Movies can be a great outlet for grief. In one way, they serve as a brief distraction from the pain we might feel after losing a loved one.
They also offer new perspectives on life, including the complicated emotions faced after losing a loved one. Some movies inspire us with comforting messages when we need it the most, and many show us that we’re not alone in our grief.
Take a look at the list below for movies that can help you understand your grief following the loss of a loved one.
1. “P.S. I Love You”
Holly Kennedy loses the love of her life when her husband, Gerry, dies from an illness.
Knowing the emotional toll his passing will take on Holly, Gerry plans ahead, and writes her a series of letters designed to ease her grief and encourage her to move forward to a new life.
This movie is helpful for adults dealing with the loss of a spouse, showing how grief affects us and how life can change as a result.
2. “We Bought a Zoo”
After suddenly losing his wife, Benjamin quits his job and starts over by purchasing a large house with a zoo. While his daughter is excited about the news, his son is not as happy with his father’s decision. The film follows the renovation of the zoo as Benjamin adjusts to a new situation and learns how to connect with his children during this trying time.
“We Bought a Zoo” portrays a husband’s grief as he tries to make a better life for his children after losing his wife. The friction between Benjamin and his son explores how relationships between parents and children can become strained when grief is suppressed.
This movie can be useful for those grieving the loss of a family member or a parent mourning the loss of a spouse.
“Coco” is unique. It's an animated movie that takes place almost entirely in the Land of the Dead. The film celebrates the Mexican tradition El Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with bright and colorful visuals, memorable music and relatable characters. While it is a joy to watch, it also helps us understand a new perspective on the complexities of life and death.
One writer, Juan Paul Brammer, put it this way: “Death is life, and life is death, inseparable and indistinguishable. Our ancestors didn’t merely come before us. We are them, their living texts. We are made up of them, and they of us.”
This film is especially helpful for children trying to understand grief of a loss, and for families who want to stay connected to their roots.
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is an emotional story of a child who perceives the world differently trying to cope with the sudden, devastating loss of a parent by embarking on a scavenger hunt through New York City.
The boy, Oskar, is in the denial stage of grief. To him, there doesn’t seem to be logic around his father’s death, and therefore he cannot properly deal with it. As viewers and people who have experienced grief, we can likely relate to and understand these complex emotions.
This movie is instructive for anyone who has experienced tragedy, and might be particularly relatable for children grieving the loss of a parent.
5. “Rabbit Hole”
Eight months after the passing of their 4-year-old son, Howie and Becca are struggling to overcome their grief.
During this process, disagreements begin to surface as Howie tries to hold on to the past, while Becca wants to sell the couple’s home in hopes of a fresh start.
“Rabbit Hole” is a realistic look at how a husband and wife handle their heartbreak, both individually and as a couple.
This film may be helpful for those mourning the tragic loss of a child.
Interested in More Grief Support Resources?
Whether we choose to talk about our emotions or find comfort in films like the ones mentioned above, we all grieve differently. If you’re interested in more grief support resources, subscribe to our blog and receive helpful articles like this directly in your inbox.