Some beautifully crafted films are so tragic or anxiety-inducing that many viewers prefer to watch them only once, as the intensity lingers long after the last scene. A popular online movie forum user asked others to suggest films people could only watch once, “not because they were bad, but because they destroyed you from the inside.” People replied with these 11 recommendations.
1. A Moment to Remember (2004)
A Moment to Remember is a tragic South Korean love story that chronicles the lives of a couple who get together despite all odds. Once married, the wife struggles with her memory, and before long, she’s diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
2. Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Based on a true story, Girl, Interrupted is a drama about a young woman in the ’60s who ends up in a psychiatric hospital after attempting to take her own life. There, she meets a collection of compelling characters, including the charismatic long-term patient named Lisa. As the young woman grapples with her mental illness, she’s forced to decide whether to identify with the women in the hospital or to find her place in the scary outside world.
3. Schindler’s List (1993)
At the beginning of World War II, a businessman opens a factory in Poland and hires Jewish workers to save money and appeal to the Nazi party. But when the war ramps up, and the Nazis begin rounding up Jews to transport them to brutal concentration camps, the businessman does whatever he can to protect his workers from a terrible fate.
4. Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
This family-friendly fantasy film had me and many other kids in hysterics at the movie theater with a tragic twist that no one expected. It’s about two childhood friends who venture into the nearby woods and create a fantasy land filled with mystical creatures where they are the king and queen. When disaster strikes, one of the kids uses the fantasy land to cope with his new reality.
5. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Pan’s Labyrinth is a fantasy horror film about a girl whose pregnant mother remarries a sadistic soldier in Spain. At her new home, the girl wanders into a strange, mystical labyrinth where magical creatures find her and believe she’s the reincarnation of the king of the underworld’s daughter. She learns she must complete a series of tasks to regain her immortality and reunite with her long-lost family.
6. Come and See (1985)
Come and See is a Russian-language anti-war film about a man who escapes into the forest when German soldiers invade his village. There, he joins the resistance against his family’s wishes. When he finally heads back home, he learns that the entire town was massacred, leaving all his loved ones dead.
7. Threads (1984)
This harrowing war film takes place in England while imagining the Cold War. When a young couple falls in love, and the woman becomes pregnant, they cannot know that a nuclear attack will end their lives. After their home is destroyed and the couple is separated in the explosion, the woman does whatever it takes to help her unborn child survive in a barren landscape.
8. Wind River (2017)
Wind River is a haunting crime thriller about a ranger who stumbles upon the body of a young woman on a Native American reservation. The ranger teams up with the FBI to track down her killer, but the person responsible for the young woman’s death is determined to prevent anyone from tracking them down.
9. Atonement (2007)
This period drama takes place in the English countryside around World War II. It’s about the tragic love story between a woman and her love torn to pieces by a lie told by the woman’s envious younger sister. When the sister’s dastardly lie lands the man in prison, the woman he loves wonders if they will ever reunite.
10. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Hotel Rwanda is set in Rwanda during the Rwandan genocide when a Hutu man uses his hotel as a refuge for Tutsi people on the run from militant Hutu forces. As the war becomes more and more brutal, the hotel owner tries with all of his power to protect innocent people from a terrible fate.
11. Uncut Gems (2019)
This Safdies-produced crime thriller tells the story of Howard Ratner, a jeweler in New York City’s Diamond District. Portrayed by Adam Sandler in one of his best performances, Ratner is a gambling addict who needs to retrieve a rare, expensive gem he bought to pay off his huge debts. The anxiety-induced drama carries its intensity throughout the film, sweating it out for Ratner.
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This article was first published and syndicated by The Cents of Money.