9 Movies For When You Are Depressed

Today’s blog post discusses ‘movies for when you are depressed’. We start with a brief understanding of depression, followed by taking into account the impact movies can have on our mental health. We then move to looking into some of the movies for when you are depressed in detail. 

Movies For When You Are Depressed:

Depression can be a debilitating condition to deal with and a good movie can provide a positive and powerful distraction to deal with the symptoms. Today, we will take a view at some movies that can help us deal with specific emotions that we may be experiencing at a certain point in time. 

Here are some movies for when you are depressed:

  • Inside Out (2015)
  • The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)
  • Moana (2016)
  • Soul Surfer (2011)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
  • Interiors (1978)
  • Frozen (2013)
  • Harold and Maude(1971)
  • Mulan (1998)
  • 127 Hours (2010)


Depression is a serious mood disorder which is more than just feeling sad. It is one of the most common yet under addressed mental health issues. Depression leads to several negative emotions, sleep disturbances, appetite loss, changes in ways a person thinks, feels and acts, and prevents the person from enjoying life. It also leads to severe feelings of hopelessness, rumination and self-loathing along with numbness, decreased energy and in some cases, even thoughts of death. 

How are movies good for our mental health?

Movies are often a depiction of real life circumstances and that is one of the major reasons that people relate to movies and its characters so much. People often experience a change of heart or a transition in their perspective when they watch a movie that they relate to the most. 

Like bibliotherapy, some therapists also use ‘cinema therapy’ to help the clients explore their emotions, dilemmas and their conflicts and can serve as a catalyst in the process of therapy.

Here are some ways in which movies benefit mental health:

  • Emotional responses to movies often help the clients understand their own emotions in a better way. When a movie resonates with them, it connects to the conscious and unconscious parts of their psyche. 
  • Movies are also beneficial in anxiety and depression such that watching childhood movies which were the person’s favourite can help them to calm down, relax and soothe themselves. 
  • Horror movies can also be comforting for some, wherein their fight or flight response that is experienced everyday can be given a perspective. Watching the extreme horror and fear in the movies can make their everyday issues of dealing with anxiety and depression less threatening.
  • Movies can also help a person live in their authentic self which is often hampered because of symptoms of anxiety and depression. This often stops them from living a healthier, happier and conscious life. The movies help in boosting their confidence and self-esteem which often takes a low during depression. 
  • Movies not only improve the well-being of a person but also strengthens social bonds, such as with family and friends, further improving one’s quality of life. Quality of life also takes a hit during depression and watching movies with family and friends can be helpful.
  • Along with movies, sitcoms and comedy stand-ups are also beneficial for improving mental health, especially anxiety and depression. Sitcoms and stand-ups make a person laugh which releases endorphins in the brain which can reduce stress and depressive mood symptoms. It can also reduce rumination, negative thinking and sense of isolation which is predominantly seen in depression.
  • Finally, movies that are based on specific mental disorders, if depicted accurately can provide a description of the exact ways the mental health condition is manifested and how life for a person who lives with the illness. Sensitivity and awareness about the disorder is created with the stigma around the illness gradually decreasing.

Which are some best movies for when you are depressed?

We saw the wide range of impact that the movies have on us. We would now be turning to discuss some movies for when you are depressed which can help in addressing various elements of the condition along with helping the person have an adaptive form of distraction.

  • Inside Out (2015)

The animated movie is a wonderful attempt to show the audience the psychological processes within a person through the character of a girl Riley. The movie gives us a glimpse of all the major emotions within us such as joy, anger, disgust, sorrow and fear and how every emotion has its own way of manifestation. 

The movie depicts the importance of having each of these emotions in a funny and sometimes emotional manner, making it one of the best movies for when you are depressed.

  • The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)

The movie shows the social and psychological collection of the life of a teenager who steps into a new world and the way the past, the present friendships and passions and new conflicts that emerge in the process. 

The movie is indeed a beautiful depiction of the dilemmas of the adolescent period.

  • Moana (2016)

Moana is the story of a strong willed daughter who embarks on a life changing journey to save her island where the plants and animals are dying. The most beautiful part about the movie is that it serves as a motivation for people to keep going against the odds and the music that can uplift the mood.

