10 Feel-Good Documentaries To Elevate Your Spirits

The current state of the world is making many of us feel as though there is very little to be very happy about. Drinking in a continuous drip-feed of global chaos can certainly take a toll on our mental health, and the majority of us are looking for some respite from the news.

And while we can't and shouldn't ignore what's going on, setting some time aside to do something enjoyable if possible, can only be a good thing. An easy and fun thing to do is to sit down and watch some feel-good, true stories: documentaries that move us, inspire us, lift our spirits and affirm our belief in humanity.  

Below, we have rounded up 10 of the best feel-good documentaries that are sure to lift your spirits even if only for a brief moment.

11 Feel-Good Documentaries To Elevate Your Spirits

1. Becoming: Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama’s story, which takes her from her childhood in Chicago through law school, corporate life, a chance meeting with a handsome, ambitious fellow lawyer and then all the way to the White House, is incredible inspirational and powerful stuff. She documented most of it in her fantastic memoir, which this Netflix documentary jumps off from, following Michelle as she promotes the book with arena tours, giving us a fly on the wall look at what it is like to be her. 

Where can I watch it? Streaming on Netflix

2. My Octopus Teacher

The winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary last year, My Octopus Teacher is a heartwarming and spirit-lifting film documenting the relationship between director Craig Foster and a wild octopus, in the waters of South Africa. This film will remind you of the beauty of our ocean and its creatures, as well as explore the importance of forging connection with nature for our mental health. 

Where can I watch it? Streaming on Netflix

3. The Rescue 

It starts off tense: The Rescue is the story of the thirteen young members of a soccer team and their coach who were trapped in a cave in Thailand when flash flooding stopped them from exiting. But we don’t think it’s a spoiler alert to mention that this incredibly compelling documentary has a happy ending, and it’s truly inspirational to watch how a team of amateur cave divers from around the world – including one from Adelaide, South Australia – teamed together to come up with an ingenious way to rescue these frightened kids. 

Where can I watch it? Streaming on Disney+ 

4. Dads

This documentary, directed by actor and filmmaker Bryce Dallas-Howard – the daughter of Ron Howard, of Happy Days and A Beautiful Mind fame – does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a celebration of fatherhood in many of its forms: Bryce interviews dads, both famous and not famous, from all around the world, to get a portrait of what their life looks like.

That includes dads including her own, and her brother, who is about to become a father as the series films, as well as actors including Will Smith and comedian Patton Oswalt, who was a single father after the loss of his wife. There are also dads from around the world, including Japan, and Bryce digs into the complexities of fatherhood with nuance and care. Warning: this doco will lift your spirits but it will also make you cry – and make you want to call your dad. 

Where can I watch it? Streaming now on AppleTV+ 

5. Homecoming  

Yes, a concert documentary can be feel-good. In fact, it can be some of the most feel-good viewing out there. Because remember that feeling of elation and joy that you get from being in the crowd at an incredible, genre-shifting concert? Watching a well-made documentary can give you exactly the same serotonin hit.

And that’s what Homecoming does, giving you both a phenomenal behind-the-scenes view of how Beyonce put together her iconic Coachella performance in 2018, as well as uninterrupted footage of the actual concert. The best of both worlds; you’ll want to jump off the couch and dance.   

Where can I watch it? Streaming now on Netflix

6. Planet Earth  

Even just hearing David Attenborough’s dulcet voice is enough to lift our spirits, but couple that with some of the most extraordinary footage of the natural world and you have a winner for one of the best feel-good documentaries around. Marvel at our incredible planet and the flora and fauna who thrive here while watching this series. 

Where can I watch it? Streaming on Amazon

7. The Pixar Story

Pixar movies are feel-good, so it stands to reason that The Pixar Story, a documentary that looks at the film company that made the movies you loved as kids (and still love today), including Toy Story, Coco and Inside Out, will also remind you of your childhood and of the wonder you found in those stories. Disney+ also has a more recent docuseries called Inside Pixar, which takes a deep look into this animation studio, for the superfans out there. 

Where can I watch it? Streaming on Disney+

8. Summer of Soul  

Nominated for an Oscar this year, Summer of Soul is an electrifying documentary about the other festival happening in the summer of 1969: The Harlem Culture Festival. Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, BB King… All performed and all can be watched in this incredible film celebrating Black music and culture.

Where can I watch it? Streaming on Disney+ 

9. Get Back

A good companion piece to Summer of Soul is Get Back, the three part Beatles documentary from director Peter Jackson, strung together from never-before-seen footage in the recording studio of John, Paul, Ringo and George as they worked on songs and prepared for their famous rooftop concert. Each of these films is a true delight for fans of music, culture and, of course, The Beatles, providing a peek behind the curtain at true lyrical genius, as well as the opportunity to watch these incredibly famous figures in music history in moments of relaxation and repose. 

Where can I watch it? Streaming on Disney+

10. The Minimalists: A Documentary About The Important Things 

Ever wanted to cut stuff out of your life? The Minimalists is the documentary for you. And the reason we’re putting it on this feel-good list is that just by watching this Joshua and Ryan, this popular pair of life-organisers, will make you feel calmer and more content. They preach a gospel of minimalism and simplicity, predicated on only keeping with you – both physically and emotionally – the things that you really, truly need. It’s inspiring stuff and contains important lessons we all need to learn. 

Where can I watch it? Streaming on Netflix 

Enjoyed this? Here are 10 Feel-Good Movies to Boost Your Mood

Liquid error (templates/article line 123): Error in tag 'section' - 'featured-collection-sheet-set' is not a valid section type

Welcome to Bed Threads

It looks like you’re in the United States. Enjoy…

  • Free shipping US-wide
  • Easy returns
  • Plus, subscribe for $15 off your first order

Your Order (0)

Free Standard Shipping
Your cart is currently empty.
Not sure where to start?

You May Also Like


    0 out of 5, from reviews

    0 out of 5, from reviews

    0 out of 5, from reviews

    0 out of 5, from reviews

    0 out of 5, from reviews