15 Movies To Watch When Depressed: From High-Spirited Comedies To Heart-Wrenching Dramas

There is nothing more healing for a depressed mind than a good all-time favorite movie. In this blog post, we will look into 15 movies to watch when depressed and stressed out. 

Have you been moody, miserable, or tearful in the past few weeks? Whether you blame the weather, stress, bad genes, or hormones, the thing is you are depressed. 

Quick Stats

  • Over 260 million people are diagnosed with depression: from mild and seasonal to chronic and major (WHO, 2020). 
  • 38% more people feel stressed out while on holiday (American Psychological Association, 2006).
  • 11.5 million adults had a major depressive episode with no will to go on living, unable to do daily tasks (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association, 2018).

See, you are not alone? But enough about the sad truth behind the common disorder of this age. We are here to find the most hilarious, surprising, and insightful, in other words best movies to watch when depressed.

Top 5 Comedy Movies To Watch When Depressed To Tickle Your Funny Bones

What can be a better cure for depressed people than a good old-fashioned movie time? Compared to the old ” read an interesting book”, Psychology Today describes the good movie impact on our brain and how we feel after watching it.

“When you are depressed and brain energy is at an ebb, the sensory input of the movie can stimulate your interest and require far less energy to take in the story than reading requires.”

So, here they are in no particular order… Our top 5 movies to watch when depressed: from the most recent to all-time favorite rom coms and action comedies. 

Girls Trip (2017)

You might like the ambiance of the splittingly funny girls-only weekend getaway in Paul Anderson’s all-time favorite comedy Girls Trip (2017). A well-known American screenwriter, producer, and film director, Paul Anderson, described Tiffany Haddish (a happy-go-lucky party animal Dina) as “a fucking force” of the movie. 

With the same intonation and words you are reading this “movies to watch when depressed” list.

Despite Anderson’s amazement, Tiffany finds her role in Girls Trip more of a character-match than a talent depiction. “This role … I’d say it’s 85 percent me and 15 percent some stuff I would never do personally!”, she says in one of her interviews. 

Talented cast with Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish, and Jada Pinkett Smith adds a feverish flavor to this bubbly road comedy. Watching it when depressed rips you off a miserable reality placing you into the girls’ world of their wild younger days of clubbing, and more. 

Booksmart (2019)

This teen comedy is the kind of “last days at school’ movie which just as an ultimate time machine takes you back to your teens. Despite its teenage focus, Booksmart is one of the movies to watch when depressed no matter your age. 

Lots of drama of the waning days of high school and nostalgia immerses you into the almost surreal and painfully familiar aura of Booksmart. Whether you were a bookworm, a nerd, or the most popular school kid, the top-notch performance of Katie Silberman, Susanna Fogel, Sarah Haskins, Emily Halpern won’t leave you indifferent.

In brief, your quest for movies that make you happy is over with Booksmart. 

Meet the Parents (2000)

Want to have really happy funny movies to watch crawling into your bad when feeling depressed? You have one – the all-time classic comedy/romance Meet the Parents.

Despite its heavy dirty sitcom-focus, the chemistry between the leads and Ben Stiller – Robert De Niro combination tires no eyes. Its offbeat humor and gripping storyline make it one of the movies to cheer you up. Whatever the circumstances you have to deal with, Meet the Parents inevitably injects humor into your doom and gloom routine.

This movie proves how silly and bulky we could be around the loved ones. A young man experiencing embarrassment and mishaps trying to impress a girl he loves undeniably appeals to us.

Tropic Thunder (2008)

There is no doubt that Ben Stiller’s action-packed war drama would flatter your sense of adventure and war spirit. Yet it is Robert Downey Jr. whose character Kirk Lazarus is stealing the show. Lazarus is anything but dull. His charisma and undeniable appeal in the “blackface” leaves no room for doubt that this could be (and would be!) one of the best movies to watch when depressed.

Just all other movies for when you’re sad, Tropic Thunder is Holliwook’s look into a big-budget war drama. A fine satire featuring soldiers attacked by the gang members of the local drug dealer. And this movie appeals not just to viewers but critics, recognizing it with the Critics Choice Movie Award for Best Comedy.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Yup, this near-perfect teen comedy from the 80’s will guarantee you an old good laugh:) 

The all-clichéd sweet teen Ferris Bueller skipping his classes to help a friend Cameron gain confidence is anything but boring.

If you are in your late twenties, or have a teen kid, watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as a grownup would bring you back to the good old days. 

At the end of the day Cameron destroys his father’s car regaining his confidence. You may blame Ferris, or you may thank him. The message is clear – to make the sick days count. 

