Happy movies and their bitter after-taste

Has it ever occurred, that after watching a very lively and colourful film, full of chatter and laughter- a pit of sadness suddenly forms afterwards, which contradicts the whole purpose of that feel-good film?

Why does it happen?

I felt it was maybe due to the fact that those experiences portrayed so well in an overly saturated manner, in reality, are quite unachievable. Maybe their far-fetched ness is the cause of this ball of shallow feelings which forms after almost every “happy” film.

I in fact am not too far off. A lot of people have felt this emotion and are confused trying to understand this moody teenage kid behaviour of the brain.

Me being one of those people.

The setting of the film, Pandora, is the ideal alternate reality we all would want to live in. This feeling grew in more than a handful of its watchers into finding the actual reality plain and monotonous. This issue was so widespread that it got a term: Post-Avatar Depression.

It is interesting to analyze how our brain functions at times like these. We KNOW nothing like those blue alien creatures exist. But the prospect of a slight “maybe” is the root cause of all this mind-boggling. It was the same for all the people suffering from this unwanted gift- they found the real world too dull, full of drab routines and zero plot twists. For most of us, the void left behind by a gripping visual entertainer varies.

But don’t lie, It’s always there.

Sad movies are lighter on my brain”

Contrary to the previous feeling, this one has some research backed up to it. At a basic level, it can be understood this way:

Previously we were unhappy because of all we couldn’t achieve. In this case, we feel grateful for our lives as in most cases, it is far more pleasant than the heart-wrenching situations characters go through

Studies can back up this view. A research, consisting of 169 students was conducted by Oxford University. A section of them were shown the painful reality of a homeless and disabled drug addict as a film. The others were shown a nature documentary.

Post-observation conclusions draw out that those who watched the sad film had an increase in pain tolerance by 13.1%. Credit can be given to the release of endorphin hormone. Endorphin helps in relieving stress and also brings our brain to a stage of equilibrium. Therefore after a good cry, most of us feel rejuvenated.

I am wowed by the power of cinema and how our head interprets it. Also how we all are so different, divided by kilometres of land and water, and yet feel ubiquitous sensations. This was just a small outpour of a topic I have been pondering upon since the pandemic hit, and I got the taste of binge-watching.

Catch you up next time.



  • Nainika

    I just love how beautifully u’ve expressed yourself. I had no idea
    u write so well. I understand that this is a great way to get things off your chest and to introspect which is why I’m assuming this must have helped u with that. So, keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *