10 Movies That Tackle Depression Head-on

Have you ever chosen to watch a movie expecting one thing only to be unexpectedly taken back by the film? Whether you’re curious to learn more about depression through the stories of the characters on the silver screen, or you’re sensitive to movies covering the subject matter, we have compiled a list of ten movies that each take a unique look at how depression can affect people in all walks and stages of life. 

1. The Lobster

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The Lobster is a movie that has received a lot of praise and attention. It has been nominated for several awards and is often mentioned as one of the best movies on depression. The film was directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, who also directed The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Lobster. The film stars Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and Ben Whishaw.

The story revolves around David (Colin Farrell), a man who has 45 days to find love or be turned into an animal by the government. He goes to live in a hotel where he meets other singles looking for love and eventually falls in love with another woman named Angelica (Rachel Weisz). But she also has her own problems because she is not allowed to fall in love with him due to their different class statuses.

In this way, The Lobster is an excellent example of how depression can be both isolating and self-destructive at the same time. David feels isolated from society because he doesn’t want to be seen as different from everyone else since he doesn’t have a partner or children.

2. Inside Out

Image Courtesy of Disney/Pixar.

The movie Inside Out depicts the struggles of a young girl named Riley, who moves from Minnesota to San Francisco with her family. The move causes Riley to experience various emotions as she falls in love, makes new friends, and deals with the aftermath of her father’s new job. While it’s not explicitly stated in the movie, many viewers have identified with elements of the story and felt that it accurately portrayed depression and anxiety.

Some people were so moved by the movie that they wrote letters to Pixar expressing their gratitude for helping them better understand their mental health issues. In response, Pixar created an animated short called “Riley’s First Date” that showed how Riley’s parents struggled with how to talk about mental health with their daughter.

The film does a fantastic job of showing how our emotions affect us daily. You might find yourself relating to the characters in some way—whether it’s Joy wanting to stay positive or Fear being scared of everything. It’s also a great way to learn more about how our brains work and how we can better manage our emotions!

3. The Trip to Italy

Image Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

The Trip to Italy is one of the best movies on depression because of its unique take on the genre, which is not often explored in a comedic light. The movie follows two comedians who are trying to find themselves while they are both in Italy. This movie can combine comedy with a deep look at depression and what it means to be depressed. It also explores how people deal with their depression and how they deal with other people who are depressed. The movie shows that there is no right way to deal with depression, which makes this movie unique among films on depression.

4. Requiem for a Dream

Image Credit: Artisan Entertainment.

This movie is about four people in the middle of their lives going through different situations. They are all struggling with something. One character is trying to get out of his mother’s house because she is taking drugs and has no money or food. 

Another character is trying to find the right way to support his family, but he doesn’t want to give up his dream of becoming a successful actor. Another character wants to lose weight to be beautiful like her sister. The last character also suffers from depression and wants to get better so he can have a better life with his wife, but things don’t turn out as planned for any of them.

This film’s central theme is how we are all human beings and have problems like everyone else—even if some people seem happy on the outside. Those feelings may not be real inside their hearts. This movie shows us how important it is to talk about our emotions to feel better together as one community!

5. Fight Club

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Fight Club is an excellent movie for anyone who is struggling with depression. The film follows an unnamed narrator and his friend Tyler. They form a fight club as a way to channel their anger and frustration, but the Club quickly spirals out of control as both men become increasingly violent and destructive.

The movie explores themes of masculinity, consumerism, and capitalism through the eyes of characters who are deeply dissatisfied with their lives. It’s also full of action sequences that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Fight Club does an excellent job of showing how society plays a role in our struggles with mental health issues. The movie explores many complex mental health-related ideas and keeps you hooked until the end. 

6. Black Swan

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Black Swan is another excellent movie on depression. It’s a psychological thriller that follows the story of Nina, a ballerina who has to compete with her rival for the lead role in Swan Lake. Black Swan has everything you could want in a drama: love triangles, murder plots, and exceptional dancing. The film also explores themes like obsession, addiction, and mental illness. It’s an insightful look at how a person can become obsessed—and how that obsession can lead them down a dark path.

7. American Beauty

Image Credit: Dreamworks.

American Beauty is a 1999 movie that deals with themes of self-acceptance, suicide, and mental illness. The main character, Lester Burnham (played by Kevin Spacey), is a middle-aged man unhappy with his life. He dreams of being young again and isn’t sure how to find enjoyment in his life. He works long hours at a job he hates and spends his free time smoking pot and drinking beer.

One day, Lester finds himself attracted to his daughter’s friend Angela (played by Mena Suvari). Angela moved in next door with her mom, Carolyn (played by Annette Bening). They’ve been having problems because Angela wants to go out with the boys instead of staying home like her mom wants her to.

American Beauty is one of the best movies on depression because it shows how difficult it can be to be happy when you’ve lost your way. It also illustrates how easy it is to lose yourself in a relationship and how hard it is to break free from that trap. More importantly, this movie shows how important it is for people to take care of themselves in a healthy way, including their mental health. This movie also demonstrates how important family support is when dealing with any mental health issues.

8. The Hours

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The plot is about three women of different generations whose lives are affected by an original book written by Virginia Woolf. It begins with Clarissa Vaughan (Kidman), a Los Angeles housewife who is bored with her life as a homemaker and seeks excitement in her social circle and through the activities of her husband’s mistress. Vaughan’s story parallels Virginia Woolf’s (Streep) in 1923 London and Virginia Woolf’s lover/assistant, Leonard Woolf (Stephen Dillane). With a plot like this, there are many themes explored throughout the film—including suicide, depression, and loss. 

9. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)

Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is a difficult film to watch. It’s funny and sad, strange and poignant. It’s also an authentic portrayal of depression. The film is about an aging oceanographer named Steve Zissou who, when told his closest friend has died, decides to assemble an unlikely crew to hunt down the shark that killed him. But it’s also about so much more than that.

It’s about loss, grief, and moving on after losing someone you love. It’s about the struggle to find meaning when you feel like you have nothing left to give or care about anymore. And it shows how hard it can be for people with depression to get better without help from others around them who understand what they’re going through.

10. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Image Credit: Focus Features.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the best movies on depression. It’s also one of the best movies about love, loss, and heartbreak. And it’s a movie that can help you understand your feelings when going through those things. 

The movie begins with Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) waking up after having his memories erased by Dr. Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson). He has no memory of Clementine Kruczynski, who had previously been his girlfriend and then his ex-girlfriend. He realizes that she has been erased from his mind. As he gets closer to her, he realizes he still loves her and wants her back. 

The film does a great job at portraying how depression feels–the constant sadness and lack of motivation or interest in things that generally make people happy are both portrayed perfectly by Jim Carrey’s character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Watching movies on depression can be both entertaining and informative. The right film can make you laugh, cry, or both simultaneously. It may also inspire you to learn more about the topic of depression, which itself is an invaluable thing.

Author: Kinda Frugal

Expertise: Money, entertainment, family, and travel.


Being “kinda” frugal to us means finding joy in simplicity and embracing the art of maximizing our earnings and getting the best value out of every dollar spent. It’s not just about saving money; it’s about creating a life that aligns with our values and dreams.

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