Recovering from loss is something which only the affected will know. It is a pain unexplained when something or someone dear is snatched from under our very eyes, leaving us helpless to do anything. Be it a person or a dream, loss is a strong shot to the heart. The grief is insurmountable and mere consolation does nothing to take away the hurt. The path to recovery and lead a social life is tough and filled with a lot of emotional pitfalls. Not many can make the journey back successfully. The easier ways to attain mortal freedom beckon constantly and it is too tempting to ignore. Some complete the journey however, despite all the illusions and achieve freedom of the soul. ‘Room’ is one such film that explores the subject of loss. It also delves into motherhood. There are few films with grief in the manned that Room does.
Several filmmakers have explored this world of pathos, expertly capturing the sadness in their camera, and showing the audience what the pain feels like. We have tried to come up with a list of some great films similar to Room that are our recommendations. If you are interested, you might be able to stream some of these movies like Room on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu.
10. Rabbit Hole (2010)
Losing a child is a terrible thing. The ones who haven’t suffered this ill fate cannot even begin to comprehend the trauma of the parents. Their souls are broken down completely and it takes a lot to draw them out into the sunshine once again. John Cameron Mitchell’s ‘Rabbit Hole’ captures this pain and the path to acceptance from resignation of two grief-stricken parents after their son is killed in a car accident. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play the unfortunate parents with a chilling excellence, bringing out the pain quite eloquently as they are stuck deep down the rabbit hole of sadness. The final scene is one of the most touching ones in recent times as the parents hold hands and stare into space reminiscing about their son. The path to recovery from loss is a difficult one and is something only the travelers will understand.
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9. Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Every man engages in the pursuit of happiness, the feeling being elusive and illusive. Chris Gardener was the owner of a multimillion dollar brokerage firm but the road to happiness was a tough one indeed. From spending homeless nights with his son to seeing his wife walk out on him, life wasn’t smooth at all for the hard-working entrepreneur. He faced an uphill task while achieving his life’s goals and the taste of victory got sweeter as a result. Gabriele Muccino makes a solid film out of Chris Gardener’s life moving the audience to tears with the emotional struggle and making them shed tears of joy at the wonderful victory in the end. ‘Pursuit of Happyness’ is one of the most moving stories in modern cinema. Will Smith as the protagonist and his real life son, Jaden as the Christopher Jr. put in a couple of enchanting performances making the audience connect to the story even more.
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8. Ordinary People (1980)
The middle class families try everything in their book to lead a normal, hassle free life. But when a sudden mishap occurs, their set lives are thrown into topsy-turvy, leading the members of the family on a quest to rediscover themselves. Often these stories do not have a happy ending. Such is the tale of the Jarretts of Chicago, a family which was left to smithereens after the death of the eldest son of the family. While the surviving son, Conrad, tries to overcome the survivor’s guilt, the mother Beth is disillusioned with grief and becomes incapable of loving anymore. The father Calvin tries his best to hold the strings, but fails to prevent his once happy family from disintegrating. Robert Redford’s directorial debut ‘Ordinary People’ comprises of some emotional performances by Mary Tyler Moore as Beth and Timothy Hutton as Condrad. The film is an emotional ride about the painful struggles and the worthy recipient of the huge number of accolades it received.
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7. Monster’s Ball (2001)
Marc Forster’s ‘Monster’s Ball’ is an emotionally disturbing movie, blatantly narrating the truths behind the loss of a child and husband through the contrasting, yet interconnected tales of a mother and the executioner of her husband. The film talks about the grief, different yet similar at a certain point of time. Guilt and sorrow drive them together and they both engage in an affair which seems to be repulsive but slowly wins the affection of the audience. This 2001 drama starring Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry in the lead roles, along with Heath Ledger as the troubled Sonny is an emotional roller-coaster. It takes the audience to the labyrinths of grief and desperation, bringing out an almost animalistic urge of company. The ball rolls on in life and it is indeed quite monstrous.
