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Grief is a natural reaction to loss, but it can be quite painful. So, how do you deal with it?
Undergoing the various stages of grief is normal, especially if you shared a special connection with the person you lost.
In this article, we share with you the 21 best movies about dealing with grief and loss. If you are grieving or have a friend who is currently in this state, this post can help you understand grief and how to cope with it.
Let’s check the films out!
What You Will Learn
- 1. Up
- 2. Truly Madly Deeply
- 3. The Bucket List
- 4. P.S. I Love You
- 5. Rabbit Hole
- 6. Beaches
- 7. Marley and Me
- 8. Steel Magnolias
- 9. Ghost
- 10. Terms of Endearment
- 11. The Lovely Bones
- 12. Coco
- 13. My Girl
- 14. The Sixth Sense
- 15. Stepmom
- 16. Bridge to Terabithia
- 17. One True Thing
- 18. A Walk to Remember
- 19. The Descendants
- 20. My Sister’s Keeper
- 21. The Fault in Our Stars
While the majority of the film focuses on how it is never too late to go on an adventure and pursue your dreams, the beginning shares a lot about how grief and loss can result in a lifetime of loneliness and solitude.
Up is highly recommended if you want to explain the concept of grief to your children. There is a long list of moral lessons you can gain from it as well, particularly those relating to empathy and learning how to open yourself up to the world again.
2. Truly Madly Deeply
We love this film for two big reasons: Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson. The movie is your typical love story but revolves around the themes of grief and moving on. The husband (Rickman) dies, and the wife (Stevenson) has a hard time moving on.
It is the delivery of these two actors that makes the movie so exceptional. There is just so much emotion, and both actors are at their career best.
3. The Bucket List
Award-winning actors Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson team up to bring us one of the best and movies of all time. As the title suggests, the film is about a person’s bucket list of things they want to do before they “kick the bucket.”
The Bucket List is one of our favorite films. It’s not just about living your dreams before death, it is also about opening up to the people around you.
4. P.S. I Love You
Some people might say that this is just another typical romantic comedy, but we have to disagree. It is not just another love story—it is the love story. Even the most cynical, jaded person who says they don’t believe in love anymore will still fall in love with Gerard Butler in this film.
P.S. I Love You tells the story of how a young man helps his wife recover from his death. We don’t want to give any more spoilers, since this movie is so good, so you’ll just have to watch it!
5. Rabbit Hole
Rabbit Hole is a heartbreaking film. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart give exceptional performances as a young couple who has lost their son in a car accident. Lost and distraught, their relationship starts to crumble down. How do they deal with both the loss and save their relationship?
We recommend Beaches to any best friends who grew up together but became disconnected, and then eventually found each other again.
If you want to laugh and cry on a Friday night while bonding with your bestie, this is the movie to watch. In addition to the grief and loss that it explores, the film is all about extraordinary friendships strengthened over time, despite distance and differences.
7. Marley and Me
“I felt a grief that I had really not experienced before” is what John Grogan said when he was interviewed for his memoir, Marley and Me. This is what he felt when he and his family lost Marley, their dog companion for 10 years. He described the grief as unending and too much to bear.
The movie version stars Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, a young couple who start their life as newlyweds, move into a hotter city in the south, and decide to adopt a dog. As you have probably deduced, this film demonstrates that we don’t just feel grief for humans—we can feel it for pets, too.
8. Steel Magnolias
If Beaches is for besties, Steel Magnolias is for a group of besties. It follows the story of a dying girl and her group of friends and looks at how their friendship is stronger than the future grief that they are about to face. Death is inevitable, but the love we have for the people we care about is even more powerful.
The movie has a powerhouse cast and is considered to be one of the best friendship movies of all time. Its title, Steel Magnolias, represents toughness (steel) and delicateness (magnolias).
It is usually the living who find it hard to let go of loved ones, but this movie gives us a different twist. Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore star in a film where a ghost can’t let go of the woman he left behind.
Ghost was one of the top-grossing films during the 1990s. We recommend watching it if you want a mix of love, fantasy, and mystery.
10. Terms of Endearment
Terms of Endearment is a tearjerker, despite it being considered a comedy-drama. It is definitely worth a watch, especially with your mom. Many mothers and daughters can have bittersweet relationships, and this movie depicts just that! Are you ready to cry together?
