The best movies to distract you during quarantine

Stop rewatching Contagion and put something a bit more wholesome into your eyeballs.

Steph Panecasio Former Editor
Steph Panecasio was an Editor based in Sydney, Australia. She knows a lot about the intersection of death, technology and culture. She's a fantasy geek who covers science, digital trends, video games, subcultures and more. Outside work, you'll most likely find her rewatching Lord of the Rings or listening to D&D podcasts.
Steph Panecasio
5 min read

It doesn't have to be all doom and gloom.

Heyday Films

Whether you're stressing about work, feeling under the weather or have spent too much time buying into social media hype, there's nothing quite so wholesome as a movie so relaxing your entire body feels at one with the lounge chair. 

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Sometimes it's just, well, nice to go easy. To watch something designed from start to finish to make you feel uplifted.

So log off for an hour or two -- Twitter isn't your friend and neither is that one Debbie Downer on your Facebook friend list. Time to get your fill of some positivity with these feel-good movies.

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Paddington 2


He's a teeny bear wearing a hat, what's not to love?

Heyday Films

Though sequels often get a bad rap, Paddington 2 is known for being one of the most wholesome films ever made. 

When Paddington (Ben Whishaw) stumbles across the perfect gift for his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) -- a gorgeous antique pop-up book of London -- he immediately decides to get a job to save up for it. But when the book is stolen and Paddington gets sent to prison, it's up to his family and friends (featuring the likes of Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters) to prove his innocence, rescue the book and unmask the true culprit. It's a tale of family, dedication and, naturally, marmalade.

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It's a film about rats and French food -- of course there's cheese.


Movies and snacks go hand in hand, so why not watch something that satisfies both cravings?

Ratatouille tells the story of Remy (Patton Oswalt), a small-town rat whose finely tuned taste buds make him the perfect candidate to become a chef, or would if people were willing to let him anywhere near a kitchen. Escaping to the big city, Remy finds an unlikely partner in Linguine (Lou Romano), a garbage boy with no cooking skill whatsoever -- that is, until Remy secretly lends a hand. With Remy's talent and Linguine's human body, they make the perfect pair. Until a food critic comes to put them both to the test.

My Neighbor Totoro


Setting standards for anthropomorphic public transport incredibly high.

Studio Ghibli

You could watch almost any Studio Ghibli film to relax, but there's just something about My Neighbor Totoro that does the job.

When sisters Satsuke (Dakota Fanning) and Mei (Elle Fanning) move to the countryside with their father to be close to their sick mother, they stumble into a magical world beyond their wildest expectations. From hitching a ride on the iconic Catbus to befriending some bounding forest spirits, the sisters discover there's a lot more to the countryside than meets the eye. When Mei goes missing, it's up to Satsuke and the forest spirits to rescue her.



That'll do, pig. That'll do.

Kennedy Miller Productions

There's just something about talking animals that gets us all feeling good -- and who am I to argue?

Babe is an orphaned piglet who struggles to find his place after being adopted by the Hoggett Family (James Cromwell and Magda Szubanski). The cat stays inside, the dogs herd sheep, the sheep produce wool -- but what use does a pig have beyond Christmas dinner? Finding his place seems impossible, until Farmer Hoggett realizes Babe's aptitude for sorting and herding. He signs Babe up for a local sheep-herding competition, where it's up to Babe to prove that the impossible really is possible.

Billy Elliot


And plié.

Working Title Films

If you want something a bit more electric, clear the floor for some dancing.

Growing up in rural England, Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell) was expected to go to school, learn boxing and eventually enter the mines like his dad. But when failed boxing classes morph into secret ballet classes with dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson (Julie Walters), Billy's newfound love of dancing is the thing that keeps him going -- something his family and friends wouldn't ever understand. When Billy gets the chance to audition for London's Royal Ballet School, he has to prove once and for all that boys and ballet do mix.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse


The gang's all here.

Sony Pictures Animation

Going out on a limb here to say that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one of the best animated movies you'll ever have the good fortune to see.

When teenager Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is bitten by a radioactive spider on the subway, he begins transforming into the Spider-Man we all know and love -- except he's not the only Spider-Man. Not by a long shot. In a story that spans not only distance but also time and space, Miles teams up with alternate universe versions of Spider-Man (including the likes of John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage and Jake Johnson) in order to defeat the evil Kingpin.

The Princess Bride


As you wish.

Act III Communications

Designed as a tale to tell when someone's unwell, The Princess Bride is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon in.

When Buttercup (Robin Wright), a beautiful farm owner, loses the love of her life, Westley (Cary Elwes), to pirates, she believes her life to be over. But after agreeing to marry the spoiled Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon), she finds herself kidnapped by an unlikely band of criminals: a Sicilian plotter named Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), a master swordsmith named Inigo Montoya who's hell-bent on avenging his father's murder (Mandy Patinkin) and a gentle but strong giant named Fezzik (Andre the Giant). 

Mrs. Doubtfire


Almost anything featuring Robin Williams is guaranteed to make you smile.

20th Century Fox

You'll never look at a cream face mask the same way again.

Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is an out-of-work actor who just got divorced from his wife (Sally Field). The worst part? He can no longer see his beloved children, despite the fact that they're in dire need of someone to take care of them after school. To circumvent this custody loophole, Daniel turns himself into Mrs. Doubtfire -- a Scottish nanny with a lilting voice and enough prosthetics to deck out a theater group.



Based on Roald Dahl's classic book of the same name. 

Jersey Films

Best not eat chocolate cake while watching this one -- all other snacks are fair game.

Matilda (Mara Wilson) loves to read. She loves it more than almost anything in this world, because books are her escape when her rotten parents (Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman) pick on her. And it turns out she's learned a lot from that escape, because when she finally gets enrolled in school, her genius-level intellect and telekinetic powers are the only things standing between her and the cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull (Pam Ferris).

Remember the Titans


Even if you're not a sports fan, it's worth a watch.

Walt Disney Pictures

Based on a true story, this film will have everyone cheering for the Titans by the end.

With a soaring soundtrack that'll heft up your spirits without even trying, Remember the Titans tells the tale of a high school football team in 1970s Virginia. When the appointment of an African-American coach, Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), makes waves in the community, the newly integrated team battles racial prejudice and anger in its attempt to come together and win the state championship. 

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