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Best Movies and TV Shows to Watch When You're Depressed

Updated on September 21, 2010

Need help deciding which movies or tv shows to watch when you're feeling depressed?

Ever feel depressed and bored and need something to do? Perhaps you'd like to watch a movie but you're not in the mood to watch a comedy or a movie full of romance. Maybe you want to watch something you can relate to on an emotional level. Below are some recommendations for you. On the other hand...maybe you're depressed and you'd like to be cheered up so a comedy or feel good movie is exactly what you're looking for. There are some suggestions for you as well.

The movies below are all suggested for different reasons and you can read their reviews to see which ones appeal most to you and your mood. (TV shows and other DVD's to watch are listed at the bottom of the page)

They are all rated on a sadness scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being the least sad and 10 the most sad. They are also rated on how funny they are (from 1 to 10) and how entertaining they are (from 1 to 10).

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Sadness: 6

Funny: 4

Entertaining: 7

This is a good movie for anyone who's ever gone through a really emotional breakup or been in a relationship they wish they could just forget. This movie is about a couple who after they break up undergo a procedure which erases each other from their memories completely. It's an interesting concept because I think we've all wished we could erase at least one or two of our exes from our memory. The movie shows the lead male character, Joel, undergoing the procedure and recalling moments in his relationship with his ex, Clementine. He recalls the bad times as well as the good and in the end questions whether he really wants all those memories erased.

I give it a 6 on the sadness scale because while there are some sad moments in it, it's not overly emotional. It gets a 4 on the funny scale because it's not a comedy but it does have a few things in it that might make you laugh and a 7 on the entertaining scale because it really is a good movie and keeps your attention the whole way through.

Girl Interrupted

Sadness: 7

Funny: 2

Entertaining: 6

This movie is based on the real life story of a woman who struggled with borderline personality disorder as a young woman in the late 60's. I think it's a great movie for anyone who suffers from any kind of mental illness, especially things like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. It follows her through her stay at a mental hospital where she meets a lot of eccentric people who are dealing with their own issues. On a scale of sadness I'd give it a 7 because there are a few moments that are a bit depressing and sad to watch. I only give it a 2 on the funny scale because it's not meant to be funny but you can't help but to laugh at a few of the sarcastic comments that are made. For entertainment I give it a 6, it's interesting enough to watch but if you're not interested in movies that deal with mental illness then this isn't the movie for you.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Sadness: 3

Funny: 1

Entertaining: 6

This movie is about a convict, McMurphy, who pretends to have a few screws loose so he can serve his time in a mental hospital instead of jail. Once he gets to the hospital he meets the other patients and actually forms a sort of friendship with some of them and helps them to fight against the tyranny of the evil nurse Ratched. However all his rebelliousness gets him deeper into trouble until finally they force him to undergo shock therapy. I give this movie a 3 for sadness because there are a couple of moments that can make you a bit sad and depressed, especially when you see how the patients are being treated, but it's not overly emotional. For funny I give it a 1 because it's not really meant to be funny but McMurphy does make some jokes from time to time that you might find funny. And for entertainment I'd give it a 6, again I think you need to be interested in the subject of mental illness for this movie to really appeal to you, but if you are then it's definitely worth seeing.

Twilight

Sadness: 2

Funny: 3

Entertaining: 7

O.K. so I know what you're thinking...why on earth would I include Twilight in this list, but hear me out. I think if you're young this movie will really appeal to you, it's got a bit of everything, romance, drama, a bit of comedy here and there, action and some blood (although not very much). This movie is about a young girl, Bella, who falls in love with a vampire and is brought into his world full of some strange and some beautiful things. However it's not easy being a vampire's girlfriend so she keeps finding herself in dangerous situations. I give it a 2 on the sadness scale because it's not very sad but some unfortunate things do happen to her. It's not very funny but there are a few jokes made here and there and a 7 on the entertainment scale because it is fun to watch. It's nice to watch a story once in a while about something that's totally make believe and that transports you into a different world where anything can happen. It's mostly about the love story though so if you're not interested in watching that sort of thing then this movie isn't for you.

