Monday, May 27, 2019

Using Movies to Move Through Grief

Image by stokpic from Pixabay 
I've got plenty of people I can do something with -- just none I can do nothing with.  ~ Widower Joe Warr (Clive Owen) in The Boys Are Back

Movies and DVD rentals that dramatize others coming to terms with their pain may serve as a valuable tool to help you and your family members better understand and move through the grieving process.

Getting in touch with the painful feelings of grief and releasing blocked or pent-up emotions by having a good cry can be cleansing and stress-reducing. Movies can be an effective tool in addressing certain grief issues, especially when your selections are made consciously and deliberately.

Before you see or rent a movie, take time to read the film's description and reviews to help you decide whether watching it will support you at this point in your grief journey. Pay attention to whatever feelings and reactions come up for you while watching it, and let yourself cry if you need to. If you're not comfortable doing this alone, ask a trusted friend or family member to watch the movie with you, and discuss it together afterward.

In this spirit, this list of movies for those in mourning is offered, categorized by the aspect of grief primarily addressed in a given film or DVD. To read Amazon’s description of movies and reviews, click the movie title. (Note that the films listed here are those produced between 1941 and 2012. You’ll find links to lists of more recently produced films here: Films - Videos.)

As always, if you've a film you'd like to recommend, please let us know in the Comments section below.

Anticipatory Grief

Brian's Song (1971) with James Caan, Billy Dee Williams

Love Story (1971) with Ali MacGraw, Ryan O'Neal

November Christmas (2010) with Sam Elliott, John Corbett

The Descendants (2011) with George Clooney, Judy Greer

Tuesdays with Morrie (1999) with Jack Lemmon, Hank Azaria

Wit (2001) with Emma Thompson, Christopher Lloyd


Understanding Different Grieving Patterns in Your Family

Angel in the Family (2004) with Meredith Baxter, Ronny Cox

Beaches (1988), with Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey

Boynton Beach Club (2005) with Joseph Bologna, Dyan Cannon

Departures (2008) with Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue

Eye of the Dolphin (2007) with Carly Schroeder, Adrian Dunbar

Finding Neverland (2004) with Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet

In America (2002) with Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton

Little Women (1994), with Wynona Ryder, Susan Sarandon

Marvin's Room (1996), with Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton

Moonlight Mile (2002) with Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman

My Girl (1991) with Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis

November Christmas (2010) with Sam Elliott, John Corbett

Ordinary People (1980) with Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore

Rabbit Hole (2010) with Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin

Steel Magnolias (1989), with Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine

Straight from the Heart (2003) with Teri Polo, Andrew McCarthy

Terms of Endearment (1983), with Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger

The Boys Are Back (2009) with Clive Owen, Laura Fraser

The Descendants (2011) with George Clooney, Judy Greer


Loss of A Child

An Unfinished Life (2005) with Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez

November Christmas (2010) with Sam Elliott, John Corbett

On a Clear Day (2005) with Peter Mullin, Brenda Blethyn

Rabbit Hole (2010) with Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin


Loss of a Spouse, Partner or Significant Other

A Single Man (2009) with Colin Firth, Julianne Moore

An Unfinished Life (2005) with Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez

Brokeback Mountain (2005) with Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger

Love Story (1971) with Ali MacGraw, Ryan O'Neal

My Life (1993) with Michael Keaton, Nicole Kidman

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  (2012) with Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson

The Boys Are Back (2009) with Clive Owen, Laura Fraser

The Descendants (2011) with George Clooney, Judy Greer

Up (2009) with Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai


Loss of A Parent

Big Fish (2004) with Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney

Death at a Funeral (2007) with Matthew Macfadyen, Peter Dinklage

Eye of the Dolphin (2007) with Carly Schroeder, Adrian Dunbar

Garden State (2005) with Zach Braf, Natalie Portman

In Her Shoes (2005) with Cameron Diaz, Shirley MacLaine

My Girl (1991) with Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin

Sunshine Cleaning (2009) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson

The Boys Are Back (2009) with Clive Owen, Laura Fraser

The Descendants (2011) with George Clooney, Judy Greer

The Savages (2007) with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson

Two Weeks (2006) with Sally Field, Ben Chaplin


Loss of A Sibling

In America (2002) with Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton

Little Women (1994) with Winona Ryder, Gabriel Byrne

Ray (2004) with Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson

Walk the Line (2006) with Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon


Loss of A Friend

Beaches (1988) with Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey

Brokeback Mountain (2005) with Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal

