Why do sad movies make me happy?

sad emoji

Like many others in this world, I’m a sucker for a romance movie. I’m a sucker for a rom-com. I’m a sucker for a drama. To be fair I’ll give just about anything a go.

Whether or not it’s embarrassing to admit, I’m going to say that the romance movie is probably on the top of my list of favourite things to watch. A great romance movie is worth its weight in gold. But when you add heartbreak into that movie, then I’m all the more in. I don’t live for happy endings, I live for the drama. I live for the guy walking away in the end because he knows it’s the right thing to do, even if it breaks his heart. I like movies where people die, goddamn it!

When I’m feeling down, I’ll consciously put myself on the couch, pour myself a wine, and put on the Notebook, Armageddon or Marley and Me, and I’ll cry my little heart out. And in the end, it actually makes me feel better. I guess it’s the release of emotion? Or that it makes me feel grateful for my circumstances in life? Apparently, when we watch emotional and tragic movies, our brain activity can promote feelings of happiness, which means it’s legit. Sadness really does make me happy!

Of course there is the happy sad. For example, in the Notebook, although the real sadness (spoiler alert) lies the fact that she doesn’t remember him anymore, it’s the happy-sad part that gets me the most. You know… with the swans and the thunderstorm and the why didn’t you write me and of course… the Ryan Gosling.

The other day I got to season 5, episode 24 of Grey’s Anatomy, which if you’re with me, is the one where (again, spoiler alert) they find out that George is John Doe. I proceeded to watch that 5-6 times, just the last 3 minutes… because the crying was so intense and so good in that moment. I honestly didn’t want it to stop!

I’ll happily have a good cry in the cinema, or on the plane (I have no shame), but I do try not to make noises. When I was watching My Sister’s Keeper, I remember having to shut my eyes in the cinema because otherwise I would have openly sobbed. In an aeroplane if things get too heavy I’ll take a bathroom break or go to ask for another G&T because the people around me are trying to sleep and they don’t want to hear my blubbering. Tip for flying… flight attendants are very quick about handing out alcohol if you have a tear stained face!

My husband on the other hand, has very strict rules on what types of sad movies he will watch with me. He will, for example, not watch a movie that just follows the progression of somebody dying… the entire way through.

And when I put that down in words, it actually seems fair enough. Now I seem like the weird one. Hmmm.

In any case, however it goes, I’m up for a sad movie. I’m up for a cry. What about you? Are you like me, or does reading this have you shaking your head in misunderstanding?

4 thoughts on “Why do sad movies make me happy?

  1. Lingo in Transit July 14, 2021 / 10:12 pm

    I usually try and stay away from movies with very sad story lines. But even the death of a character in a non “sad” movie will send me to tears. Greys was weak spot for me- I can’t even remember how many episodes have left me with a tear or more.

    • debbiekaye1980 July 26, 2021 / 4:09 pm

      Why I was crying just last night again at Grey’s 😉 It definitely knows how to pull on the heart strings!

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