Do you think that every character that's graced the big and small screen has a bad side? While that may be true for many, there are protagonists who are so sickeningly nice that it's a little too good to be true. If you're tired of watching complex, mostly miserable people meander through dramatic movies or adventurous TV shows, we have the cure with some of the nicest characters we've ever watched.
1. Elf (2003)
Ever-happy Buddy the Elf heads to Manhattan in search of his father, and chaos ensues, but only the best kind. It's there he finds dear old (but cranky) Dad, the love of his life, and shows the city that the “best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”
2. Life Is Beautiful (1997)
This 1997 comedy-drama takes place during the Holocaust and follows Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni) and his family as they try to survive under the Nazi rule. Despite what his family goes through, Guido keeps smiling for the sake of his son, Giosue (Giorgio Cantarini). Benigni’s shining personality drives his performance, and it’s stellar to watch his uplifting attitude contrast the grim realities of everything unraveling around him.
3. Death to Smoochy (2002)
Death to Smoochy is a surprisingly dark glimpse into the strange world of children’s TV hosts. While virtually everyone in the movie, even including Robin Williams’ “Rainbow” Randolph Smiley, is absolutely miserable or rotten to the core, the man behind the titular pink rhino, Sheldon Mopes (Edward Norton), is sickeningly pleasant and naive. No matter how far Mopes is pushed, whether it’s Randolph trying to sabotage his show or TV execs threatening his creative control, he remains delightful and positive.
4. Encanto (2021)
Being an original in your family is always a good thing—unless you're the only one with magical powers. All hope is put into Mirabel from the Familia Madrigal to save the family from losing their magic in Encanto.
5. Ted Lasso (2023)
Ted Lasso is one of those shows that you can't seem to turn off, even if it's not your favorite. The reason for that is because of Ted himself, Jason Sudeikis! He's just so darn likable in the role of the mustachioed protagonist.
6. The Truman Show (1998)
The Truman Show is a film that makes you really think, while also dabbling in comedic relief. That said, Truman is so nice and likable that it's nearly impossible not to be enamored by Jim Carrey's performance.
7. Notting Hill (1999)
Rhys Ifans plays the engaging character of Spike, Will's (Hugh Grant) roommate from hell whom he describes as “the stupidest person in the world, only doubled.” He has a penchant for dodgy slogan tees and the world's “best” wingman skills. Wait till you hear his pep, his antics with the media at his door post, and his choice of shirt for his first date. Grant and Julia Roberts' romance makes the viewer still believe in love, while Spike tampers with the mood with a dash of humor.
8. Marcel the Shell With Shoes on (2021)
One-inch-tall shell Marcel and his grandma Connie are the only people left in their town following their neighbors' unexpected, unexplained disappearance. The short film Marcel publishes online attracts millions of ardent followers after being stumbled upon by a visitor among the mess of his Airbnb. This gives Marcel new hope of reuniting with his long-lost family.
9. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
George Bailey is contemplating taking his life because he has so many issues, and on Christmas no less! We watch a flashback of George's life as the angels talk about him. George saves his guardian angel, Clarence, as the latter is about to leap over a bridge. Clarence then shows George what his town would have looked like if it weren't for all of George's good deeds throughout the years, proving that one man's impact can send shockwaves through an entire town.
10. Bernie (2011)
One of the most well-liked citizens in the little Texas town of Carthage is assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede (Jack Black). Bernie, a Sunday school instructor, choir member, and mastermind behind extravagant funerals, is a friend to everyone, even Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), a wealthy but unpleasant widow nobody else likes. Bernie is accused of murdering Marjorie after she is discovered, shot dead, and stuffed into a freezer. Concerned Carthage residents instantly come to his defense.
11. Almost Famous (2000)
Almost Famous follows 15-year-old William, who is humorous and frequently pitiable. He is an ardent music enthusiast motivated by the day's influential bands. Despite the objections of his protective mother, he sets out on an eye-opening journey with the band's tour, after his passion for music earns him a job from Rolling Stone magazine to interview the up-and-coming band Stillwater, led by lead guitarist Russell Hammond and lead singer Jeff Bebe.
