Watching Sad Movies Actually Makes You Happier

From bawling your eyes out over Bambi as a kid, to the slow, painful tug of the heart strings that was Beginners, most of us are suckers for a sad film. But a new study suggests that the reason for that might be incredibly simple: It turns out that sad films make us happy.

The research, carried out at The Ohio State University, tried to get to the bottom of our emotional reactions to sad cinema. To do that, researchers sat down 361 college students and made them watch the 2007 movie Atonement. That flick, in case you missed it, features two separated lovers who die as war casualties. That counts as sad.

Before and after the viewing, the participants were asked how happy they were with their life, and during the film they were also asked to rate their current emotional state.

The result? People who experienced the greatest increase in sadness during the movie reported increased life happiness after viewing it. They also rated the film as being better.


Posted by Jake, Co-Founder of