Brian's Song (1971) with James Caan, Billy Dee Williams

Catch and Release (2007) with Jennifer Garner, Timothy Oliphant

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1999) with Hugh Grant, Andie McDowell

Midnight Cowboy (1969) with Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005) with Joan Plowright, Rupert Friend

Nicholas' Gift (1998) with Jamie Lee Curtis, Alan Bates

Philadelphia (1993) with Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) with Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson

The Bucket List (2007) with Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman

Tuesdays with Morrie (1999) with Jack Lemmon, Hank Azaria

Wit (2001) with Emma Thompson, Christopher Lloyd


Loss of An Animal Companion

Marley and Me (2008) with Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson

My Dog Skip (1999) with Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane

Old Yeller (1957) with Fess Parker, Dorothy McGuire

Where the Red Fern Grows (1974) with Stewart Peterson, Beverly Garland


Traumatic Loss

In The Bedroom (2002) with Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek

Missing in America (2006) with Danny Glover, Ron Perlman

Rabbit Hole (2010) with Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart

Reign Over Me (2007) with Adam Sandler, Jonathan Banks

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin


Suicide Loss

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin

Sunshine Cleaning (2009) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson


Guilt

A Rumor of Angels (2000), with Vanessa Redgrave, Ray Liotta

Departures (2008) with Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue

Moonlight Mile (2002) with Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman

Ordinary People (1980) with Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore

Philadelphia (1993) with Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington

The Sixth Sense (1999) with Bruce Willis


Spiritual Reaction to Loss

Shadowlands (1994) with Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger

The Sixth Sense (1999) with Bruce Willis

Wide Awake (1998) with Joseph Cross, Timothy Reifsnyder


Mystical Experiences

A Rumor of Angels (2000), with Vanessa Redgrave, Ray Liotta 

Always (1989), with Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter

City of Angels (1998), with Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan

Dragonfly (2002) with Kevin Costner, Lisa Banes 

Ghost (1990), with Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze 

Northfork (2003) with James Woods, Nick Nolte

The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2004) with Jon Voight, Ellen Burstyn

The Sixth Sense (1999) with Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment

Titanic (1997) with Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

Truly, Madly, Deeply (1996), with Juliet Stevenson, Alan Rickman

Untamed Heart (1993), with Christian Slater, Marisa Tomei

Waking the Dead (2002) with Billy Crudup, Jennifer Connelly


Writing As A Way of Expressing Grief

About Schmidt (2002) with Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis

Finding Neverland (2004) with Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet


Finding Professional Help

Ordinary People (1980) with Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore


From Surviving to Transcending Grief

A River Runs through It (1992), with Robert Redford, Brad Pitt

About Schmidt (2002) with Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis

Angela's Ashes (2000) with Andrew Bennett, Joe Breen

An Unfinished Life (2005) with Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez

Brian's Song (1971), with James Caan, Billy Dee Williams

Corrina, Corrina (1994) with Whoopi Goldberg, Ray Liotta

Finding Neverland (2004) with Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), with Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell

Good Will Hunting (1999) with Robin Williams, Matt Damon

How Green Was My Valley (1941)

If Only (2004) with Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Paul Nichols

In America (2002) with Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton

Life (1999) with Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence

Life As a House (2001) with Kevin Cline, Kristin Scott Thomas

Message in a Bottle (1999) with Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn

Nicholas' Gift (1998) with Jamie Lee Curtis, Alan Bates

November Christmas (2010) with Sam Elliott, John Corbett

On a Clear Day (2005) with Peter Mullin, Brenda Blethyn

Shadowlands (1994) with Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger

Simon Birch (1998) with Ian Michael Smith, Oliver Platt

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) with Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson

The Boys Are Back (2009) with Clive Owen, Laura Fraser

The Descendants (2011) with George Clooney, Judy Greer

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson

Up (2009) with Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai

Whose Life Is It Anyway (1991), with Richard Dreyfuss, John Cassavetes

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