a road trip to New Orleans annual Essence Festival. Friendships and wild sides are brought back to life through booze, dancing, flirts and brawling laughs.
Drama | Available on Netflix | Watch the Trailer
Written and Directed by Barry Jenkins | Starring Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali, Ashton Sanders, Alex R. Hibbert
Told across three timelines, this ground-breaking master piece tells the story of Chiron (Hibbert, Sanders, Rhodes), a Black gay boy/teen/man living in Miami. With the guidance of Juan (Ali), Chiron begins to grow into his own person, exploring his identity and sexuality while being faced with the challenges of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
Dramedy | Available on Amazon Prime Video | Watch the Trailer
Directed by Sean Baker | Written by Baker and Chris Bergoch | Starring Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, James Ransone
When Sin-Dee (Rodriguez), a trans sex worker, finds out that her boyfriend/pimp (Ransone) has been cheating on her, she, alongside her best friend Alexandra (Taylor) – also a trans sex worker, sets out to find the bastard and teach him a lesson. It’s a thrill ride filled with joy, emotions, and utter beauty.
You might also like…
Written by Malin Evita
Evita is the host and producer of the podcast, Instagram curator, and a writer focused on script, cultural commentary, and film analysis. She is a Vocal grand prize winner and recently finished studying Professional Writing at college. Through storytelling, she aims to amplify empathy and human connectivity.