Gloomy moments in movies are as typical as victorious ones, but some might actually portray depression itself, and even fewer depict it rather perfectly. We asked some therapists to know what kind of movies they believe have done a great job at depicting depression in a meaningful and accurate way.
Good Will Hunting. It would be hard to discuss movies about depression without giving time to talk about this Matt Damon and Robin Williams hit film. Damon plays a genius here who works as a janitor when he finds a solution to a terribly perplexing math problem. After he attacked a police officer in an intense moment, Damon evades imprisonment by making compromises with a therapist who Robin Williams plays.
The janitor’s journey and the therapist’s support make for a touching movie about recovering from painful past experiences and permitting yourself to overcome self-doubt.
Roma. This movie is led by Cleo, a housemaid for a middle-class family during the 70s. Roma revolves around a family’s imminent divorce, the lead actor Cleo’s unexpected pregnancy, and the momentous tensions of the Roman community in Mexico. The outcome is a persuasive and dramatic personal story of spirit in the face of ambiguity and how a family is constantly defined by blood.
Depression is not always associated with one single event. It can simply be the outcome of a life that is not as rewarding as expected. Roma, which is in classic black and white style, depicts the monotonous over the impossibly optimistic opportunity at a new life.
The Pianist. Adrien Brody portrays a Jewish artist who is kidnapped and secluded from his family. He runs towards the remains of Warsaw during the war, eventually becoming weak and broken-down as though time, sometimes playing the piano if he had time. The movie is an overwhelming statement on the truth that is often living, and thriving is all you can do.
The Pawnbroker. This film from 1964 describes a Jewish survivor whose family and friends got lost in the concentration camps. After many years, he lives in New York, alone and bitter while operating a pawnshop. Being devastated by his past experiences, his faith in humanity has vanished, and he establishes a connection with his assistant until catastrophe strikes with gangs from his neighborhood.
Carol. The film revolves around two females who lived in New York in the 1950s. They start a gradual but trusting relationship, and one of them, Carol, experiences a tough divorce. In the middle of the divorce process, carol discovers that she might lose custody of her daughter if her relationship with her female friend is divulged. The relationship is then affected and on the verge of failing. Carol traverses the crossroads between sexuality and one’s mental health, validating that these two are intimately intertwined.
Room. Joy is a single mom who is raising her son, Jack, in a small single bedroom. They are being held captive and have been hidden there for months. The two find their way out, and in the process, Joy goes through rage and depression, frequently pouring her desperation at her son. On the other hand, Jack yearns to see the outside world but ironically asks her mom when they are going back to that single room that they’ve stayed. This film is a tear-jerking but optimistic journey about healing from mental illness and seeking the strength to move forward following a devastating trauma.
Little Miss Sunshine. Whatever happens to you regarding your mental disorder, you will most likely find a person to relate to when you see this tragicomedy movie describing one dysfunctional family that is on its way to a beauty contest. One family member is a gay suicidal, and the grandfather is a drug addict. What’s more, the mother is depressed and overworked. There is so much to discover and learn in this movie. However, getting to know this family as they come together because Olive, the youngest, allows her to join and win the Little Miss Sunshine is definitely worth watching.
The Hours. This drama-themed film is inspired by Mrs. Dalloway, a novel by Virginia Woolf. It is centered on three females, including Virginia herself, as they experience life and its good and bad, fighting for a place in the world that they live in and wondering whether or not they want to stay in it. Woolf’s lonely life is a robust topic for a movie regarding depression, but the power of the film is in the way mental health illnesses are depicted in all three women with different levels.
Ordinary People. This film is about a suburban family that is reeking misery when one of the sons unexpectedly dies from a boating accident. At the same time, the other brother attempts to kill himself. Conrad then goes back to his family as he struggles to bond with them and move forward from his PTSD secondary to his accident. He particularly struggles in dealing with his mother, who seems to choose her older son compared to Conrad. This movie became popular because of putting a positive light on psychiatry because it is embedded in Conrad’s recovery process.