New Moon

Sadness: 6

Funny: 4

Entertaining: 7

So how could I put Twilight on this list without adding New Moon as well? This is the sequel to Twilight of course and it again follows Bella through her relationship with vampire Edward until Edward decides he must leave her for her own safety but lets her believe that it's because she's not good enough for him. As a result Bella goes through a deep depression and starts to rely on her best friend Jacob (the werewolf) to help her through the pain. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to the sadness Bella feels when Edward leaves and she feels like her entire world is falling apart. I give the move a 6 for sadness because it's a bit heartbreaking when Edward leaves and Bella gets depressed. I give it a 4 in terms of funniness because there are a couple of moments when you laugh but it's not a comedy and a 7 for entertainment because it is fun and entertaining to watch.

Little Miss Sunshine

Sadness: 3

Funny: 7

Entertaining: 8

Little Miss Sunshine is about a dysfunctional family that takes a road trip together so they can get their young daughter to a beauty pageant on time. The father thinks he has a brilliant idea for a 9 step program to success, but he's a lot less successful than he thinks. The uncle is suicidal, the brother has taken a vow of silence because of Friedrich Nietzsche, the grandfather is on drugs and the little girl isn't your average beauty queen. All this makes for a funny and entertaining story. I give it a 3 for sadness because there are a few sad things that happen but overall it's quite funny. A 7 for funniness because there isn't much in this movie that won't make you laugh and an 8 for entertaining because it's definitely fun to watch.

Juno

Sadness: 1

Funny: 6

Entertaining: 6

Juno is about a teenage girl who gets pregnant by her high school sweetheart. The movie follows her through her pregnancy and her search for the perfect parents to adopt her baby. Juno is definitely unconventional in the way she does things but she's quite funny and sarcastic. I give it a 1 for sadness because there are only a couple of sad parts and a 6 for funniness because Juno is constantly doing strange and funny things that will make you laugh. I give it a 6 for entertaining because it does a good job at keeping you interested and keeping you laughing.

The Notebook

Sadness: 6

Funny: 2

Entertaining: 5

The Notebook is about a rich young city girl, Allie, who falls in love with a poor country boy, Noah. Allie's family does not approve of her relationship with Noah and does everything they can to keep her away from him. They are separated and then reunited several years later when they realize they still have feelings for each other. The movie goes back and forth from present day where both Ally and Noah are in a nursing home and Noah is recalling the story of their romance to the 1940s when they are young and first meet and fall in love. So I give this movie a 6 on the sadness scale because it's a bit sappy and sad when they are separated. It's definitely one of those romantic movies, so if you're not in the mood for any romance then don't watch this. I give it a 2 for funniness because there's not much that you'll find funny in this movie and a 5 for entertainment because some people will enjoy the sappiness and romance and relate to the hardships they go through and others won't.

Mary and Max

Sadness: 7

Funny: 7

Entertaining: 6

Mary and Max is an animated movie about an 8 year old Australian girl named Mary who doesn't have any friends and gets teased a lot. One day she picks a random name out of a phone book and decides to write to that person to see if they'll be her pen pal. The man she writes to is a 44 year old obese Jewish man who lives in New York and suffers from Asperger's Syndrome. They trade letters back and forth telling each other about their lives and all the unfortunate things that happen to them. They become each others only friends and remain pen pals for many years as Mary grows up. I give this movie a 7 on the sadness scale because there are quite a few depressing things that happen to both Mary and Max, neither of them have a very easy life. I give the movie a 7 for funniness because even though there are a lot of sad parts to the movie the letters Mary and Max share tend to be quite funny and entertaining. I give the movie a 6 for it's entertainment value because I think if you're someone who suffers from depression and loneliness you'll be able to relate to this movie, but keep in mind that the movie has several moments that are quite depressing so if you're looking for more of a lighthearted movie this isn't it.

