7 Must-See Powerful Movies About Teenage Depression

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These movies about teenage depression and anxiety capture the essence of teen struggles, making us think, "Hey, that's exactly how I felt!"

Teen years can be a real rollercoaster. Between trying to find out who you are and where you fit, there can be some pretty tough down moments. Thankfully, there are movies that get it, that show the ups and downs of growing up and the feelings that come with it. That’s why, these movies about teenage depression are definitely going to hit a chord. 

These movies about teenage depression and anxiety capture the essence of teen struggles, making us think, “Hey, that’s exactly how I felt!”.

Let’s dive into some of these cinematic gems that show the real, raw, and messy side of teenagehood; some films that don’t shy away from talking about teenage blues and the harder bits of growing up. They’re real, raw, and seriously relatable. Dive in with me.

Related: 8 Best Movies Based On True Stories: A Blend Of Realism And Cinematic Brilliance

7 Powerful Movies About Teenage Depression

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Movies about teenage depression

Charlie, a young introvert, steps into high school with the weight of past traumas. When he befriends seniors Sam and Patrick, they become his guiding lights, helping him traverse the complexities of teenage life.

Their journey together encapsulates the rollercoaster of adolescence – the joy, the pain, the love, and the heartbreak. This movie beautifully captures the transformative power of friendship, while simultaneously highlighting the scars of past traumas.

Impactful Scene: Charlie’s breakdown at the end, where he remembers his aunt’s death, gives viewers a visceral understanding of his trauma and depression. 

The scene masterfully captures how past traumas, especially those suppressed, can profoundly shape a person’s present, affecting their mental health and daily interactions. It’s a stark reminder that beneath a calm exterior, turbulent storms might be raging within.

IMDb Rating – 7.9/10

2. Speak (2004)

Movies about teenage depression

Starting high school can be daunting, but for Melinda, it’s intensified by ostracization. After calling the police on a summer party, she’s outcast. As the year unfolds, her painful secret – a sexual assault at the party – emerges, revealing the reason behind her actions.

The movie portrays her struggle with PTSD, depression, and the isolation that follows. This is one of those movies about teenage depression and anxiety that underscores the devastating impact of trauma and the healing power of finding one’s voice. Easily one of the best movies about teenage depression that I have watched. 

Impactful Scene: When Melinda finally has the courage to open up about her sexual assault, it is a moment of raw, unfiltered emotion. This pivotal scene doesn’t just serve as a plot twist, but as a cathartic revelation for both the character and the audience.

It reminds viewers of the profound courage that exists in speaking one’s truth, especially in the face of deep-seated fear and societal judgment.

IMDb Rating – 7.2/10


3. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Movies about teenage depression

One of the best movies about teenage depression on Netflix currently.

Nadine’s adolescent life is upended when her best friend starts dating her older brother. Feeling more alone than ever, she forms an unlikely bond with a thoughtful classmate and her history teacher.

The film candidly captures the feelings of isolation, rivalry, and the desperate search for understanding during the teen years. Through Nadine’s journey, the film underscores the importance of communication and connection, reminding viewers that everyone, no matter how assured they seem, is grappling with their own insecurities.

Impactful Scene: When Nadine confronts her friend Krista about dating her brother. Feeling betrayed, Nadine’s emotional outburst encapsulates her feelings of loneliness and the intricate dynamics of teenage relationships.

Another pivotal scene is when Nadine sends an embarrassing text to her crush and later confronts him, which leads to a disastrous encounter. This scene serves as a raw depiction of teenage vulnerability, impulsivity, and the resultant consequences.

IMDb Rating – 7.3/10


Related: 15 Emotional Movies That Will Make You Cry Your Heart Out

4. Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Movies about teenage depression

Based on true events, Susanna Kaysen’s tale unfolds in Claymoore, a mental institution. As she forms bonds with the women inside, including the unpredictable Lisa, viewers are offered a look into depression, borderline personality disorder, and the teenage angst and teenage mental health during the 1960s.