5 Movies For Depressed People To Tear Down While Watching

Our first batch of the top 5 movies to watch when depressed could also leave you in tears from laughter. Yet, there are times when “serious” inspirational movies like 127 hours, Black Swan, The Favourite, and a couple of other everyday dramas would let out emotions making you cry. 

Aren’t the movies to watch when depressed supposed to cheer you up? Well, not all the time as it turns. Oddly enough, seeing another person going through divorce, losing the loved one, or struggling to make ends meet is like a wake-up call for all of us. Such characters make us feel their pain and sorrow, and see the life around us.

127 Hours (2010)

You won’t believe it but the movie is based on the real life mountain climber Aron Ralston, who amputated his own arm to survive.

In fact, the movie is frighteningly real. You factually live his horror together with Aron for long 127 hours before he is finally rescued. 

“127 Hours is so factually accurate… It is as close to a documentary as you can get and still be a drama”

Aron said at the movie’s premiere in 2010. A gruesome ordeal for Ralston is said to set people in a panic, or faint. We suggest you watch a trailer before jumping on it like the movies to watch when you’re sad or depressed. 

Black Swan (2010)

Watching Black Swan would unravel the prima’s life, the life full of intrigue, struggle, and loneliness. The world of ballet holds dirty little secrets. One of the best movies to watch when depressed, Black Swan is about fearlessness, lack of control, the neverending play of good and evil.

Just like you with unexpected depression, Nina finds herself slipping into complete madness when the art director decides to favor Lily as Odette. 

Dan Jolin’s summary of the Black Swan perfectly conveys its magical force.

“An extraordinary, intoxicating movie. Its hard, twisted edges may turn off some, but there’s no faulting either Aronofsky’s technical mastery or Portman’s flawless performance.”

We couldn’t say better, could we? 

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Like a well-aged wine, The Devil Wears Prada is at the top of every girl’s list. It’s nothing wrong to curl up and watch a movie when autumn blues unexpectedly hits. It is surely the kind of movie that makes it easy to reconsider your life attitude as the storyline progresses. 

But perhaps, the strongest message is that there is a fighter inside of everyone. It teaches to never surrender, compromise, or abandon your life goals and ideals. No matter what life puts you through there is always a way where there is a wish. 

Bitchy and nasty the sparkling world of high fashion will eventually meet Andy Sachs with open arms. There is hardly a movie as inspirational and spiritually enriching as this one. Not only will you catch a glimpse into the theatrical high-fashion world, but better understand what’s going on in your own life.

Want to pick just one happy funny movie to watch when you’re sad? The Devil Wears Prada is one of the all-time movies to watch when depressed. 

Don’t have Netflix or Hulu? Check out these Top 13 Putlocker Alternatives To Watch Movies For Free.

The Pianist (2002)

Out of quite a few movies about the Holocoast, one stands out – The Pianist. Adrien Brody’s performance as an acclaimed Polish musician Władysław Szpilman under Roman Polanski’s directorship is a true masterpiece.

One of the highest rated movies on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, The Pianist appeals both to audience and film critics. Watching this slow-paced, even monotonous, movie vividly describes almost unbearable horrors of the Holocaust.

If you are here for movies to cheer you up, skip through The Pianist. Polanski’s tale of stoicism and good luck. Once listed among the “movies which are so depressing that you could watch them only once”, The Pianist leaves a long-lasting impression. 

We’ve placed it on our list of the movies to watch when depressed. But how depressing it is we leave for you to judge.

The Pursuit Of Happiness (2006)

The classic “keep calm and stay true to yourself” movie to watch when depressed. The film’s undeniable charm lays in its humane character pulling through turbulent times.

Losing everything Chris Gardner valued in life, he is nothing but a failure. His determination and strong will when a wife left him, apartment, and all his hard-earned savings were gone, amaze and inspire. But most of all his love for his son.

Will Smith’s charisma and Chris’s unbendable character, the chemistry between Christofer Jr… the energy in every scene of the movie. An old tale of luck for those who pursue it is about to change your life. Surely, one of the best movies to watch when depressed, the all-time favorite remedy for the soul.

5 Insightful Movies About Depression To Reflect On It

You might think why watch the character who is depressed, in and out of a psychiatric ward most of the runtime, when you are heavy-hearted yourself. 

Not all of these 5 movies to watch when you feel depression and anxiety show mental asylums, patients with major depressive episodes, long therapy sessions, etc. 

While this is true for some people, movies about depression are still worth watching to understand the very roots of depression. These movies to watch when depressed are as exhaustive and revealing as psychotherapy could be. In the most startling way, they twist your mind, rip your guts out, break your heart into pieces, tear you up and leave a long-lasting impression. 

Hold on, dear! There is a method in this madness. 

Many psychologists and psychiatrists today recommend the so-called movie therapy, including movies accurately portraying people having mental health issues. Administering (not sure if that’s a proper word though😉) such movies for depressed people help them detach from their own condition. 