Monty Python Movies

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life

Holy Grail: Sadness: 0 Funny: 9 Entertaining: 9

Life of Brian: Sadness: 0 Funny: 8 Entertaining: 7

The Meaning of Life: Sadness: 0 Funny: 7 Entertaining: 6

I recommend all three of these Monty Python movies because they're extremely funny. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is definitely the best but the others don't fall far behind. None of them are sad, they are all hilarious and extremely entertaining.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail follows King Arthur as he searches for brave knights who will join him at Camelot and help him search for the Holy Grail. In the process hilarity ensues as King Arthur runs into a ton of strange characters with whom he has some very silly encounters with.

Life of Brian is about a man named Brian, born about the same time and just a few stable doors down from where Jesus was born, who ends up getting mistaken for being the Messiah. A group of people begin to follow him thinking he is the Messiah and he tries in vain to convince them otherwise and gets quite frustrated. This movie is a religious satire and may not appeal to everyone.

The Meaning of Life is a series of sketches that address different parts of life such as being born, growing up, middle age and death. All of the sketches are funny as long as you have an open mind and don't mind that they make fun of everything and everyone.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Sadness: 4

Funny: 6

Entertaining: 6

This story follows a transsexual who recounts certain events in her life like her botched sex change, growing up in Berlin with an eccentric mother, coming to the United States, forming a rock band, falling in love and being betrayed by her lover. O.K. so this movie won't appeal to everyone but if you have an open mind you should check it out. I give it a 4 for sadness because a lot of sad things happen to Hedwig along the way and I think a lot of people will be able to relate to her heartbreak, loneliness and betrayal. I give it a 6 for funniness because Hedwig is very funny and is always making snide remarks which you can't help but laugh at. A 6 for entertaining because if you go into this movie with an open mind you might find out you like it more than you thought you would.

Remember Me

Sadness: 6

Funny: 2

Entertaining: 6

This movie centers around the lives of Tyler and Ally. Tyler is in his early twenties and is dealing with his brother's suicide, his fathers coldness, and his sisters difficulties fitting in with her peers. Tyler has his own problems and is a bit rebellious and confrontational himself. Ally witnessed her mother murdered when she was a young child and now lives with her dad who is overly protective. Tyler starts dating Ally on a bet but quickly falls in love with her. I give the movie a 6 for sadness because both of the lead characters have a lot of sad family issues they have to deal with and the ending is quite sad. A 2 for funniness because there might be a couple of things that make you laugh but not much since it's a drama. A 6 for entertaining because it's worth watching and will keep your attention.

(500) Days of Summer

Sadness: 3

Funny: 5

Entertaining: 6

This movie is about a young man, Tom, who meets a young woman, Summer, who he instantly falls for. The only problem is Summer really doesn't believe in true love and the idea of spending the rest of her life with one person. Slowly however Summer falls for Tom too and the movie follows them through their relationship until it comes to an end. Tom recalls their relationship and both the good and bad times they've had together. It's an interesting movie on relationships but not the typical love story that you expect to end happily ever after which is nice. Some relationships just don't work out and the movie is very honest about that. I give it a 3 for sadness because there are a couple of parts like when they fight and break up that are a little sad. A five for funniness because there are some things that will make you laugh like the silly musical numbers and when they pretend to be a married couple living in IKEA. A 6 for entertainment because it's a good movie to watch if you want something that's a bit depressing but also a bit funny.

Other DVD's and TV Shows to Watch

Monty Python's Flying Circle

If you're depressed and all you really want to do is laugh, this will definitely do the job. Watch any old episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus and you're sure to laugh. Some of the best sketches to check out are Ministry of Silly Walks, Upper Class Twit of the Year, Dead Parrot, The Lumberjack Song, Four Yorkshire Men, etc.

