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Movies ~ Grief Observed


The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey
The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey

Understand the nature of grief and its potential impact on all aspects of your life: physical, financial, emotional, social and spiritual. Learn how to move through grief actively and make the process of mourning a healing one. Find support and guidance in dealing with the many facets of grief.


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"I've got plenty of people I can do something with -- just none I can do nothing with." ~ Widower Joe Warr (Clive Owen) in The Boys Are Back



Grief Observed: Using Movies to Move through Grief


by Marty Tousley, Bereavement Counselor

Movies and DVD rentals that dramatize others coming to terms with their pain may serve as a valuable tool to help you and your family members move through the grieving process.

Getting in touch with the painful feelings of grief and releasing blocked or pent-up emotions by having a good cry can be cleansing and stress-reducing. Movies can be an effective tool in addressing certain grief issues, especially when your selections are made consciously and deliberately.

Before you see or rent a movie, take time to read the film's description and reviews to help you decide whether watching it will support you at this point in your grief journey. Pay attention to whatever feelings and reactions come up for you while watching it, and let yourself cry if you need to. If you're not comfortable doing this alone, ask a trusted friend or family member to watch the movie with you, and discuss it together afterward.

In this spirit, this list of movies for those in mourning is offered, categorized by the aspect of grief primarily addressed in a given film or DVD. For description of movies and reviews, click movie title.


Mystical Experiences

The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2004) with Jon Voight, Ellen Burstyn

Northfork (2003) with James Woods, Nick Nolte

Dragonfly (2002) with Kevin Costner, Lisa Banes

Waking the Dead (2002) with Billy Crudup, Jennifer Connelly

A Rumor of Angels (2000), with Vanessa Redgrave, Ray Liotta

Sixth Sense (1999) with Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment

City of Angels (1998), with Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan

Titanic (1997) with Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

Truly, Madly, Deeply (1996), with Juliet Stevenson, Alan Rickman

Untamed Heart (1993), with Christian Slater, Marisa Tomei

Ghost (1990), with Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze

Always (1989), with Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter


Guilt

Departures (2008) with Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue

Moonlight Mile (2002) with Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman

A Rumor of Angels (2000), with Vanessa Redgrave, Ray Liotta

Sixth Sense (1999) with Bruce Willis

Philadelphia (1993) with Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington

Ordinary People (1980) with Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore


Spiritual Reaction to Loss

Sixth Sense (1999) with Bruce Willis

Wide Awake (1998) with Joseph Cross, Timothy Reifsnyder

Shadowlands (1994) with Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger


Finding Professional Help

Ordinary People (1980) with Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore


Understanding Different Grieving Patterns in Your Family

The Descendants (2011) with George Clooney, Judy Greer

November Christmas (2010) with Sam Elliott, John Corbett

Rabbit Hole (2010) with Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin

The Boys Are Back (2009) with Clive Owen, Laura Fraser

Departures (2008) with Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue

Eye of the Dolphin (2007) with Carly Schroeder, Adrian Dunbar

Eye of the Dolphin (2007) with Carly Schroeder, Adrian Dunbar

Boynton Beach Club (2005) with Joseph Bologna, Dyan Cannon

Angel in the Family (2004) with Meredith Baxter, Ronny Cox

Finding Neverland (2004) with Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet

Straight from the Heart (2003) with Teri Polo, Andrew McCarthy

In America (2002) with Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton

Moonlight Mile (2002) with Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman

Marvin's Room (1996), with Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton

Little Women (1994), with Wynona Ryder, Susan Sarandon

My Girl (1991) with Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis

Steel Magnolias (1989), with Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine

Beaches (1988), with Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey

Terms of Endearment (1983), with Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger

Ordinary People (1980) with Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore


Writing As A Way of Expressing Grief

Finding Neverland (2004) with Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet

About Schmidt (2002) with Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis


From Surviving to Transcending Your Grief

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) with Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Patrick Pearson

The Descendants (2011) with George Clooney, Judy Greer

November Christmas (2010) with Sam Elliott, John Corbett

The Boys Are Back (2009) with Clive Owen, Laura Fraser

Up (2009) with Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson

An Unfinished Life (2005) with Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez

On a Clear Day (2005) with Peter Mullin, Brenda Blethyn

Finding Neverland (2004) with Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet

If Only (2004) with Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Paul Nichols

