30 Movies That Have Helped People Through Depression


When you’re fighting the fatigue, ruminating thoughts and feelings of hopelessness characteristic of depression, sometimes all you want to do is crawl into bed and watch a good movie. The problem is, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to watch when you’re feeling depressed.

Maybe you’re looking for a movie that allows you to let out all the tears you’ve been holding in for so long. Maybe you’re looking for a feel-good flick to lift your mood. Or maybe you are looking for a movie so far from your reality that you can get lost in a different world for an hour or two.

If you’ve ever found yourself asking what movies to watch when you’re depressed, look no further! We wanted to know what movies people like to watch when they’re struggling with depression, so we asked our mental health community to share one movie that helps them get through hard times with depression.

 

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”

It’s actually the movie that helped me realize I had a problem, and every time I watch it I feel like I’m not alone in this, that there are so many others living with a mental illness and it’s totally possible to feel good while having it” — Anna V.

2. “Frozen”

I identify with Elsa so much — [how she] holds it all in and [feels] the guilt of hurting family — wanting to escape and being so afraid and cold.” — Giselle M.

3. “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”

“Sam’s speech to Frodo at the end gets me every time. When Frodo feels hopeless that anything will ever be OK again, Sam tells him: ‘There’s some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.’” — Lauren H.

4. “Back to the Future”

“It’s just so awesome. It really helped me when I was going through really horrible anxiety many times. I love how it just transports you into this other world.” — Bethany L.

5. “Big Hero 6”

It shows I am not alone, and that other people feel the exact same way. It shows people will always love you and support you, that you will never be alone.” — Danielle F.

6. “Legally Blonde”

“It might seem silly, but I love Elle Wood’s positivity and ‘can-do’ attitude.” — Lauren J.

7. “The Breakfast Club”

“I’m a film buff so there’s a number of films I could pick. ‘The Breakfast Club’ was a favorite of mine during my school days because I was a bit of an outcast in high school and I empathized with the characters in it — especially Bender and Brian.” — Magnus G.

8. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

“The series was such a huge part of my childhood. A lot of the good times consisted of watching those movies. It takes you away to a whole different world!” — Christa M.

9. “Moana”

“Despite all the cheerful music, it has a lot of intense parts in it that make you really think about how you react to certain situations. [I love] how everyone tells her she can’t do it but she had one person tell her she could. When she was knocked down, her grandmother said if she wanted to give up she would still be proud of her.” —Lindsay R.

10. “The Princess Bride”

“It makes me laugh every single time and everything about it is magical. I had the privilege of meeting Cary Elwes two years ago and it made my day!” — Bailey S.

11. “Perks of Being a Wallflower”

“It reminds me I’m not in this fight alone, there are others fighting the same fight and people just don’t know it, just like people don’t know it about me.” — Shelly M.

12. “Enchanted”

“[It’s] harmless fun that leaves you feeling all warm and squishy on the inside, even on the days when warm and squishy seems like a pipe dream.” — Lydia A.

13. “10 Things I Hate About You”

“It makes me laugh and it also helps me feel being different is OK. [It reminds me] strong women can and will succeed, and that you can find someone who loves you despite everything.” — Alyssa B.

14. “Inside Out”

“Not only does it represent an 11-year-old girl with deep, complex emotions, it helped (helps) me recognize I am not alone in what I am going through. And unlike other Disney movies, the ‘just think positive and everything will work out’ motif is overridden by the idea that allowing yourself to express sadness is just as important as expressing happiness. One of my favorite qualities about this movie is its ability to show your feelings are valid and even when you’re at your worst, an unexpected good can come out of the seemingly bad.” — Rachel H.

15. “Silver Linings Playbook”

“In a way, it tells me that you can always bounce back and the journey is what matters, not the results or accomplishing big things… and you can let love find you even in the most unexpected places or people. And it’s all about trying to see the silver lining…” — Mary J.

 

16. “Harold and Maude”

“[This movie] teaches you how to embrace life, it allows you to visualize yourself as Harold — one of the main characters — and how he finds his meaning [in] living and loving life.” — Luis C.

