voila chers amis! Inspirational films and books to help you and your loved ones…

I see Life as a House every year… sooooooooo fab! Kevin Kline is amazing…

Good movies – top-notch classics that handle grief and tragedy with tenderness, hope and beauty… (I gave Barbarian Invasions 5 stars). What are YOUR recommendations? Share them 🙂

YouTube: Randy Pausch – His “Last Lecture” before pancreatic cancer takes him – Uploaded on Dec 20, 2007

Beautiful lecture about his life as a Virtual Reality pioneer at Carnegie Mellon & Disney’s Imagineering… WHat a mind!!! He spent his life chasing and ACHIEVING his dreams… now THAT’s the meaning of life…

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving presentation, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals.
For more on Randy, visit: http://www.cmu.edu/randyslecture


Amazon:  The Way — Emilio Estevez (Actor, Director), Martin Sheen (Actor)
Wonderful story about the meaning of life…

“The Way” is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends, and the challenges we face while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son , killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago,. Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son’s desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn’t plan on is the profound impact the journey will have on him. From the unexpected and, oftentimes, amusing experiences along “The Way,” Tom begins to learn what it means to be a citizen of the world again. Through his unresolved relationship with his son, he discovers the difference between “the life we live and the life we choose.”

Netflix: Young@Heart Senior Chorus sings rock ‘n roll — 2007 PG 1hr 48m

What an uplifting story – singers 73-93 singing rock n roll… and staying young at heart… 5 STAR
And when members of the choir pass on – it inspires them to do their best and march on!!! Glorious!!!

Coldplay, the Clash and Jimi Hendrix will never sound the same once you’ve heard the Young@Heart chorus, a group of Massachusetts senior citizens who thrill audiences worldwide with their unusual — and unusually poignant — covers of rock songs. Stephen Walker’s humane and heartwarming documentary, which premiered at Sundance in 2008, follows the elderly ensemble as they prepare their latest show for public performances.

The Untouchables (French)
WOW! This was a 4 star, maybe a 5 star… True story – starts slow and then you are so hooked by the beauty of friendship, the magic of romance… and the inspiring courage and audacity of these two eclectic, fascinating characters…
Based on a true story, a quadriplegic aristocrat’s world is turned upside down when he hires a young, good-humored ex-con as his caretaker. This unlikely duo overcomes adversity of every flavor as they shatter preconceptions of love, life and each other.

As It Is in Heaven
WOW! WOW! WOW! I gave this 5 stars… What an uplifting and moving film… great music, joyous heavenly singing, excellent cast! And an incomparable performance by handsome Michael Nyqvist.

This Oscar-nominated, Scandinavian drama directed by Kay Pollack, tells the story of Daniel Dareus, a small-town boy who escaped his tiny village to become a famous conductor. A tragic mishap sends him back home in search of a fresh start, and he ends up leading the local choir

Cast: Michael Nyqvist, Frida Hallgren, Helen Sjöholm

Monsieur Lazhar 2011PG-1394 minutes – the ending is soooo beautiful, what an unusual, wonderful film…
When an Algerian immigrant seeking asylum in Montreal takes a job replacing an elementary school teacher who committed suicide, he finds that his own secret, tragic background enables him to help the children deal with their loss.

Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron, Marie-Ève Beauregard, Vincent Millard, Seddik Benslimane,Louis-David Leblanc, Gabriel Verdier, Marianne Soucy-Lord, Danielle Proulx, Brigitte Poupart
Social Issue Dramas, Indie Dramas, Drama

Life as a House 2001R124 minutes (some nudity & tasteful/minimal sex scenes) I ADORE this film – watch it whenever I need a good cry… ends with a BIG shot of hope … tender and uplifting!
Faced with a sobering diagnosis of terminal cancer, George (Kevin Kline) decides to construct a beautiful new house on his land overlooking the Pacific Ocean, while at the same time trying to connect with his estranged son (Hayden Christensen). Kristin Scott Thomas and Mary Steenburgen co-star in this moving dramedy that speaks eloquent volumes about the fragility — and resilience — of the human condition.

Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas, Hayden Christensen, Jena Malone, Mary Steenburgen, Mike Weinberg,Scotty Leavenworth, Ian Somerhalder, Jamey Sheridan, Scott Bakula, Sandra Nelson, Sam Robards, John Pankow,Kim Delgado, Barry Primus
Tearjerkers, Medical Dramas, Drama

Departures 2008PG-13131 minutes
Young cellist Daigo has an epiphany in which he realizes he’s been heading down the wrong career path. Retreating to his hometown, he trains for a new professional role as a “nakanshi” ¿ one who prepares the dead for burial.

Masahiro Motoki, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ryoko Hirosue, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Kimiko Yo, Takashi Sasano, Tôru Minegishi, Tetta Sugimoto, Yukiko Tachibana, Tatsuo Yamada
Foreign Dramas, Japan, Foreign
The Barbarian Invasions 2003R99 minutes (for adults – sexy dialogue at times) 5 star film…
In this sequel to The Decline of the American Empire, middle-aged divorcé Rémy is hospitalized with terminal cancer, and his estranged son, Sébastien, returns home to make amends and help Rémy fight the illness.

Rémy Girard, Stéphane Rousseau, Marie-Josée Croze, Marina Hands, Dorothée Berryman, Johanne-Marie Tremblay, Pierre Curzi, Yves Jacques, Louise Portal, Dominique Michel

Amour 2012PG-13
In this 2012 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner, Georges and Anne, retired music teachers in their eighties, have a time-tested love. But as Anne’s health fails, Georges becomes her caregiver, and the couple’s bond is tested like never before.

Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud, William Shimell, Ramón Agirre, Rita Blanco
Foreign, Indie Dramas, Romantic Dramas, Drama
The Notebook 2004PG-13123 minutes
Two young lovers (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) are torn apart by war and class differences in the 1940s in this adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s best-selling novel. Their story is told by a man (James Garner) who, years later, reads from a notebook while he visits a woman in a nursing home (Gena Rowlands). Nick Cassavetes directs this heart-tugging romance about the sacrifices people will make to hang on to their one true love.

Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, James Marsden, Sam Shepard, David Thornton, Joan Allen, Kevin Connolly, Tim Ivey, Starletta DuPois, Ed Grady, Jennifer Echols
Romantic Dramas, Tearjerkers, Dramas Based on Bestsellers, Romance



“Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant: Facing adversity, building resilience, and finding joy. A well-written guide to navigating the potholes of loss to rediscover hope and joy, as well as the much needed support of your community and colleagues. Easy to listen to on the Libby app.

More recommendations – these two recommended by mon chou Garrison Singer (helped contribute stories to “On Grief”)

The author kept asking for “just one more day…”

By Mitch Albom: For One More Day by -Hyperion- (May 1, 2008)

The movie with Jack Lemmon is AWESOME and poignant…

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom (Oct 8,


By author May Sarton – Incredibly poignant works… with much wisdom for us children…

“The Reckoning” – a 62 year-old cancer victim has 6 mths to live and seeks to understand what her life and relationships now mean. This is also useful for middle-aged children of dying parents – helps you understand the changing priorities of the person facing death… For example, he/she may may prefer to spend time with the hospice worker, instead of family…

A Reckoning: A Novel by May Sarton (May 17, 1997)

“As we are now” – the roller coaster emotional ride of an elderly woman in a nursing home. Through her new friends, young and old, she finds companionship and peace in her new surroundings, and learns to give again.

As We Are Now: A Novel by May Sarton (Oct 17, 1992)


This is a personal favorite – audio book is best as her voice is sooooo calming and wonderful..

Getting Unstuck by Pema Chodron (Mar 2006)


I highly recommend this (came from my pal Kris Bunting)
Beautifully written and deals with so many aspects and causes of death
and how other people faced their grief.

On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler (Jun 5, 2007)

One thought on “On Grief and Grieving: Great films and books to help cope with loss of loved ones.

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