Thanks to our recent collective obsession with true crime, the documentary genre has become almost synonymous with dark and twisted stories. (Thanks, Making a Murderer.) It's easy to forget documentaries are capable of inspiring the entire spectrum of human emotion, including joy. As proven by these 17 docs on Netflix to watch when you need cheering up, true-life movies can be just as effective as a laugh-out-loud comedy. From inspirational true stories to quirky slices of life, no matter what you need cheering up from, there's a documentary for you.
Checking into the Netflix documentary section, it can be a bit daunting to try to find anything that won't give you nightmares about serial killers or Nazis. But, if you do a little digging, the happy documentaries are there. There are music docs — filled with concerts and behind the scenes footage — and uplifting biographies. There are even documentaries on Netflix that are legitimately just long puppy videos. Have a big test stressing you out? Try watching Daughters of Destiny to get your studying mojo back. Struggling with the meaning of life? Babies will remind you not to take everything so seriously. Want a laugh? Press play on Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno Live!. I could go on, but I'll just let the other movies on the list speak for themselves.
If Iris, the documentary on the style icon Iris Apfel, doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will. Apfel's clothes are bright enough to light up your day, and her joy is infectious. A must watch no matter what mood you're in.
It's an entire documentary about babies. Need I say more?
3'Daughters Of Destiny'
Daughters of Destiny follows the story of students at the Shanti Bhavan School, a unique place offering education to children in India who wouldn't have access to it otherwise. Yes, it reflects a somewhat tragic reality, but it's also a story of hope.
4'Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work'
Love her or hate her, you have to admit, Joan Rivers was hilarious. And that's why Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is guaranteed to make you LOL.
See the powers of Facebook being used for good as twins separated at birth, Samantha Futerman and Anaïs Bordier, come together for an extraordinary reunion in Twinsters.
6'Jiro Dreams Of Sushi'
If you're the kind of person who loves the Food Network, then Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the documentary you need in your life.
7'Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise'
Maya Angelou's life and artistic journey is not an all happy one, but, as told in Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, will inspire you to embrace your bad days and turn them into something beautiful.
There's something about seeing a woman be completely herself that's incredibly fun, and Queen Mimi is no exception.
9'The Drop Box'
A movie about a man who creates a "Drop Box" for abandoned babies isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you want to be cheered up, but seeing these babies provided with a home is, in the end, a heartwarming story.
10'Isabella Rosselini's Green Porno Live!'
Awkward, strange, and very informative, Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno Live! is just too wacky not to cheer you up.
Want to get away from your problems? I promise that entering the world of Lucha Libre wrestling by watching Lucha Mexico will take your mind off anything.
The Wolfpack isn't your average, light-hearted romp. The movie, about brothers who grew up confined to their family apartment, is not for the faint of heart, but rest assured, despite the intense subject matter, the film will leave you feeling hopeful.
13'Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Film Ever Made'
Escape into a world of intense fandom with Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, and be relieved by the fact that you are in no way the only person who used to recreate movie scenes in your youth.
Batkid Begins will, without a doubt, leave you in tears and reaching for the tissue box, but in a good way.
15'Man On Wire'
In 1974, Philippe Petit performed one of the most infamous and dangerous stunts the world has ever seen, performing a high wire act in New York City between the World Trade Center towers. As seen in Man On Wire, it wasn't easy — or legal — but it sure inspired a lot of people, and it can inspire you too!
Hip-hop lovers will probably hurt their cheeks smiling while watching Hip-Hop Evolution, a docuseries about music.
Why, yes, there is a 53-minute documentary on Netflix solely about puppies. (Note: I wasn't able to find a trailer for the doc, so please enjoy this short montage of cute puppies on YouTube instead.)
I promise, these docs will give you the warm and fuzzies.