i like sad movies

It’s not completely true that I like sad movies.  I don’t like ONLY sad movies.  And I certainly don’t like ALL sad movies.  (If that sounded confusing, try making a Venn diagram to map it out.)

I know that I’m not alone in appreciating movies that could be labeled as sad; if I were, people wouldn’t make them.  Recently I’ve been considering what it is about sad movies (as well as books and songs) that makes them somehow desirable despite the natural human tendency to avoid pain.  Here’s what I’ve come up with.

  • We like to see a purpose behind the pain.  In reality, we don’t often know why “bad” things happen.  We just don’t.  No matter how many times we ask why, we often never see it.  In movies, however, we are often given more of a birds-eye view — we see the intertwining plotlines and realize that if that bad thing hadn’t happened, this good thing would never have become possible.  Even as we can’t see God’s sovereign orchestration of our life’s plotlines, I think we like to see examples of how painful situations can be just one part of a bigger picture.
  • We need to know that we’re not alone.  I love happy, fun movies just as much as anyone else…if not more.  But I admit that sometimes I’ll walk away from a movie internally griping, “Yeah, like that ever happens in real life.”  At times we just need to know that the rest of the world is hurting as much as we are in one way or another.  We gain some perspective, realizing that our problems are not the worst problems…but we also feel validated knowing that our problems are real.  Sad movies mirror the kind of camaraderie and empathy we can give and receive when we’re honest with one another.
  • We have to believe that healing is possible.  Remember how Frodo wanted to believe that Smeagol still had some good left inside him?  He wanted to believe that because he knew he was heading in the same direction and didn’t want to give himself up just yet.  As flawed, damaged, hurting human beings, I think we like to see that there can be healing.  Recovery.  Sunshine after rain.  When movies show a healing process and a recovery from tragedy, they remind us of the very real words, “Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5b.)

Finally, I’d like to share what brought on this latest burst of Extensive Introspective Thinking About a Remarkably Obscure Topic or EITAAROT.

Meet Baymax.
Meet Baymax.

{No spoilers here, I’ll be vague.}  Although Big Hero 6 couldn’t be labeled as a purely sad movie by any stretch of the imagination, it really did delve into some painful realities.  The characters were relatable, and even though there were sad parts of the movie (I cried) the way they were handled was truly beautiful.  In regard to the three points I listed above, Big Hero 6 was spot-on…and I think that’s why I loved the movie as much as I did.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it for the whole family!  If my discussion of “painful realities” makes you nervous about taking kids to see it, I recommend perusing PluggedIn.com’s review, which provides a detailed description of elements that could be of concern.

What “sad” movies do you like, if any?  What do you like about them?


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