In America (2002) with Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton

About Schmidt (2002) with Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis

Life As a House (2001) with Kevin Cline, Kristin Scott Thomas

Angela's Ashes (2000) with Andrew Bennett, Joe Breen

Good Will Hunting (1999) with Robin Williams, Matt Damon

Life (1999) with Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence

Message in a Bottle (1999) with Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn

Nicholas' Gift (1998) with Jamie Lee Curtis, Alan Bates

Simon Birch (1998) with Ian Michael Smith, Oliver Platt

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), with Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell

Shadowlands (1994) with Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger

Corrina, Corrina (1994) with Whoopi Goldberg, Ray Liotta

A River Runs through It (1992), with Robert Redford, Brad Pitt

Whose Life Is It Anyway (1991), with Richard Dreyfuss

Brian's Song (1971), with James Caan, Billy Dee Williams

How Green Was My Valley (1941)


Loss of a Spouse, Partner or Significant Other

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) with Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Patrick Pearson

The Descendants (2011) with George Clooney, Judy Greer

A Single Man (2009) with Colin Firth, Julianne Moore

The Boys Are Back (2009) with Clive Owen, Laura Fraser

Up (2009) with Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai

An Unfinished Life (2005) with Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez

Brokeback Mountain (2005) with Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger

My Life (1993) with Michael Keaton, Nicole Kidman

Love Story (1971) with Ali MacGraw, Ryan O'Neal


Loss of A Child

November Christmas (2010) with Sam Elliott, John Corbett

Rabbit Hole (2010) with Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin

An Unfinished Life (2005) with Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez

On a Clear Day (2005) with Peter Mullin, Brenda Blethyn


Loss of A Parent

The Descendants (2011) with George Clooney, Judy Greer

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin

The Boys Are Back (2009) with Clive Owen, Laura Fraser

Sunshine Cleaning (2009) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson

Death at a Funeral (2007) with Matthew Macfadyen, Peter Dinklage, directed by Frank Oz

Eye of the Dolphin (2007) with Carly Schroeder, Adrian Dunbar

The Savages (2007) with Philip Seymour Hoffman & Laura Linney

Two Weeks (2006) with Sally Field, Ben Chaplin

Garden State (2005) with Zach Braf, Natalie Portman

In Her Shoes (2005) with Cameron Diaz, Shirley MacLaine

Big Fish (2004) with Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney

My Girl (1991) with Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis


Loss of A Friend

he Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) with Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Patrick Pearson

Catch & Release (2007) with Jennifer Garner, Timothy Oliphant

The Bucket List (2007) with Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005) with Joan Plowright, Rupert Friend

Brokeback Mountain (2005) with Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal

Wit (2001) with Emma Thompson, Christopher Lloyd

Tuesdays with Morrie (1999) with Jack Lemmon, Hank Azaria

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1999) with Hugh Grant, Andie McDowell

Nicholas' Gift (1998) with Jamie Lee Curtis, Alan Bates

Philadelphia (1993) with Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington

Beaches (1988) with Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey

Brian's Song (1971) with James Caan, Billy Dee Williams

Midnight Cowboy (1969) with Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight


Loss of A Sibling

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson

Walk the Line (2006) with Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon

Ray (2004) with Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington

In America (2002) with Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton

Little Women (1994) with Winona Ryder, Gabriel Byrne


Traumatic Loss

Rabbit Hole (2010) with Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin

Reign Over Me (2007) with Adam Sandler, Jonathan Banks

Missing in America (2006) with Danny Glover, Ron Perlman

In The Bedroom (2002) with Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek


Loss of A Pet

Marley and Me (2008) with Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson

My Dog Skip (1999) with Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane

Where the Red Fern Grows (1974) with Stewart Peterson, Beverly Garland

Old Yeller (1957) with Fess Parker, Dorothy McGuire


Suicide Loss

Remember Me (2010) with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin

Sunshine Cleaning (2009) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson


Anticipatory Grief

The Descendants (2011) with George Clooney, Judy Greer

November Christmas (2010) with Sam Elliott, John Corbett

Wit (2001) with Emma Thompson, Christopher Lloyd

Tuesdays with Morrie (1999) with Jack Lemmon, Hank Azaria

Brian's Song (1971) with James Caan, Billy Dee Williams

Love Story (1971) with Ali MacGraw, Ryan O'Neal




Copyright © Marty Tousley. All rights reserved.


Bereavement Counselor Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC, is the creator and instructor of these online courses, available through www.SelfHealingExpressions.com:

The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey
A Different Grief: Coping with Pet Loss
A Different Grief: Helping You and Your Children with Pet Loss



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