Grief in the Silver Screen

Funeral: 01/01/1970 at

What grief looks and feels like varies from person to person. One way to understand grief from different perspectives is by watching movies. Movies always mirror real life, some better than others. There are movies about preparing for the death of a loved ones, the journey on the final days of a loved one, or the journey after the death of a loved one. Have some tissues ready because here is a list of movies who capture grief perfectly:


  1. Up (2009)

This animated film stirred up more feelings in the first 15 minutes than any other movie at the time. If you had a chance to watch it in theatres you probably heard a lot of sniffles. This story is about how Carl, an old widow, refuses to leave his home he shared with his beloved wife. The adventure he takes helps him grieve for his wife. This film teaches different lessons about life.

  1. Lullaby (2014)

Lullaby shows the journey of a family who has to come to terms that their father has chosen to die after a long battle with cancer. This film sparks the conversation of assisted death and how it affects everyone around you.

  1. The Descendants (2011)

George Clooney plays a father who has to make some tough life choices after his wife ends in a coma after a horrible accident. He faces the challenges of trying to connect with his daughters who are also coping with their mother’s possible death. He goes through anger and sadness.

  1. A Monster Calls (2016)

This movie shows the coping mechanisms a child uses to cope with the possible death of a loved one. A Monster Calls is an adaptation of the novel of the same name.  This movie gives the perspective of what a looming death looks like to a child.

  1. My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

Watching this film makes you wonder if it is based on a true story. This movie tells the story of a young girl who wants to become emancipated from her parents who conceived her to be a bone marrow donor for her older sister. This movie demonstrates how hard death can be when you see it knocking at your door.

  1. P.S. I Love You (2007)

P.S. I Love You shows the long journey of grieving. This movie does a great job showing how grieving can take longer than a year for some. It also shows that sometimes just pushing yourself outside your comfort zone can help.

  1. Ghost (1990)

Even though this movie is more of a thriller drama, it has a very strong character who is grieving. Demi Moore plays a women who handles the death of her loved one strongly. When the movie is over you are left feeling that she will be okay.

  1. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)

This is another movie about grieving through the eyes of a child. This movie resonates with many Americans because the child lost a parent during the 9-11 attacks. During the 9-11 attacks it wasn’t just New York families who were grieving but the entire nation.

  1. Taking Chance (2009)

Taking Chance is a movie about a soldier, Chance, who is taken home after dying overseas. The movie follows the impact Chance’s death had on people in his hometown. This movie does a great job on highlighting how death affects everyone around. It also shows what a lot of small towns go through when a local men join the military.

  1. Marley & Me (2008)

If you have ever owned a pet, this movie will bring up a lot of feelings. You will relive how it felt to lose your pet who eventually became your family. This movie shows that even a death of a pet takes time to grieve.


There are so many movies that deal with grief. Hollywood is always making new movies but I couldn’t end this list without some honorable mentions. The first one is a Robin Williams classic, What Dreams May Come (1998). This movie combines fantasy with grief. A real tear-jerker is The Fault in our Stars (2014). This movie did not leave a dry eye in the audience. The last two honorable mentions are two recent Oscar nominated films: Jackie (2016) and Manchester by the Sea (2016). Both of these films death with the aftermath of a death of a beloved loved one.