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The Best Movies About Letting Go 

Ranker Film
Updated October 24, 2019 535 votes 78 voters 4.4k views 39 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite films where characters learn to accept/deal with change.

You can see from this list of movies about letting go, it's never easy to say goodbye, whether it's to a person, a place, or even just a certain time in your life. Nothing is worse than having to move on before you're ready, and we all have those things in our lives that we should let go of, but just can't.

The films on this list of letting go movies are here to teach us how to say goodbye. They range from movies about saying goodbye to childhood to movies about death, grief and time. Ultimately, they all have something to say about one of the most difficult experiences in the human lifetime. The characters sometimes rage against their loss, sometimes try to bargain their way out of it, and sometimes they finally accept it and find peace.

But this isn't just a list of downers. While there are some dramas here, you'll also find Pixar's sweet and hilarious Inside Out, along with Christopher Nolan's gripping Memento. A surprising amount of movies have letting go as a theme.

So vote for your favorites and add any of the greatest letting go movies that aren't on the list!

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list ordered by
1
Forgetting Sarah Marshal... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand

Released: 2008

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a 2008 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Nicholas Stoller and starring Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Russell Brand. The film, which was ...more
2
Inside Out is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Amy Poehler, Diane Lane, Mindy Kaling

Released: 2015

Directed by: Pete Docter

Inside Out is a 2015 American 3D computer-animated comedy-drama film directed by Pete Docter. In the mind of a young girl, five personified emotions - Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), ...more
3
Toy Story is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles

Released: 1995

Directed by: John Lasseter

Toy Story is a 1995 American computer-animated buddy-comedy adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by John Lasseter, Toy Story was the ...more
4
Titanic is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates

Released: 1997

Directed by: James Cameron

Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A seventeen-year-old aristocrat (Kate Winslet) falls in love with a kind but poor artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) ...more
5
Indiana Jones and the La... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, River Phoenix

Released: 1989

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. It is the third installment in the ...more
6
Up is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Laraine Newman

Released: 2009

Directed by: Pete Docter

Up is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy-drama film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Pete Docter, the film centers on an ...more
7
Eternal Sunshine of the ... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey

Released: 2004

Directed by: Michel Gondry

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories, written by Charlie ...more
8
Memento is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

Released: 2000

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Memento is a 2000 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan. The screenplay was written by Nolan based on his younger brother Jonathan Nolan's short story ...more
9
The Others is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley

Released: 2001

Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar

The Others is a 2001 horror-thriller film written, directed and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. It stars Nicole Kidman and Fionnula Flanagan. It won eight Goya Awards, including awards for ...more
10
Inception is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

Released: 2010

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph ...more
11
Frozen is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Alan Tudyk

Released: 2013

Directed by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Frozen is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy–comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 53rd animated feature in the ...more
12
(500) Days of Summer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Zooey Deschanel, Minka Kelly, Chloë Grace Moretz

Released: 2009

Directed by: Marc Webb

(500) Days of Summer is a 2009 American romantic comedy-drama film by first time director Marc Webb. On January 8, Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel), his ...more
13
Silver Linings Playbook ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper

Released: 2012

Directed by: David O. Russell

Silver Linings Playbook is a 2012 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by David O. Russell, adapted from the novel The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. The film ...more
14
The Wrestler is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Evan Rachel Wood, Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei

Released: 2008

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

The Wrestler is a 2008 American sports drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Robert D. Siegel, and starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood. Production began in ...more
15
Fly Away Home is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Anna Paquin, Dana Delany, Jeff Daniels

Released: 1996

Directed by: Carroll Ballard

Fly Away Home is a 1996 family drama film directed by Carroll Ballard. The film stars Anna Paquin, Jeff Daniels and Dana Delany. The film was released on September 13, 1996 by Columbia Pictures. ...more
16
The Break-Up is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, Ann-Margret

Released: 2006

Directed by: Peyton Reed

The Break-Up is a 2006 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Peyton Reed. In a bid to keep their luxurious condo from their significant other, a newly broken up couple (Vince Vaughn ...more
17
Looper is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Released: 2012

Directed by: Rian Johnson

Looper is a 2012 American science fiction action thriller film written and directed by Rian Johnson and starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt. In the film, time travel is ...more
18
Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre

Released: 1942

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's. The film stars ...more
19
About Time is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Rachel McAdams, Margot Robbie, Bill Nighy

Released: 2013

Directed by: Richard Curtis

About Time is a 2013 British romantic comedy-drama film directed by Richard Curtis. A young man (Domhnall Gleeson) with the special ability to time travel tries to change his past in order to ...more
20
Synonyms is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Tom Mercier, Quentin Dolmaire, Louise Chevillotte

Released: 2019

Directed by: Nadav Lapid

Synonyms (a.k.a. Synonymes) is a 2019 French-Israeli drama film directed by Nadav Lapid. A young Israeli man, Yoav (Tom Mercier) travels to Paris in an effort to flee his nationality and despite ...more
21
What Dreams May Come is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Max von Sydow

Released: 1998

Directed by: Vincent Ward

What Dreams May Come is a 1998 American fantasy drama film, starring Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Annabella Sciorra and Max von Sydow. The film is based on the 1978 novel of the same name ...more
22
Ms. Purple is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Tiffany Chu, Teddy Lee, Octavio Pizano

Released: 2019

Directed by: Justin Chon

Ms. Purple is a 2019 American drama film directed by Justin Chon. Two estranged sisters come back together to help care for their dying father.
23
Magnolia is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Released: 1999

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

Magnolia is a 1999 American drama film written, produced, and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Jeremy Blackman, Tom Cruise, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ricky Jay, ...more
24
Stranger than Fiction is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Marka added Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah

Released: 2006

Directed by: Marc Forster

Stranger than Fiction is a 2006 American comedy-drama-fantasy film directed by Marc Forster, written by Zach Helm, and starring Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, ...more
25
Changeland is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Letting Go
Seth Green, Randy Orton, Breckin Meyer

Released: 2019

Directed by: Seth Green

Changeland is a 2019 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Seth Green. While visiting Thailand, two estranged friends realize there's no rule book for finding purpose and meaning in