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5 Turner Classic Movies I Watch When I Want to Disappear

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There’s a reason I love old Hollywood films, and it’s not because of the egregious and horrible lack of diversity, cringy age gaps, and other aspects that simply just didn’t age well. It’s because of the music, the soft camera, and ultimately the directorial and acting styles that make it so easy for me to relax in comparison to modern film. As someone who is perpetually stressed, anxious, depressed, and who constantly would love to just disappear, classic movies gives my brain a way to breathe, almost granting me that request for all of two or so hours.

I won’t say I’m a classic movie buff, but I do have a certain go-to movies for when my mental health conditions are making my life just a little bit harder. Different movies play different roles, but at the end of the day they all help in pushing me and my sad little brain along.

1. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

I’ll be honest. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is a classic and so many people love it for the glitz and the style, and while Holly Golightly is a very fashionable woman, the story runs so much deeper than that. It’s the story of a young woman trying to save her brother, when she can barely save herself, and because of that she keeps running around in circles. 

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is the perfect movie to watch when you just feel lost and nothing is working. Extra points if you’re broke financially too. Yes, there is a happily ever after at the end, but getting there is the hardest part. That’s life though, isn’t it? 

“I’m not Holly. I’m not Lula Mae, either. I don’t know who I am! I’m like Cat here, We’re a couple of no-name slobs. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us.”

2. “Hello Dolly”

“Hello Dolly” is a movie about grief. Similar to “Thor: Love and Thunder,” “Hello Dolly” focuses on a widow’s official re-emergence back into the real world after losing the love of her life. This gets overshadowed by all the other events and hijinks in the film, but at its core “Hello Dolly” is a movie about love and loss, and how brave you have to be to love again after loss.

This is the perfect movie to watch when you want to disappear from the world because it’s fun, colorful, silly, carefree, and also full of so much heart.

“Dolly will never go away, again.”

3. “Funny Face”

“Funny Face” is one of those movies I have to intentionally ignore the extremely large age gap between the two leads because it’s just plain weird. Yes, they’re both consenting adults, but it still makes me squirm.

Anyways, “Funny Face” is the movie everyone thinks “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is, which is hysterical because they’re both Audrey Hepburn movies. “Funny Face” is easy to digest, and in general is just a very fun, unserious movie. It follows a book retailer (which is only the beautiful and graceful Audrey Hepburn) and her accidental journey to Paris where she’s agreed to model for a major fashion magazine.

Yes, there is a message about empathy, but overall it’s a very unserious, shallow movie in all the best ways, which makes it very easy for me to turn my brain off.

“How could I be a model? I have no illusions about my looks — I think my face looks funny.”

4. “An American in Paris”

Hopefully you like obscenely long but magnificently beautiful dance sequences, cause…well. Watch and you’ll see.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I love love stories, and this is no exception, but the love story as wonderful as it is isn’t what makes me want to watch this movie when I’m ready to vanish. It’s the colors and ambiance. It’s the overall happy feel even in the sad parts of the movie that earns it this spot on the list. 

As a writer, story is very important to me, but sometimes I don’t want to think about the story. I just want to see pretty visuals, and “An American in Paris” is perfect for that.


5. “Singing in the Rain”

Fun fact, I sing “Good Morning,” every morning to my dog as a greeting. It’s one of my favorite parts about our morning. That, and our good morning hugs.

“Singing in the Rain,” like all the movies above, is just a simple classic. It’s been parodied, honored, and recreated in so many other pieces of media which is understandable as it is a work of art. 

“Singing in the Rain” is such a good movie for when my mental health conditions hit because it’s also silly, and very shallow in terms of the plot. It’s not going to make me think, and I always find myself cracking up at Lina’s antics. She’s an easily disliked antagonist, but boy do I adore her and there’s nothing better than laughter when you’re sad. 


If you notice, these movies aren’t really designed to make you feel. Some do, like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” but for the most part these film selections are upbeat and jovial, even if there are melancholy events here and there. 

Sometimes we need to just shut our brain off when we want to disappear. Fighting is hard, and it takes more energy than we have at times. There’s nothing wrong with just turning on some Turner Classic Movies, and allowing your thoughts to dim as the screen fades to black.

Main image courtesy of Turner Classic Movie’s YouTube channel

Originally published: September 9, 2022
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