17. “Pride and Prejudice” (2005)

“I’ve watched it so many times when I haven’t been able to get out of bed. It makes me laugh and cry, and it has beauty and love throughout. Sometimes I’ll just listen to the musical score, and it makes me feel better.” — Kayla S.

18. “Good Will Hunting”

“My favorite quote [is]: ‘You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.’” — Tiffani M.

19. “Matilda”

“‘Matilda’ is my all time favorite movie. Anytime I’m depressed, anxious or just sad, I watch it. It was a childhood favorite and I find great comfort watching it.” — Cherish I.

20. “Mulan”

“Any Disney movie, but if I had to pick one , it would be Mulan. The movie and songs inspire me to get up, fight back and never ever give up [on] or underestimate myself. Disney movies in general remind me I should never stop believing.” — Harleen A.

21. “Forrest Gump”

“I can latch on to the depressing moments and connect emotionally to combat the numbness. Then when the happy/joyful parts occur, I naturally follow the progression and feel better.” — Stacey L.

22. “Soul Surfer”

“Soul Surfer never fails to make me feel better when I am depressed. Watching Bethany come to see God’s bigger plan for her life and fight her way back from a devastating injury helps to put my life back into prospective and give me at least a ray of sunlight in the dark.” — Tabitha Z.

23. “50 First Dates”

“[I] love the idea of a fresh start every [day] and the never-ending commitment of the important people in your life every day. Plus it just cracks me up every time!” — Sim S.

24. “The Lion King”

“It takes me back to my childhood, back to when things were simple. It takes me back to a time when I knew I was happy and reminds me I will get back to that place.” — Jess F.

25. “Ever After”

“[Danielle] has to save herself every single time and no matter how hard her life is or how mean people are, she remains strong and kind and she refuses to let anyone make her bitter.” — Devon B.

26. “Eat, Pray, Love”

“Watching a woman go from total ruin to happiness helps me have hope. The journey she takes is chalk full of wisdom and humor. It’s gives me a nice boost on a bad depression day. Plus the images of gorgeous beaches and even more gorgeous plates of spaghetti are tremendously satisfying.” — Clara B.

27. “Twilight”

“People [may] judge me for this, but I love watching the ‘Twilight’ series when I’m feeling down. I love them.” — Laura C.

28. “Sister Act”

“It’s such a feel good movie with no hint of a love story — [it] never fails to cheer me up! Plus, who doesn’t love a bit of Whoopi Goldberg?” — Claire P.

29. “The Holiday”

“I was very sick for a month and had three surgeries but despite that, this movie lifted my spirits all the time. I have so many memories that make me so happy because of this movie.” — Sarah E.

30. “Finding Neverland”

“It reminds me of how beautiful of an escape the imagination can be. And it is a nice way to show people you can care for others even if you aren’t related to them.” — Kim H.

What would you add?

Photo via “Big Hero 6” and “Breakfast Club” Facebook pages.

30 Movies That Have Helped People Through Depression

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Depression

Group of young people sitting on conference together and smiling

The Unexpected Way Group Therapy Helped My Depression

When I started group therapy, I didn’t know what I was getting into. When I hear people say, “I don’t know what I’m getting into,” I tend to imagine the stereotypical sitcom reminiscent glance — up and to the right as the harp strings play the “Going Back In Time” soundtrack. In response to myself, [...]
black and white photo of hayley williams sitting on the ground next to picture of paramore's new album after laughter

Paramore's Hayley Williams Opens Up About the Hopelessness of Depression

Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams has been a punk rock idol for over a decade. Off the release of her band’s latest album “After Laughter,” Williams opened up in an intimate interview with The FADER, where she discusses the intensity of her mental health issues and the painfulness of a symptom far too many have experienced: hopelessness. While Williams, [...]
young woman looking out of window with building and tree outside

What My Stay in a Mental Hospital Taught Me About Life

Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here. When people hear, “I’ve been admitted to the mental hospital,” their automatic response is [...]
woman brushing her hair

The One Small Victory I Celebrate Over Depression

Today, I brushed my hair. To some people, this may seem like no big deal. To some people, this may be an everyday practice. But to someone struggling with depression who might not be able to get out of bed in the morning to get something to eat — this is a huge accomplishment. I [...]