11. The Lovely Bones
If you are looking for a film that captures familial love, grief, and loss, we suggest checking out this movie. It is a supernatural drama film where the main character, Susie Salmon (played by Saoirse Ronan), helps her family find out the truth about her death.
What’s heartbreaking about this film is that her family breaks down after her death. Her father becomes obsessed with the murder case, her mother leaves the house because she can’t take the grief, and her grandmother resorts to drinking, all because of their grief over her death.
This is a feel-good movie, even though it is about grief and loss, because it is also about familial love. It also focuses on Mexican culture and an appreciation for traditional values and holidays.
This movie will help you understand how other cultures deal with the death of loved ones. The process of remembering the dead varies, depending on culture and location, but the ultimate message remains the same: we grieve so that we can move on.
13. My Girl
My Girl is based on the classic 1964 song of the same name performed by The Temptations. It is a coming-of-age story about a young girl and boy who establish a friendship at an early age but are not given the chance to fully develop it because one of them dies.
We don’t want to ruin the story with spoilers, but will just say that it is a must-watch for those who have experienced grief and loss at a very young age. The film is a good reminder that even if our loved ones die, we must continue to live for them and for ourselves.
14. The Sixth Sense
“I see dead people,” is a famous line from this film starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment. It is a supernatural thriller directed by award-winning filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, although it is more intriguing than scary.
What this film tells us that it can be difficult for our deceased loved ones to let go, especially when we, ourselves, can’t let them go. Moving on from a heartache brought by death is a two-way process—the living and the dead must both learn how to let go.
Family values change as time changes, and one example of this is how ex-partners deal with divorce and co-parenting. This movie captures both the good and bad sides of that. After all, what happens when divorce occurs and a new member is added to the family—for instance, a stepmom?
This movie shows what it’s like to live in a unique family unit. It revolves around the themes of awkward moments and uncomfortable feelings, but it also addresses grief, recovery, forgiveness, and love.
16. Bridge to Terabithia
Bridge to Terabithia is not an easy film to watch, but it is also one that you can’t miss! It deals with the themes of loss and grief, and how it can be difficult for young children to deal with such feelings.
Bridge to Terabithia stars Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb, both of whom play 11-year-old kids who have created their own world to escape the harsh pain of reality.
17. One True Thing
This movie is based on the bestselling book of the same name. It was written by New York Magazine’s Anna Quindlen, whose perception of life took a turn when she learned about her mother’s fatal illness that eventually led to her death.
What is it like to take care of a mother who is about to die? Are you willing to leave and sacrifice the life you have built to attend to her last moments? This heartbreaking movie gives us a glimpse of what that decision feels like.
18. A Walk to Remember
Be prepared to cry over this film based on a Nicholas Sparks novel.
How do you let go of the person who has changed your life and brought meaning to it? A Walk to Remember is a break from the normal Hollywood portrayal of teenagers. Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) and Landon Carter (Shane West) show us that just because a couple is young doesn’t mean that it’s puppy love.
19. The Descendants
This film is praised for accurately portraying life in Hawaii, but perhaps the most convincing part of the movie is George Clooney and Shailene Woodle’s acting. We won’t spoil the story because we believe it is a must-watch, especially for fathers and daughters.
20. My Sister’s Keeper
This movie is based on Jodi Picoult’s bestselling novel of the same name. It’s the story of how a mother is willing to do everything for her children, how a father is understanding and empathizes with his children, and how a brother and a sister can sometimes feel neglected because of an inevitable circumstance.
This film teaches us that not all grief is caused by loss. Sometimes, it can be caused by simply knowing that you are eventually going to lose something special to you.
21. The Fault in Our Stars
John Green sure knows how to break hearts. In this 2014 adaptation of one of his most popular books, we are taken into a modern love story, except that the archenemy is a disease—cancer—and it lives inside both of our characters’ bodies.
We get to tag along with Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) as they travel down the road of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The film is full of grief and loss, but also forgiveness, compassion, and empathy.
It’s okay to feel lost and confused when you are grieving. It’s all part of the process, and you have to experience it fully in order to move on. You deserve to cry your heart out as much as you need to in order to finally be happy again.
We hope that, through these movies about grief and loss, you are better able to understand how the grieving process works.