The best grief-recovery movies are ones in which something else is going on besides coping with grief. In my book the five best (all of which deal with the aftermath of a death of a loved one) are, in this order, In The Bedroom, Manchester By The Sea, Don’t Look Now, Ordinary People and Things We Lost In The Fire. Because each is focused on something other than just a main character stumbling and thrashing around in pain. The only stumbling around grief flick that I’ve been okay with is John Cameron Michell‘s Rabbit Hole.
The lesser grief-recovery dramas (Demolition, Meadowland) are those in which lead characters mainly just sink into it…”hurt so bad….can’t get past it…I need to drown my grief with drink, drugs, sex or oddball behavior.”
From my perspective the latest permutation could be described as “angry parent of a recently deceased son/daughter faces off with the deceased’s partner/spouse” — Amber Tamblyn‘s Paint It Black (Janet McTeer vs. Alia Shawkat) and Maris Curran‘s Five Nights in Maine (Dianne Wiest vs. David Oyelowo).
I’m just sick of the whole subgenre. I’m sick of death, loss, grief. That doesn’t mean I’m looking for escapism either. I’m just sick and tired of people with long faces. I’m excluding Manchester By The Sea, of course, as I don’t classify it as a “grief” film, even though it more or less is.