Smart ladies love happy movies


Or, why I can’t watch Beasts of the Southern Wild

My friend S, who is a very adventurous movie-goer and sees everything, saw Beasts of the Southern Wild this weekend. I asked if I could handle it, knowing my aversion to anything depressing that causes tears and she told me it has “too many sads.” Crossed off my list.

It’s not like I can’t handle movies about the end of relationships or ones where the bad guy wins (I love the Coens forever and ever). I don’t always need a satisfying ending, though isn’t it great when Hitler burns to death in Inglorious Basterds? I just know there are certain films I will not allow myself to watch. Two movies helped me come to this decision.

I saw Dancer in the Dark when it came out twelve years ago with my French New Wave-obsessed friend M. I love musicals , Catherine Deneuve, and Bjork so it seemed like an excellent choice. I even think I knew about the truly horrifying ending. What I did not know is that I would cry, UGLY CRY, for the last forty minutes of the movie, in the car on the way to a bar and at the bar for at least an hour (I think we saw a band which made the crying stop). M was crying too and we drank heavily to forget the pain because that’s what you do when you’re 21.

I was affected by the way justice was served to poor Selma but I was also devastated that her son would be blind for the rest of his life. It seemed so unfair. I have taken this hurt out on Lars von Trier and refused to see any of his other movies. Thank god he turned out to be a fucking loon.

For my husband’s birthday a few years ago, I took him to see Pan’s Labyrinth. I knew I wouldn’t love it but I didn’t realize how much it would traumatize me as a 27 year old grown woman. I bawled in the theater. I pretended to like the film but it haunted me.  I had nightmares about the ending for at least a year and had some pretty serious panic attacks about death for a while too.

At the time I had confused director Fernando Mareilles, who directed City of God (a depressing movie I loved as it had a hopeful ending) with Guilermo del Toro, who directed fucking Hellboy. There is no way I would ever want to see a movie by the guy that did Hellboy.


Just writing this post has brought up all kinds of uncomfortable memories. I image searched Pan’s Labyrinth and started crying, which is why I just put up the posters. I am 33, people! It appears I have some shit I need to work on.


  1. Beasts of the Southern Wild was sad, but it was also filled with joy & life & hope. I loved it! And I cried my freaking eyes out, but I left feeling great!

  2. Pingback: Smart ladies love awards shows, Oscars nomination first reactions | smart ladies love stuff

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