Are you looking for a movie to not only make you cry, but to make you feel miserable, like there’s no hope left in the world, like a Dementor has sucked the life out of you? Well then, look no further than this list of horribly depressing movies. That’s not to say that they aren’t well made – all of them are – but they definitely would never be described as the “feel good movie of the year”:
- 21 Grams – Sean Penn has never played such a miserable character. Well, except for the next movie on the list…
- Mystic River – Sean Penn’s anguished shouting of this phrase over and over: “Is that my daughter in there?!” Enough said.
- Million Dollar Baby – What? You came to see a “triumph over adversity” sports movie? What else would you expect, with Morgan Freeman in it? Well, you thought wrong.
- House of Sand and Fog – Plastic wrap has never been so disturbing. But that’s only the tip of the tragic iceberg in this house.
- In the Bedroom – This one is more low key than the others on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less emotionally draining.
- Dead Man Walking – I’m sensing a theme here. If Sean Penn is in a movie (he plays a death row inmate in this one), it will probably be depressing. I really like him as an actor, and he plays deeply troubled, damaged characters very convincingly. About the only “feel good” Sean Penn movie you’ll find is Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but that’s definitely not his best work.
- Grizzly Man – Unlike the other movies on this list, this one is a documentary. I think that makes it the most depressing of all. To sit and watch a three hour movie about Timothy Treadwell, and hear all about his “kinship with bears,” was excruciating – particularly when you know that he ended up being eaten by one (thankfully they didn’t show any footage related to that). It made me feel sick to know that someone’s social life would be so dysfunctional that he would look to animals – and ferocious bears at that – for friendship. Another horrible part is that Timothy’s girlfriend was so loyal to him, and apparently just as deluded – that she joined him on his treks into the bear sanctuary and ultimately died with him. I only recommend this movie to people interested in trying to understand what would lead Timothy Treadwell to this kind of life and death. Otherwise, stay away. I wish I had.
I’d like to have ten movies on this list, so if you can think of any other inherently sad movies (meaning there’s hardly any hope by the time the credits roll), please let me know!