Cinema is a powerful way to raise awareness for important problems of our society or significant events that happen on a daily basis. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, more than 1 million adults attempted suicide. The emotional extremes that push someone to a dark corner have often been the subject of several films. In addition, raising awareness around teenage suicide, depression, and mental illness is vital. Therefore, here is a list of eye-opening movies about suicide on Netflix. You can also watch some of these movies on Amazon Prime or Hulu.
10. Horse Girl (2020)
Directed and co-written by Jeff Baena, ‘Horse Girl’ is a psychological drama film that stars Alison Brie, Debby Ryan, John Reynolds, Molly Shannon, and John Ortiz. The film follows an introverted young woman named Sarah, who has recently lost her mother to suicide and is slowly coming to terms with the harsh reality. However, soon afterward, her life spirals out of control as she starts experiencing paranoid delusions. To make matters worse, Sarah starts sleepwalking as her past memories and reality get fractured by the trauma she has experienced over the years.
9. Audrie & Daisy (2016)
‘Audrie & Daisy’ is a documentary that looks into the effects of online bullying. It shows teenage girls in the U.S.A being bullied for being rape victims and the consequences of that in their daily lives. One of the real stories documented in this film is that of 15-year-old Audrie Pott, who was sexually assaulted at a party. After pictures from the incident were posted online, she died by suicide. ‘Audrie & Daisy’ is an honest and unbiased documentary that is a must-watch for parents and teenagers.
8. The Discovery (2017)
A scientist (Robert Redford) uncovers scientific proof that there is indeed an afterlife. However, his son (Jason Segel) is not too sure about his father’s “discovery.” After a series of events, he tries to help a mysterious woman (Rooney Mara) who has her own reasons for wanting to find out more about the afterlife. Writer-director Charlie McDowell created an original sci-fi film that not only explores the meaning of life (and of a possible afterlife) but also suicide. It has an interesting take on consciousness and death that is worth watching.
7. My Suicide (2009)
‘My Suicide,’ also known as ‘Archie’s Final Project,’ is an award-winning dark comedy-drama that got the social media campaign to promote teen suicide awareness rolling. Archie (Gabriel Sunday) is a high school student who is usually unsociable but becomes a sensation when he announces that he is going to kill himself on camera for his cinematography project.
By doing this, Archie not only catches the attention of the most popular and attractive girl in school but also the twisted school psychiatrist. ‘My Suicide’ is produced and directed by David Lee Miller. Whereas Gabriel Sunday not only acts in the film but is also a part of writing, editing, additional camera work, and co-production of the film. This film follows a very unusual method of storytelling that viewers may enjoy.
6. Kingdom of Us (2017)
‘Kingdom of Us’ is a documentary that revolves around a family trying to recover from loss and move ahead in life. After Paul Shanks takes his own life, his wife Vikie and seven children are left to fend for themselves while coming to terms with his death. While the financial hardships are tough on the family, the emotional loss and the grief that accompanies the loss of a father and husband make the entire experience nightmarish and demoralizing. The Lucy Cohen directorial is a poignant documentary that gives viewers an insight into the aftermath of suicide.
5. Bird Box (2018)
A Netflix original film, ‘Bird Box‘ stars Sandra Bullock as a woman who is trying to protect herself and her family from a dangerous peril that can lead to their death at any moment. The film is set in a time when some strange creatures have descended down on the earth and have managed to cause the death of most of the human population. However, these creatures do not themselves indulge in the killing. Anyone who looks at them ends up losing their mind killing theselves.
Amidst all of that, Malorie Hayes has to guide herself and two children to safety before they are attacked. But the issue is that they have to cross through the deadly territory with their eyes closed. The film has an interesting premise but otherwise works in the same way as many other zombie movies we have seen over the years. Bullock, as usual, delivers a powerful performance as the central character of the film.
4. To the Bone (2017)
Starring Lily Collins, Keanu Reeves, Carrie Preston, Lili Taylor, and Alex Sharp, ‘To the Bone’ is directed and written by Marti Noxon. The film follows a 20-year-old with anorexia and the health issues she is struggling with despite going through recovery programs. However, after meeting an unconventional doctor who challenges her to embrace herself with all the flaws, the protagonist undergoes a life-changing transformation. The movie captures her mental health issues and the challenges that come with anorexia.
3. 3 Idiots (2009)
Engineering is one of the most popular academic streams in India post-high school. That means that the competition to get into the best engineering colleges is fierce. One Indian film which captures the essence of this entire scenario is the 2009 comedy-drama ‘3 Idiots’. This film centers around the lives of three students in one of the most famous engineering colleges in the country.
While two of them barely scrape by in their exams, their friend Rancho always tops the class in every subject. Due to mounting pressure, it is not unheard of for students to take steps as drastic as attempting suicide. The Indian education system is sharply criticized in this film, which it does without losing the brilliant sense of humor. Aamir Khan steals the show with his brilliant performance as the lead character Rancho.
2. All the Bright Places (2020)
Although considered a romance, the story of a young high school couple is moving and takes the emotions of teenagers seriously. Theodore Finch (Justice Smith) and Violet Markey (Elle Fanning) meet each other at a very vulnerable time in their lives. Their friendship grows into a deep attachment portraying the impact of love and attention and what it can do for a person going through challenging times. What the film leaves us with is the realization that not everyone is what they seem, and one never knows unless they actually make an effort to be present in the other person’s life. Furthermore, it highlights that the process of coping with grief and trauma changes with time and life experiences.
1. Evelyn (2018)
We end this list with another documentary. Directed by British filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel, ‘Evelyn’ is a series that centers around his own family. Thirteen years before this film was made, Orlando’s brother Evelyn had died by suicide. The film centers around how Orlando’s family has learned to cope with the tragedy. The entire family takes long walks to the places Evelyn used to walk around when he was alive, and that is how they remember him. The film points out to us how a case of suicide does not only affect a single individual but also their family and loved ones. Orlando must be praised for his courage in putting up this sensitive aspect of his family for the entire world to learn from.
If you are thinking about suicide or just need to talk to someone, you can speak to someone by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and or by texting HOME to 741741, the Crisis Text Line. And here are suicide helplines outside the US.