Depressing films. There is something about them that paradoxically appeals to me. Give me a film like American Pie or Meet the Fockers and I will be morbidly depressed. Feed me Robert Bresson or Ingmar Bergman and I will grin with happiness like the proverbial Cheshire Cat.
This is probably an anomaly of my psyche on my part but I loooove depressing films. A good old wallow in misery does wonders for the soul and it can be really cathartic if you have pent up emotions to vent.
I have presented for you a catalogue of ten depressing films in order to rain on your parade and spread gloom all over your happy day. I send you virtual Kleenex in order to prepare yourself for this cavalcade of melancholy…
10. Jude (1996)
Jude is a clever young lower class man who desperately wants to go to university but he is held back by the hand fate deals him. Trapped in a marriage to the repulsive Arabella and forced to work as a stone mason, he must give up his dreams. However, his wife leaves him and he he sees an opening for his dream to come true. He goes to the city and meets his cousin Sue who is beautiful and intelligent. Jude falls for her but she marries Phillotson a teacher after she learns Jude is married to Arabella.
The marriage is not a success and Sue runs off with Jude. They have several children and because of his low status Jude is not given a chance at university. Sue who is agnostic, doesn’t want to marry but they are refused lodgings on the basis of not being married. Jude’s son with Arabella comes to live with them. Sue tells him they can’t get lodgings because they are too large a family. The next day Jude’s son kills all of his siblings and himself leaving a note “becos we were too menny”.
Sue and Jude both fall into a deep depression. Sue turns to God and goes back to her marriage with Phillotson. A year after the death of their children, Sue and Jude happen to meet over the children’s tombstones. Jude demands that Sue tells him that she loves him. They passionately kiss and she says “You’ve always known”. As she heads back to her husband Jude shouts out “We are man and wife, if ever two people were on this earth!”. Fin.
Jude is one long big depression fest to sit through. There is sadness and tragedy lingering in the air from the very start of the film and this is sustained right through to the end. Thomas Hardy must have required a suite in Hotel Prozac whenever he wrote the novel Jude the Obscure that the film is based on. The film is enough to put you off marriage and having children.
The tragedy of Jude Junior killing off his siblings and then himself is very hard to bear, especially as Sue took to him as one of her own and did not differentiate between them. Sue is an extremely attractive and intelligent woman who is about 100 years ahead of her time. It is horrible to see her independent, pioneering spirit crushed by the terrible tragedy. Jude’s intentions are good but he just cannot seem to get a lucky break in the world. If it were modern times, the couple would have it easier but back in Victorian England he was beaten even before he started.
A hugely emotionally affecting movie that will have you reaching for the Kleenex.
This article was first posted on March 18, 2013