Not only it makes you forget about yourself and empathize with the movie characters but to take a closer look at how the illness progresses; what the possible “way out” might be. 

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Almost a decade has passed since the movie release, but Silver Linings Playbook aged well in our memory. A shockingly uneven eccentric romantic dramedy with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper pins this film up on our “movies to watch when depressed” list. Offbeat characters unashamed to be who they are, and the movie’s sultry jokes together with strong morals are the silver linings you need.

Off the bipolar clouds, Pat Solitano, a charming guy who beats his wife’s lover, mending his broken relationships and life looks like he’s finally got silver linings. Raw and unedited, Silver Linings Playbook denies beautifying mental illness. 

Anomalisa (2015)

Called “the most human movie of the year which does not star a single human” by Esquire, Anomalisa is a rare gem for truly depressed. 

Lighthearted and inspiring its nature, an animated movie with puppets is the kind of movie to watch when depressed. We praise not only the humorous character-driven storyline but the idea of a man living a routine life until one day. 

Anomalisa is one of the movies that help with depression, we say no more.

The Hours (2002)

Out of all The Hours movie reviews, we love the one by Empire the most.

“Wonderfully acted, elegantly written and tightly directed, but by breaking the spell of its opening mood it becomes the kind of worthy Bohemian melodrama it promises not to be.”

You watched the trailer, or heard from a friend already the smart thoughtful 2002 melodrama for older teens and up. This movie is all about “the woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown” featuring not one but three heroines. 

Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore portray uniquely different characters, Virginia Woolf, Laura Brown, and Clarissa Vaughan from different times and places,  suffocating from depression. 

Arguably this may or may not worsen depression in you. The only thing that’s clear is the shared recognition for a much deeper meaning in life than just chores. 

So much worth to be in one row with the top best movies to watch when depressed. 

World’s Greatest Dad (2009)

Full of controversy, World’s Greatest Dad is on this watch list of movies when you feel depression and anxiety. Despite a relatively low (6.9/10) IMDb rating, It received an 88% Rotten Tomatoes rating and is named one of Robin Williams’s best movie appearances. 

The plot accurately describes a want-to-be great writer working his timetable as a poetry teacher at the local high school. Tired and weary, World’s Greatest Dad is a dark comedy that reveals the depth and desperation of human nature. 

You may sympathize or hate Lance Clayton, a father who unwittingly profits from his son’s accidental death. Weird and almost impossible to watch at times, this movie owes its average rating to a naked, cynical view of the world. You may skip this movie completely, or add it up to your ultimate 10 good movies to watch when depressed. Or whatever number of films you are planning to watch. 

Infinitely Polar Bear (2015)

Mark Ruffalo as the good American single who is raising his two daughters in the big city of Boston. How many single dad Marks are there, you say.

The difference is only in his manic depression. Infinitely Polar Bear portrays the raw unpredictable nature of Dad Cameron off his meds. A story of a desperate father trying to win his wife back taking full care of daughters.

The movie gives you a glimpse into the mind of a bipolar, helping you find a balance, and better understand the roots of mental disorder. One of the kinds of movies that deal with depression; well-fitted for both clueless and know-it-alls. 

Want more movies to watch when depressed? Here is your bonus.

The Bonus Movie To Watch When Depressed – Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Movies that deal with depression are not necessarily all darkness and gloom. In fact, out of all the movies on this list, only a few let you see through the prism of anguish, despair, and hopelessness. 

If you are not convinced yet, this addition to our 15 best movies to watch when depressed will assure humor exists in 9 out of 10 movies for depressed people. 

Ruminating thoughts, major breakdowns, and therapy sessions can pave the way out of misery when characters unite in fighting depression, anxiety, and challenging circumstances in life. 

Little Miss Sunshine is a dark comedy about a failing father of two and an overworked mother. A story of a suicidal uncle and an aspiring 7-year-old beauty princess paradoxically instills a healthy dose of motivation. It accurately portrays what life looks like in a depressive household like Hoovers in the eyes of a 7-year-old kid. Still a comedy, Little Miss Sunshine was once called “a perfect combustion of character and comedy” by The Hollywood Reporter. It was also well-received and rated by both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes critics and gained 7.8/10 and 91% respectively. 

The whole-family trip from New Mexico to California for the family’s only daughter, Oliv, taking part in the “Little Miss Sunshine” beauty pageant … 


Film Freak
Film Freak
Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, Furious 7, Avatar, Joker, Captain America: Civil War, Transformers, Lord of the Rings... Give me movies any days! I sleep, drink and live with them. Getting the big titles into my ultimate movie list is what I'm after. Call me crazy, but movies are my thing. And, it'll be yours if you stick around.


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