Life and death are inextricably linked. As we live, we one day shall die. As we sleep, we shall dream.
Loss oftentimes will come when we least expect it, and the grieving process is an ocean of feelings. Emotions ebb and flow, tides of tears can sometimes pull us under, drifting through a sea of sadness, we may find ourselves wondering when the shore of comfort will ever be found…or if it even exists.
Personally, one of the ways that I’ve found healing (and helpful) to cope with loss is by immersing myself in art, and cinema that inspires feelings of hope, acceptance and beauty.
With that being said, I’ve compiled a list of powerful films that may be helpful if you’re processing a transition and seeking comfort through uncomfortable times.
Powerful Films to Help if You’re Coping With a Loss
My Octopus Teacher
A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world.SOURCE: Netflix
THEMES: The circle of life, death, unlikely friendship, and acceptance.
Workaholic Thomas Johnson dies in an auto accident and comes back to life as a dog. Remembering some of who he was, he returns to his wife and son to protect them from the man who caused his accident. But, as time goes by, he remembers more of his life, and realizes he wasn’t such a good husband and father.SOURCE: YouTube
THEMES: Reincarnation, family, death of a parent, hope, resolving the unresolved.
The Lion King
The Lion King tells the story of Simba (Swahili for lion), a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands; however, after Simba’s paternal uncle Scar murders Mufasa, Simba is manipulated into thinking he was responsible and flees into exile.SOURCE: Wikipedia
THEMES: Family, death of a parent, coming of age, nature, hope.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Death is real, it comes without warning and it cannot be escaped. An ancient source of strength and guidance, The Tibetan Book of the Dead remains an essential teaching in the Buddhist cultures of the Himalayas. Narrated by Leonard Cohen, this enlightening two-part series explores the sacred text and boldly visualizes the afterlife according to its profound wisdom.SOURCE: YouTube
THEMES: Death, dying, spirituality, reincarnation, rebirth.
What Dreams May Come
What Dreams May Come Trailer – Directed by Vincent Ward and starring Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Max von Sydow, Josh Paddock, Matt Salinger. Chris Neilson dies to find himself in a heaven more amazing than anything he could have ever dreamed of. But there is one thing missing: his wife. After he dies, his wife, Annie kills herself and goes to hell. Chris decides to risk eternity in hades for the small chance that he will be able to bring her back to heaven.SOURCE: YouTube
THEMES: Death, dreams, soul mates, after-life, consciousness and reincarnation.
A molecular biologist and his laboratory partner uncover evidence that may fundamentally change society as we know it.SOURCE: YouTube
THEMES: Soulmates, reincarnation, death, rebirth.
A frustrated son tries to determine the fact from fiction in his dying father’s life.SOURCE: YouTube
Themes: Family, grief, legacy, death, acceptance, love.
Defending Your Life
In an afterlife way station resembling a block of hotels, the lives of the recently-deceased are examined in a court-like setting.SOURCE: YouTube
Themes: True love, death, after-life, rebirth.
Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. After meeting a charming trickster named Héctor, the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.SOURCE: Wikipedia
Themes: Death, family, the after-life, spirituality, culture, healing.
Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old balloon salesman, is about to fulfill a lifelong dream. Tying thousands of balloons to his house, he flies away to the South American wilderness. But curmudgeonly Carl’s worst nightmare comes true when he discovers a little boy named Russell is a stowaway aboard the balloon-powered house. A Pixar animation.SOURCE: Wikipedia
Themes: Death, companionship, healing, hope, love.
A young girl, on the threshold of her teen years, finds her life turning upside down, when she is accompanied by an unlikely friend.SOURCE: YouTube
Themes: Death, friendship, coming-of-age, family, love, nostalgia.
Enter the Void
ENTER THE VOID is an immersive and mind-bending experience. Nathaniel Brown and Paz de la Huerta star in a visceral journey set against the thumping, neon club scene of Tokyo, which hurls the viewer into an astonishing trip through life, death, and the universally wonderful and horrible moments between.SOURCE: YouTube
Themes: Life, death, family, reincarnation, Tibetan Book of the Dead.
A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.SOURCE: YouTube
Themes: loss, grief, acceptance, the human spirit, hope, death, family, love.