When you’re feeling depressed, sometimes all you want to do is crawl into bed and watch a movie. That is OK. That is Human. I have been known to get myself in a cycle of self-destruction as I fear if I feel sad and just ‘mulch’ about, I’ll feel guilty and only worse. So, I pack my day with so much stuff and plaster a smile on my face to convince everyone I’m fine, until I evidentally burn out and crash into a messy pile of tears and anger which I take out on those around me.
We’re always told to ‘fake it til you make it’ and write down 5 positive things and yes, sometimes this helps. This can be dangerous though as we begin to think we should feel ashamed for having dark days, as if they’re not as important and as valuable to self-development as those that are better. I’m a firm believer that if you’re having a bad mental health moment, you should honour it. Like a child you should give it the attention it deserves for a certain amount of time, be that an afternoon, an entire day or a couple of days. During this time you should nurture it, treat it with care, give your brain nourishment and rest. Feed it with good films, books and food then go and make 1001 cups of tea and hot water bottles because it’s the RIGHT THING TO DO.
Picking the right film to lift you out of a funk is an art. In my opinion the movie you pick should have one of two qualities. It should either remind you that life is so beautiful and meaningful that the bad days are worth it, or it should be so absurd that you forget that your problems exist. If it can toe the line between both, even better.
But I will say that choosing the wrong movie can keep you feeling down in the dumps. More than once, I’ve heard someone recommend The Notebook as good viewing for a bad day, making me seriously question their judgment. To stay in the feel-good sphere, the movie you pick should not take place during a war, involve the death of a parent, lover, or other cherished character, contain gratuitous violence, or be based on a Nicholas Sparks book. For a safe bet, try one of these films.
Ok, before you start lecturing me on how Matilda is just a silly children’s film, pocket your pessimism and snobbery for just a moment and hear me out. With a super genius five-year-old girl who just so happens to possess magical powers and endless family problems, a crook of a dad played by DeVito who sells old, beat up cars and a terrifying Trunchbull who locks people in cells, what isn’t to love? Matilda is the epitome of powerlessness in a world dominated by uneducated criminals and vicious bullies disguised as ‘responsible adults.’ Dressed up with adorable names like ‘Miss Lavender’ and ‘Honey,’ plenty of mischief, a scene invoving everyone cheering on a fat kid to gorge on a chocolate cake we all wish we had for our birthday and probably one of the coolest movie soundtracks ever, the whole thing is utterly charming.
GOOD WILL HUNTNG (1997)
Matt Damon stars as a mathematical genius who is equally arrogant yet loveable at the same time. He is ironed out by one of the most joyful people ever to be seen on screen, Robin Williams. Lessons in what it means to be vulnerable and how to come head-to-head with your own deep rooted issues are taught through a tale of friendship, love and how making mistakes is perfectly human. This film is funny, heart-warming and heart-wrenching all at once. Prepare some tissues as you’ll be both crying with laughter and sadness through the whole thing.
HAPPY FEET (2006)
Love, friendship and the importance of standing out from the crowd is told through singing and dancing penguins. Need i say more? Plus, with all the talk of climate change at the moment, the smaller themes of melting ice-caps and animal extinction feel very topical. Whilst the first film leaves you feeling all gooey inside and will surely have you breaking out in song and dance for days after, don’t bother with the sequel. Take my word for it.
Amelie’s magic lies in how it defines us, not by materialistic objects, but by our actions, the unusual aspects of our personalities. Our quirks, which we’re sometimes ashamed of, are what makes us unique and gives us our humanity. Beyond a mere boy-meets-girl love story, Jean-Pierre Jeunet presents us with a story about a protagonist who, in trying to fix all of the problems of those around her, ignores her own happiness in the process. All this is set in the backdrop of the wonderful, pretty peculiar and vibrant city of Paris and embedded with wonderfully weird characters. You’ll be swept off your feet in style with this film and be left longing to the learn the Accordian. That I guarantee.
Now, any Disney film is really applicable here; choose your favourite in my opinion! For me though this classic tale of sorcery, song, dance and a street rat’s rise to the top is one of the best Walt has to offer us. An admirable underdog (who we all relate to) falls madly in love with a beautiful princess (who we all want to be!) Despite the evil-sorcerer, difference in social-status and unfortunate mishaps throughout, the two are brought together by a hilarious and witty genie, a flying carpet and a misbehaving monkey. When you feel like crap, do yourself a favour and take a visit to The Cave of Wonders where you’ll find a whole new world and realise you’re a diamond in the ruff.