One of the best movies about teenage depression, that challenges the perception of normalcy, delving deep into the societal constraints of the era.

Impactful Scene: The confrontation scene between Lisa and Susanna offers a deep dive into the complexities of mental illnesses. Lisa is loud and wild, while Susanna is more quiet and thoughtful.

Their fight highlights their struggles and their hope for understanding and support. It’s a scene that shows how complex and varied mental health can be.

IMDb Rating – 7.3/10


5. It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010)

Movies about teenage depression

Definitely one of the best movies about depressed teenagers and movies about teenage depression. 

Amidst the relentless pressures of academic expectations and personal challenges, Craig finds himself drowning in overwhelming despair. Unable to cope, he takes the courageous step of admitting himself into a mental health clinic, seeking solace and support.

Inside the clinic’s walls, Craig’s path intertwines with that of Bobby, a fellow patient who carries his own burdens. As they navigate the labyrinth of their shared struggles, their bond deepens, offering them a fresh perspective on life and its myriad challenges.

With a delicate balance of humour and sensitivity, this movie illuminates the universal nature of mental health struggles, reminding us all of the power of resilience and the importance of connection in our darkest moments.

Impactful Scene: Craig’s rendition of “Under Pressure” with other patients showcases the therapeutic power of art and companionship. The song itself, with its powerful lyrics, mirrors the inner chaos and external pressures the patients face daily.

Craig and the other patients come together, their joint performance becomes a metaphorical release of pent-up emotions, showcasing how collective expression can be cathartic. 

IMDb Rating – 7.1/10


6. All the Bright Places (2020)

Movies about teenage depression

Another one of the best movies about teenage depression on Netflix right now.

Violet Markey is grappling with the traumatic loss of her sister, while Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, constantly thinking of ways he might die. However, when they meet, their worlds change. Together, they embark on a transformative journey, discovering the natural wonders of their state.

The film eloquently showcases the fragile nature of mental health in adolescence. The protagonists’ journey illustrates the importance of connection and the healing power of love and understanding.

Impactful Scene: The “Blue Hole” scene is particularly poignant. Violet and Finch visit this natural water body as part of their school project. As Violet hesitates on the edge, scared because of her sister’s recent car accident, Finch encourages her to let go of her fears.

When they both jump into the water, it’s symbolic of them confronting their traumas and fears together, with the water acting as a metaphorical cleansing of their past.

IMDb Rating – 6.6/10


Related: 20 Greatest Teen Movies Of All Time

7. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Movies about teenage depression

This is probably one of the most underrated movies about teenage depression and anxiety.

It dives deep into a family’s eccentric journey, driving their daughter to a beauty contest. Beyond its dark comedic exterior, it profoundly touches on family dynamics and mental well-being.

The film doesn’t overly dissect its characters’ quirks, letting their interactions reveal the generational differences. It’s not just a beauty pageant tale but an exploration of familial bonds and emotional struggles. A shining beacon in cinema about teenage depression, this film is a heart-warming must-watch.

Impactful Scene: The climax where young Olive performs her offbeat dance routine to Rick James’ “Super Freak” at the beauty pageant. The scene is both hilarious and heart-warming, as her utterly unprepared family joins her onstage in solidarity, emphasizing the film’s core message about the importance of family support and unconditional love.

IMDb Rating – 7.8/10


Takeaway

Every one of these movies about teenage depression serves as more than just a cinematic escape; they’re catalysts for essential conversations. Diving deep into the often murky waters of teenage depression and mental well-being, they demystify and humanize these complex experiences.

By painting a vivid picture of adolescent struggles, these movies about depressed teenagers invite dialogue, understanding, and empathy, ensuring these vital topics don’t remain cloaked in silence and misconceptions.

Which of these movies about teenage depression and anxiety have you watched? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!


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