“Depression isn’t just being a bit sad. It’s feeling nothing. It’s not wanting to be alive anymore.” – JK Rowling
My struggle with depression started when I was around twelve years old. And anxiety had been a part of my life ever since I was born. Things have gotten way better since then, but there are still times when I stumble, but ultimately get back on my feet.
People make depression look like a straight line, but it’s not. It’s full of curves, twists, and turns. It’s very important for people diagnosed with depression to understand their minds better but unfortunately, there aren’t many movies out there which depict depression at its truest state except the ones mentioned below.
These are the movies which I deeply resonated with, and I hope others do too.
Swiss Army Man (2016), starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, revolves around the relationship between a man who is dead and a man who wants to die. Together, they venture through the forests to reach civilization. But metaphorically, the forests represent depression.
We look at the world through the eyes of someone who sees life as a monotonous, mundane roller-coaster, and someone who looks at life like a new-born baby. The awkward quirkiness of this movie paired with cringy humor, outstanding dialogues, and impeccable chemistry between the lead actors makes this an instant classic of the 21st century.
Memorable Quote: “But maybe everyone’s a little bit ugly. Maybe we’re all just dying sacks of shit, and maybe all it’ll take is one person to just be okay with that, and then the whole world will be dancing and singing and farting, and everyone will feel a little bit less alone.”
Unlike Swiss Army Man, there’s nothing humorous about Short Term 12 (2013) starring Brie Larson. But it’s one of the most beautiful movies I’ve watched in a while. The film has very realistically captured the essence of having a troubled mind.
Brie Larson plays the role of a supervisor at a group-home for kids and teens who are at-risk. She tries to help these young, troubled minds and at the same time confronts and attempts to defeat her own demons.
Memorable Quote: “You talk to me about it so that I can take your hand and fucking walk through this shit with you. That is what I signed up for, Okay? But I cannot do that if you won’t let me in.”
Touched with Fire (2015) is one of those extremely controversial movies which get bashed for romanticizing mental illnesses. But if you choose to look beyond the harsh criticism, you’d realize there’s something that we all can learn from this movie – and it’s about acceptance.
Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby play two manic-depressive poets, who do not wish to be a part of the psychiatric hospital. It revolves around a highly arguable yet interesting theory about how responsive would a patient be to treatment if he/she was told to nurture his/her mental illness rather than see it as a mere, evil disease?
Memorable Quote: “They call me Luna. Because my mind moves in tune with the lunar shifts. They call me a lunatic… because my biological clock’s a time bomb that ticks down to the minute the full moon’s lit.”
4. To The Bone
To the Bone (2017) starring Lily Collins tells a story of a girl struggling with an intense eating disorder and depression. It depicts the life of the protagonist who has made a home within darkness, which has become her comfort zone. It is a story of how she breaks out of this self-destructive and vicious place in her mind.
Memorable Quote: “Stop waiting for life to be easy. Stop hoping for somebody to save you. You don’t need another person lying to you. Things don’t all add up, but you are resilient. Face some hard facts and you could have an incredible life.”
The Other Half (2016) is another movie in which the cycle of depression is portrayed with utmost honesty, with all its vulnerability, mess, and beauty. Two broken people meet, and try to build a relationship with each other.
For a person with mental illness, it’s hard enough to build a healthy internal relationship, and the idea of an external relationship almost seems impossible to sustain but this movie beautifully captures the thoughts and challenges an individual goes through in order to connect with another human being.
Memorable Quote: “It’s very hard to say. It’s where a person thinks they’re standing on solid ground but really, they’re on quicksand.”