7 Best Movies About Grief and Loss

movies about grief and loss

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In the soft glow of the cinematic world, grief often steps into the spotlight, quietly taking us through stories that untangle the threads of human emotions. Movies about loss beckon us to sway with vulnerability, riding the waves of emotions in a mix of solemnity and a strangely playful dance. Often, when characters experience loss and grief, it pushes them on a journey to discover more about themselves. Along the way, they manage to move past their grief and, hopefully, learn a lot about who they are. We have gather a list of movies about grief and loss that explore the tenderness of filmography. It encourages us to ponder life’s inevitable goodbyes with a touch of wistful cheer.

You can also check out our recommendations for movies like Ratatouille, movies like Dead Poet Society, and inspiring films like Hidden Figures.

A Ghost Story (2017)

PictureA Ghost Story (2017)
Fantasy, Romance
1h 32m
David Lowery
Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Will Oldham

A Ghost Story explores the themes of legacy, love, grief, and the vastness of life. A ghost, draped in a solitary white sheet, comes back to his suburban residence after his recent passing. His purpose: to reestablish a connection with his grieving wife.

The movie’s plot was straightforward and easy to follow, but it also had some parts that weren’t fully explained. Even though there isn’t much talking in the film, Casey Affleck does a great job showing his character’s emotions without words or much action. This is a magnificent film with a rather unique message that should be seen multiple times before it can be fully appreciated.

Still Walking (2008)

PictureStill Walking (2008)
Documentary, Drama
1h 55m
Hirokazu Koreeda
Hiroshi Abe, Yui Natsukawa, You, Shohei Tanaka, Kazuya Takahashi

Still Walking is a family drama that takes place in one summer day as grown children come to visit their elderly parents. The parents have been in the family home for many years. The son and daughter, along with their own families, reunite for a special family gathering. The reason for the reunion is to remember the tragic death of the eldest son, who drowned in an accident fifteen years ago. Despite the familiar and unchanged atmosphere of the spacious house and the comforting homemade feast prepared by the mother, each family member has undergone subtle changes over the years.

The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)

PictureThe Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)
Romance, Musical
1h 52m
Felix Van Groeningen
Veerle Baetens, Johan Heldenbergh, Nell Cattrysse

Elise and Didier experience love at first sight, despite their contrasting personalities. He’s a talker, while she’s a listener. He embraces romantic atheism, while she holds onto religious realism. As their daughter faces a serious illness, their love undergoes a challenging test. What stands out is the non-linear storytelling of their love story, blending passion and catharsis, with the soulful notes of bluegrass woven into the narrative.

Pinocchio (2022)

PicturePinocchio (2022)
Fantasy, Adventure
1h 54m
Guillermo del Toro
Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Cate Blanchett, Ron Perlman, Tilda Swinton

In this enchanting stop-motion musical directed by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson, we follow the playful and rebellious escapades of Pinocchio. It offers a beautiful and distinctive take on a classic tale, delving into themes of death and grief with emotional and heart-wrenching moments. Despite the poignant exploration, the film manages to deliver an enjoyable adventure, featuring stunning animation set against the uniquely unsettling backdrop characteristic of del Toro’s style. The movie is streaming on Netflix.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

PictureGrave of the Fireflies (1988)
War, Horror
1h 29m
Isao Takahata
Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi

One of the most heartbreaking anime from Studio Ghibli. The film revolves around a brother and sister whose lives take a tragic turn when their mother dies in a firebombing during their father’s wartime absence. With their home destroyed, they reluctantly move in with relatives. However, resentment builds, leading the siblings to leave and discover an abandoned bomb shelter, becoming their new refuge.

This cinematic masterpiece undoubtedly stands as one of the finest wartime films ever created. It can make you truly appreciate the good things in life and remind you how much your family and life itself mean to you.

Departures (2008)

PictureDepartures (2008)
Comedy, Musical
2h 10m
Yōjirō Takita
Masahiro Motoki, Ryôko Hirosue, Tsutomu Yamazaki

In this Japanese film, a recently unemployed cellist finds an unexpected job preparing the deceased for funerals. The story, though dealing with an unfamiliar subject, is remarkably touching and inspiring. The film balances humor and heart, evoking both laughter and tears. To me, it’s a flawless piece that conceals its imperfections seamlessly.

The Night House (2020)

PictureThe Night House (2020)
Horror, Mystery
1h 48m
David Bruckner
Rebecca Hall, Evan Jonigkeit, Stacy Martin

Devastated by her husband’s sudden death, Beth finds herself alone in the lakeside home he constructed for her. Struggling to cope, she grapples with haunting nightmares that hint at a spectral presence within the house. Despite the warnings from her friends, Beth delves into her late husband’s possessions, driven by a desperate quest for answers. In her search, she stumbles upon peculiar and unsettling secrets, unraveling a mystery she is resolute on solving.



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