I’ve found myself in a somewhat melancholy mood over the last week. I learned that a friend of mine—more of an acquaintance, really—passed away unexpectedly. She was close in age to me, but still, news like this has that power to rock your world. It is an all-too vivid reminder that none of us will live forever. When I begin to feel sad about things, I tend to want to pay attention to sad movies or sad books. So, if you need a good cry (which sometimes helps bring us out of the realm of murkiness), I would suggest immersing yourself in some or all of the following:
1: The Fault in Our Stars. Either grab the book or the film, but either way, grab a box of tissues. While unbelievably depressing, the story does remind us of why we need love in our lives, no matter how many years of life we have to live. Hazel, Isaac, and Gus come to life as we bear witness to their daily dilemmas and struggles as cancer patients. I guarantee that it will be tough for you not to cry your eyes out.
2. The Painted Veil. On the rare occasions that I actually watch television, let alone hold the remote in my hand, if I come across the film The Painted Veil (based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham), I stop everything. This film, featuring Edward Norton (who hails from Columbia, Maryland, and is a big fan of Cal Ripken) and Naomi Watts, is so deeply beautiful, yet hauntingly devastating, that you can’t help but to become riveted, and saddened. At the heart of the story is the theme of forgiveness, and how holding on to anger or a grudge can taint the way you see people. This husband and wife must learn the hard way about finding forgiveness, and when they do, their few moments of joy are cut short. I adore this film, the acting, the scenery, and the message. If it teaches you anything, it would be not to live with regret.
3. Unbroken. Former Olympic athlete and WWII veteran, Louis “Louie” Zamperini, is the subject of Laura Hillenbrand’s extraordinary non-fiction book. Tracing Louie’s early days as a runner who competes in the Olympics in Germany and who was summoned to meet Adolf Hitler after a stunning race (Hitler is quoted as saying to him: “Ah, you were the boy with the fast finish”), to his time in WWII and as a POW, this mind-blowing story is absolutely riveting. The book is a sweeping, epic tale of one man’s survival—against all odds—and the notion that perseverance, resilience, and faith can guide you. You will feel a tremor of unease and absolute disbelief as you hear Louie’s tale. Read it now before Angelina Jolie releases it in December on the big screen.