When we’re depressed sometimes all we want to do is watch a good movie to lift our spirits, make us laugh, or just to escape for a couple of hours into a different world. I’ve put together a list of movies that do just that.
If you’d prefer to listen to something, rather than watch, I’ve also created an awesome list (which goes into reasons why and the science behind it) of great music to listen to when depressed.
School of Rock
This movie was made in 2003 and stars Jack Black. It’s about a man who dreams of making it big in a band. Through a series of events he ends up subbing at a school and creating a band club with the students. The kid ensemble are incredibly talented both with music and acting, and Jack Black has some stupidly funny moments and great chemistry with the kids. As a musician myself I can resonate with Jack Black’s character, but will he make his dreams come true?
This movie is: funny, heartfelt, upbeat and motivational.
Rat Race is a load of laughs from start to end, and it’s not surprising considering the cast: Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Seth Green, John Cleese, Jon Lovitz and a bunch of others. The film is about a millionaire casino owner in Vegas who likes to have fun with his millionaire buddies by placing bets on ‘races’ of an unconventional nature. He creates the ultimate race where the participants have to get from Las Vegas to New Mexico by any means necessary, to win the prize of a big bag of cash stored in a locker.
I love this movie and it’s great to see the movie cut between each group of people as they get into all sorts of situations while trying to get from A to B. It’s very clever.
This movie is: funny, fast paced, heartfelt, witty and uplifting.
This is a classic trilogy of movies with a big Hollywood cast including Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Each movie is essentially about a group of criminals who plan extraordinary heists.
It’s very well made, has a great story and has a good smattering of high brow and low brow laughs. The great thing is that if you like the first one there are two more equally good movies following it, each great as a stand alone movie in themselves.
This movie is: exciting, interesting and funny.
Mel Brooks directs and stars in this classic comedy, along with John Candy and Rick Morains. It’s a spoof on the Star Wars and Star Trek movies. It’s tricky to sum up the plot, but it’s essentially about the tragic space hero Lone Starr who has to free Princess Vespa from the evil clutches of Dark Helmet.
You certainly don’t need to have watched Star Wars or Star Trek to enjoy this movie, but it’ll help with the subtle and utterly non subtle jokes. This film is modern, yet is considered a comedy classic.
This movie is: light, laughs a minute, comic genius and heartfelt.
This is a classic Pixar film that was hugely popular amongst both kids and adults. It follows the story of Nemo, a clown fish who was born with a slightly deformed fin. Nemo gets caught and put into an aquarium in Sydney. His dad tries to track him down and meets a lot of amazing and sometimes scary things along the way, including a slightly crazy fish played by Ellen DeGeneres.
This movie is: touching, funny, colourful and an adventure.
If you like zombie movies you’ll love this one, and even if you don’t like zombie movies you’ll still love this one. It’s a comedy and follows a group of flawed yet throughly likable characters as they try and survive the apocalypse. Woody Harrelson leads the ensemble and it features a great cameo by Bill Murray.
There is a bit of blood and guts, but it’s done in a way that makes it funny because of how the characters react to it.
This movie is: funny, an adrenaline rush and clever.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
This film stars Ben Stiller in a more serious role. Walter Mitty is a man with little confidence who has daydreams about being the hero of the hour, whether it’s saving a dog from a burning building or asking out the girl of his dreams.
Life Magazine that he works for as the photo analyst is under new management, and they’re taking the publication online. Walter has to track down a photo sent to him by a famous photographer which will be used for the cover of their final printed publication.
The films see’s Walter leap outside of his comfort zone as his search takes him to several ‘off the beaten track’ countries, including Iceland. We see him grow and become more confident with some scary and often comic situations he finds himself in. It’s a very, very motivational film.
This film is: motivational, funny, heartfelt and warming.
How to find other films
If you’re unsure of what movie to look for, or you’d like a specific genre, do a search and see what comes up. For example “silly romantic films”, or “calming motivational films”, they’ll be lots more to choose from.
I hope one of these films lifts you day, and if you are suffering from depression I have a ton of other great posts on my self development page. Posts such as rig the game to win: the secret to regain confidence during depression, how to wake up fresh using sleep cycles or the secret to getting and keeping good things in life you might find interesting.