The Mighty Boosh

The Mighty Boosh is extremely funny and wacky. The show follows the life of two main characters, Vince Noir and Howard Moon. Vince, who considers himself to be "King of the Mods", is incredibly stylish, obsessed with his hair, and has a very cheerful personality. Howard Moon is a rather plain and unlucky man who loves Jazz. Even though they're complete opposites they're best friends and go on many wacky adventures together. In the first season they work at a zoo, in the second they share a flat with their pals Naboo (the Shaman) and Bolo (the gorilla) and in season 3 they help Naboo run his shop. All three seasons are worth watching.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia probably won't appeal to everyone but if you get used to the slightly different acting style than you'll start to realize that it's quite funny. The show is about five underachievers running a pub, Paddy's, in Philadelphia. The characters are always getting themselves into trouble and constantly end up fighting with each other and others for completely ridiculous nonsensical reasons. The characters have very little tact and are far from being politically correct. Part of the reason this show is so funny is because of Danny Devito, he really knows how to play a depraved drunk and make it hysterically funny.

Community

Community is full of laughs. It follows a group of students, who are different ages and come from different backgrounds, through their time at Greendale Community College. The main character, Jeff Winger, is a lawyer who is suspended from practicing law because his degree turns out be fake. He returns to school in hopes to get his career back and runs into a group of diverse characters who all become close friends through their study group. Chevy Chase is hilarious in this show because he plays an aging moist towelette tycoon who goes back to school to make friends and to try to fit in with the youth culture. He ends up making a ton of hilarious faux pas due to his misguided stereotyping and poor hearing.

House

This show follows Dr. House, an unconventional, sarcastic and sometimes downright mean, but brilliant doctor who leads his own diagnostic team that specializes in hard to solve medical cases. This show has drama and comedy. It's interesting to see what new tricks House will come up with to solve his next case. He makes a lot of snide and sarcastic yet funny remarks. There's never a dull moment when you're watching this show. What makes it so interesting is that House does practically whatever he wants and gets away with it.

Fringe

This show follows the Fringe Division, part of the FBI, who investigate strange and unexplained occurrences. It's similar to the X-Files and will definitely keep you guessing. The characters are fun to watch especially Walter who was recently released from a mental hospital so that he could work with the Fringe Division. He's a brilliant scientist but has a few screws loose and is quite forgetful which makes for some funny moments from time to time. If you like science fiction and mystery then this is a good show.

Eddie Izzard DVD's

Eddie Izzard is a great comedian to watch if you're feeling down and depressed. He will definitely make you laugh and he covers a wide variety of topics from historical figures to religion to pop culture and a lot more. He starts a topic and rambles on and on about it but in a funny way not a boring way. Some of his best DVD's to watch are Dress to Kill, Glorious and Circle although the others are great as well.

Find the DVD's Mentioned Above on Amazon

Leave a Comment Suggesting Your Favorite Movies and Shows to Watch

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    • profile image

      ffs 15 months ago

      Sad movies don't "make depressed people suicidal." I have thoughts about suicide because of real problems in my personal life. Things that are actually happening to me, or things that I am afraid are going to actually happen to me. Not because of something I saw on TV.

      The fact is, it's hard enough to focus on anything but your own concerns when you have depression or anxiety. If a movie can hold my attention, it's a welcome break from the worry. Sometimes a movie about sad people with problems like mine is easier to empathize with than a happy-go-lucky movie, when I don't feel so chipper myself.

    • profile image

      Grant 2 years ago

      Let's have sad movies that far outweigh their funny aspects, good choice if you wanna make the depressed people suicidal. Glad people were thinking when they made this

    • JoolsObsidian LM profile image

      JoolsObsidian LM 6 years ago

      If you like the Mighty Boosh you will also appreciate the IT Crowd and Black Books not to mention Green Wing and Spaced - these are all TV series. Liked your lens and will try some of your suggestions !!