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6. The Descendants (2011)
Alexander Payne’s elements of dark humor and satire play in well in ‘The Descendants’, where land baron Matt King struggles to cope up with his land troubles and his wife’s impending death. A rich man caught up with one trouble after next is bound to draw a few laughs but the element of pain is never quite out of the picture. Dealing with his wife’s infidelity, the soon-to-be-expired property, the constant pressure by his cousins to sell it and the strained relationship with his daughters, Matt tries to stay resolute in the crisis as he prepares to bid his wife farewell from the mortal world. He fights his personal pain when he requests his wife’s lover to come and see her for the last time. This emotional fight is too powerful but he never succumbs under pressure. The lovely beaches of Honolulu creates a perfect backdrop for this beautiful tale. The ending is serene and a perfect fit for the artful movie.
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5. Sophie’s Choice (1982)
The ultimate choice in sacrifice was made by the Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Sophie when forced to give up one of her children in order to save the other. The burden of guilt is too heavy to bear for a mother yet she tried her best to go back to normal life. However the pangs of sorrow never seemed to elude her and made her emotionally vulnerable. When hope comes in the form of the writer Stingo to rescue her from the doldrums, she submits. But the past can never be ignored and she was compelled to rush back to her lover Nathan. The pathos had overcome their souls completely and there wasn’t any inch of light anymore. They leave the world together and ultimately are set free. Alan J. Pakula directed one of the most heart-wrenching dramas of all time about a mother’s sacrifice. It is tearful and hurts the audience right in the core of the heart. Meryl Streep as Sophie is stupendous and her gut-wrenching portrayal is one of the best in cinema, worthy of the plaudits it received over time.
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4. Babel (2006)
An epic mosaic of interrelated stories about grief, loss and coming to terms with it, Alejandro J. Innaritu’s final block of the Death Trilogy weaves an intricate pattern around the suffering souls all across the globe. All the principal characters are affected by the loss of a dear person and the way the seemingly different stories are connected in a single thread is something unfathomable. The pathos is felt in every stage, from the dusty deserts to the populous cities, from an ageing nanny to a sexually proactive young girl. Featuring an ensemble cast headed by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, ‘Babel’ is a gripping narrative about the trauma of loss and the various roads people take to recover from it. These roads connect in an intersection, throwing the lives of the protagonists into topsy-turvy. Trust Alejandro J. Innaritu to come up with such a singular concept.
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3. 21 Grams (2003)
Often regarded as his magnum opus, ’21 Grams’ is the second part of Alejandro J. Innaritu’s Death Trilogy. The entire film follows a non-linear pattern and revolves around an automobile accident which had affected three people and their families. As they are recovering from their own personal problems, the accident ties their lives into a knot. Unrelated previously, they suddenly become connected and the film depicts their various ways of getting over their losses. Magnificently directed, ’21 Grams’ perfectly paints the picture of a troubled soul trying to escape from the clutches of mortality. Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benecio Del Toro are all acclaimed performers and this film proved once again their excellence.
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2. Three Colors : Blue (1993)
Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski is one of the finest modern day directors and his Three Colors trilogy is the irrefutable proof of this fact. Blue represents liberty of the French tricolor and this film talks about the emotional liberty of a woman coming to terms after her husband and daughter’s death in a car accident. Her initial recluse was imminent and her attempts to cut herself off from her previous life is nothing extraordinary, although painful. However when she starts to discover certain facts about her husband, she is drawn back once more into her former life. The emotional journey as she finds out facts and begins to accept human companionship is shown beautifully like only Krzysztof Kieślowski can. This film is European poetry of pathos at his very best.
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1. Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Loss affects people in many different ways. Some become hopeless, some sad. In ‘Manchester by the Sea’, the lead protagonist, Lee, becomes numb to everything around him. He only wakes up when he is asked to take care of his nephew. And in the process of taking care of someone who also suffers from loss, he slowly finds a way to heal. Apart from fluid storytelling what is so striking about the film is how it manages to make you laugh and cry at the same time — often in the same scenes. Director Kenneth Logan has taken everyday moments of a tragedy-striken family and created a singular piece of art that is richly nuanced and humane and humorous.
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