12. The Sound of Music (1965)
How do you solve a problem like Maria? The free-spirited Maria (Julie Andrews), with youthful enthusiasm and lack of discipline, cannot be solved in this classic musical drama. A pushover, she advocates for her cause even if it means politely telling Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) he's wrong. Fortunately, Maria offers some wise counsel that dramatically improves the Captain's life and connection with his children, leading to a romance that solves the problem like Maria.
13. Paddington 2 (2017)
Due to its similarity to The Grand Budapest Hotel, viewers nicknamed this “the grand beardapest hotel.” Paddington, the bear, engages the viewer as he brings happiness and marmalade wherever he goes becoming the resident's favorite. He discovers a pop-up book one fine day at an antique store, the ideal gift for his cherished aunt's 100th birthday. When the priceless book is stolen, Paddington sets out on a heroic adventure to find the burglar in time for Aunt Lucy's grand celebration.
14. Happy Go Lucky (2008)
Poppy is a carefree educator who is consistently cheerful, sincere, and cordial. She does like her interests and helping others, but she runs the danger of being misunderstood. Like when Tim takes her excessive humor for being unserious in her driving lessons.
15. Being There (1979)
Chance is a straightforward gardener who has lived in an older man's home his entire life. After the old man passes away, Chance is left on the street with nothing but what he has learned from watching television. Being There is charming, with Chance's attitude being the best part despite all he goes through.
16. The Jerk (1979)
Steve Martin's character Navin thinks he was born into being an enslaved person in Mississippi. But in reality, he is white. When he realizes this, he travels to St. Louis in the north to find himself. Navin is happy to see his name in the updated phone book after securing a job at a petrol station. This confirmation of his existence sends him on a series of misadventures as he creates devices, avoids projectiles, joins the carnival, and searches for love in the arms of the stunning Marie (Bernadette Peters).
17. Forrest Gump (1994)
Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks) exudes a personality that is as simple as it is eccentric. But what remains persistent is his decent character, trueness, and his opinion of nothing else but Jenny, his Mother, and God. While you wonder about the eccentricity of his waiting on Jenny, you can't help being attracted to his innocence and getting carried away with his unexpected feats.
18. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)
A generally peaceful tribe of African bushmen is thrown into chaos when a Coca-Cola bottle that was dropped from an airplane is mistaken for a godly relic. In his quest to restore peace, tribal leader Xi (N!xau) fills us with hilarity as he makes a journey to the “end of the world,” crossing paths with a clumsy scientist (Marius Weyers) and a group of insurgents who are holding a schoolteacher (Sandra Prinsloo) and her class captive.
19. Our Idiot Brother (2011)
Ned must convince his three sisters (Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, and Emily Mortimer) to lend a hand after being released from prison because he is homeless and jobless. Although Ned is entirely without ambition, his sisters' perfectly planned lives are thrown into disarray whenever he is present.
20. Legally Blonde (2001)
Elle Woods, played by Reese Witherspoon, is wealthy. Nothing would make her happier than to become Mrs. Warner Huntington III. She is “too blond,” holding her boyfriend (Matthew Davis) back from popping the question. Elle gathers all her resources and enrolls at Harvard, intending to win him back, launching an endearing movie about an all-too-nice girl finding that law school is well within her element.
Amaka Chukwuma is a finance and lifestyle writer with a real knack for the craft. She's been at it for over four years, making her mark on places like FinanceBuzz and The Buttonwood Tree, not to mention some cool collaborations with various brands. Her. Her work with Wealth of Geeks has been widely appreciated, with syndication across multiple platforms and publications. Amaka's got a BA in Linguistics. When she's taking a break from her writing adventures, you'll probably find her digging into some delicious pies or exploring the food scene. Want to see what she's up to or get a taste of her work? Hit her up on LinkedIn and Twitter.