  • Soul Surfer (2011)

Soul surfer depicts the story of a young girl who is a passionate surfer but loses an arm to a shark attack at the sea. However, with all her courage she comes back strong to fight back and win the world championship. 

The movie can serve to be an inspirational movie for depression as it may motivate the person to fight against their intrusive thoughts and their rumination and overcome their condition.

  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

The movie depicts how depression can be a family affair. We see except Olive, the titular character, everyone in the family suffers from some form of depression. It often causes them to lash out on each other and heightens their symptoms. 

The movie talks about how Olive develops an understanding of depression and helps her family cope with their condition and it can be labelled as one of the good movies for when you are depressed.

  • Interiors (1978)

Depression is not only a difficult condition for the person who is dealing with it, but is also a difficult situation for the caregivers, so much so that sometimes it may lead them to feel resentment towards the person.

The story deals with the emotional and physical difficulties that the caregivers have to face. 

  • Frozen (2013)

Frozen is the story of princesses Elsa and Ana, and the ordeals that Ana faces to find her sister after Elsa abandons her kingdom due to the fear of hurting her sister and the kingdom.

The movie beautifully depicts the fears, guilt, anger and dilemma that Elsa faces, but at the same time provides a comic relief through the antiques of Ana, who keeps an optimistic attitude towards life. It is one of the movies for when you are depressed as it provides a sense of relief and also helps understand depressive emotions through Elsa’s character.

  • Harold and Maude(1971)

Harold and Maude depicts the story of Harold and teaches the audience to embrace life, find meaning in it and love life despite all the odds. The movie allows the audience to live the life of Harold as he learns this. 

  • Mulan (1998)

Mulan can serve as an inspirational story and one of the movies for when you are depressed. The songs of the movie are particularly inspiring and motivate the audience to get up, fight back and never give up on anything, even on oneself. It teaches a person ways in which they must not underestimate themselves, which is essential for someone fighting depression.   

  • 127 Hours (2010)

127 Hours is a movie about a man who gets stuck in a canyon in Utah and his struggle to come out of the Canyon alive, which lasts for 127 hours. The movie gives a message that no matter what happens, life is precious and therefore all efforts must be taken to save it. It requires battling the odds and surviving. 

It can inspire a lot of people to keep on fighting and keep their will to be alive intact.

Depression is a tough illness to fight, but these and many more of such movies can provide a much needed motivation and encouragement to a person. They may relate to a character, the storyline, or a song which may serve to push them to deal with their issues. 

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.

Frequently Asked Questions:Movies For When You Are Depressed

Is watching movies good or bad?

Research from Oxford University suggests that watching a traumatic movie can release endorphins which increases pain tolerance and leads the person to feel good. Movies are now also used as a form of therapy in many settings. 

Why do movies make you cry?

We cry at movies because the oxytocin in the human brain is not tuned correctly. It cannot not differentiate between actual human beings and flickering images of human beings. Either one is enough to trigger oxytocin and impel our empathy.

What are the negative effects of movies?

Viewing movies with sex, ferosity, drug abuse, adult themes, and offensive language can have a negative effect on children and adolescents. Many movies may not be appropriate for children. Older children and adolescents may copy risky and possibly dangerous behaviours that  they see in movies.

Is watching the same movie over and over a sign of depression?

Binge-watching television may seem like a perfectly harmless way to occupy your Friday night, it may actually be an indication of serious mental health problems. Studies have suggested that binge watching television is related to depression and loneliness.

Why should I watch movies?

When we watch a film, we’re not just being entertained,we also admire something beautiful; learn about the world and ourselves; connect with communities; and contribute to positive social change.


Today’s blog post discussed ‘movies for when you are depressed’. We started with a brief understanding of depression, followed by taking into account the impact movies can have on our mental health. We then moved to looking into some of the movies for when you are depressed in detail.

I hope the blog post was able to provide a list of movies that would be beneficial on difficult days and would help deal with depression in a better way. Please feel free to drop in your comments, queries and movie suggestions below. 




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