Feeling good? Like everything's going your way, like the sun is shining on you all the time? Well, just keep it to yourself, will ya? Nobody likes a show-off! And while you're at it, watch one of these seven movies about depression. These flicks will take your spirits down a peg.
In a Billy Wilder movie, nobody is depressed for no reason. In this particular one, former silent movie queen Norma Desmond is depressed because she's not a big movie star anymore. And the hack writer played by William Holden is depressed because he's a hack writer. But when these two get together, their depressions pull each other into a quagmire that eventually ends in murder.
One of the symptoms of a serious case of depression is insomnia. And Travis Bickle, the hero of "Taxi Driver", counts that as one of his less serious problems. His others are a general disillusionment with the world, and a strong urge for a "rain" to come and wash "the scum off the streets." Unfortunately for society, Travis sees himself as such a rain, and buys a bunch of weapons to purge New York City of some of its villains. Remember when we called him a "hero" up there? We were being ironic.
In his own bizarre way, David Lynch made one of the definitive movies about depression, and one that is actually quite likely to induce depression in the viewer. The strange, surreal imagery (including one seriously freaky baby) might not be a literal version of depression, but it feels pretty depressing nonetheless.
Kevin Spacey's character in "American Beauty" is depressed about his lot in life: Successful career, loveless marriage, bratty teenage daughter (with her Lolita-esque friend). So he does what depressed people often do, and tears everything apart. Like a lot of movies about depression, "American Beauty" is pretty depressing itself, especially if you're living a suburban existence like the guy in the movie. Hopefully you have a decent record collection to allow you to cope.
"The Royal Tenenbaums"
Everybody in a Wes Anderson movie is a little bit depressed, but in this one Luke Wilson's character probably takes the cake, since he actually tries to commit suicide over his lot in life. It's tough being a child prodigy gone to seed, especially if you're harboring an impossible crush on your cousin. It might be funny on "Arrested Development," but in this movie it's cause for an attempted suicide.
We've seen what happens when film characters get depressed, but what about when filmmakers get depressed? The answer lies in "Antichrist," Lars Von Trier's horrifying catharsis of his own demons. The movie is about a couple who loses their only child in an accident while they were having sex, and things only get more depressing from there. It probably isn't possible to describe what happens without upsetting our editors, so maybe just watch the movie yourself if you're in the mood to watch Willem Dafoe get his testicles smashed.
One guaranteed way to trigger a depressive episode is extreme isolation, which is what happens to Sam Rockwell in "Moon." He's isolated onboard an abandoned research installation, and the fact that there's some weird stuff going on that he can't begin to understand doesn't help his mood any. Neither does the creepy computer, voiced by Kevin Spacey, even though it has a nice comforting smiley face interface ("smiley interface"?).