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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Change your perspective with a sad movie

We could all use a good cry

From a very young age, I’ve had a strong distaste for sad movies. I distinctly remember watching my mom and sister cry during classic sad movies and wondering why they enjoyed them so much. I, on the other hand, only watched “Marley & Me” once in my childhood and immediately vowed to never watch it again — I still haven’t. There’s an enormous list of movies I refuse to watch, and every single one of them is a sad movie. If I have a choice between laughing and crying, I will always pick laughing. 

I am a “Friends” and “Gilmore Girls” fan through and through. On any given day, you can bet I am watching at least one of those shows with a cup of coffee in my hand. If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago to switch out my shows and coffee for a sad movie and some tissues, I would’ve said no. But after reading an article by Mind Body Green, I have changed my answer. Because, as it turns out, watching sad movies that pull at your heart strings and make you cry can actually be beneficial. 

Sometimes, in our fast-moving lives, we tend to get caught up in all the things we don’t have or how unlucky we think we are. The shirt we’ve been wanting is sold out or we can’t go to the concert we’ve been looking forward to and it feels like the end of the world. Then, you watch a movie like “The Pursuit of Happyness” and suddenly your misfortunes seem so small. You realize that if the worst thing to you is a sold-out shirt, then you have it pretty good. 

It’s easy to go through life with tunnel vision of only your problems. We often assume that if our lives are good and happy, then everyone else’s must be too. Sad movies bring a whole new perspective right into your living room. They make you realize that while you are fighting with your siblings over shoes, there are kids around the world fighting for their lives. 

Although usually introduced to us by teachers and not always appreciated for its artistic value, “Schindler’s List” is meant to teach us more than a history lesson. The horrific truth of the movie develops our empathy for people whose lives are riddled with tragedy. This is not to say that if you’re feeling down, you should sit with a bowl of popcorn and watch “Schindler’s List.” Instead, I’m saying that when we’re faced with the truth of heinous events, we often change our perspective. 

Sad movies can provide a sense of emotional release. I’m not one to pour out my emotions during movies. That is, until I watched “Five Feet Apart,” an exceptional movie about a heartbreaking love story that incorporates the loss of a friend. Sometimes, we have experiences in our lives that require us to disconnect our emotions in order to keep going. When we are finally ready to work through those emotions, we may have a hard time reaching them. Watching sad movies can be a cathartic experience that helps you connect with those emotions and work through them. 

Watching sad movies is not the only way to make you feel better, nor is it something that should be done regularly and in place of professional help. Rather, it’s just one of many emotional releases that can be both therapeutic and inexpensive. After you read this, I hope you find yourself, like me, less afraid to watch a sad movie. Cuddle up with your favorite blanket, maybe some friends and just let your feelings out. 

Written by: Kacey Cain — klcain@ucdavis.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie

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