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The Best Movies About Letting Go

Updated October 24, 2019 951 votes 104 voters 7.4k views39 items

List RulesVote 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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  • 1
    37
    9

    Inside Out

    Amy Poehler, Diane Lane

    Released2015

    Directed byPete 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
  • 2
    38
    13

    Forgetting Sarah Marshall

    Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell

    Released2008

    Directed byNicholas 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 written...  more
  • 3
    27
    5

    Up

    Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner

    Released2009

    Directed byPete 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
  • 4
    29
    9

    Toy Story

    Tom Hanks, Tim Allen

    Released1995

    Directed byJohn 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 first...  more
  • 5
    29
    19

    Titanic

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

    Released1997

    Directed byJames 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
  • 6
    17
    8

    The Wrestler

    Evan Rachel Wood, Mickey Rourke

    Released2008

    Directed byDarren 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
  • 7
    26
    20

    Silver Linings Playbook

    Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro

    Released2012

    Directed byDavid 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 stars...  more
  • 8
    23
    17

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    Harrison Ford, Sean Connery

    Released1989

    Directed bySteven 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
  • 9
    18
    12

    The Others

    Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston

    Released2001

    Directed byAlejandro 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 Best Film...  more
  • 10
    15
    9

    Memento

    Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss

    Released2000

    Directed byChristopher 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 "Memento...  more
  • 11
    16
    11

    Frozen

    Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel

    Released2013

    Directed byChris 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 Walt...  more
  • 12
    18
    16

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst

    Released2004

    Directed byMichel 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
  • 13
    12
    9

    Stranger than Fiction

    Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman

    Released2006

    Directed byMarc 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, and...  more
  • 14
    14
    14

    About Time

    Rachel McAdams, Margot Robbie

    Released2013

    Directed byRichard 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 improve...  more
  • 15
    13
    13

    (500) Days of Summer

    Zooey Deschanel, Minka Kelly

    Released2009

    Directed byMarc 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 boss's...  more
  • 16
    14
    14

    Fly Away Home

    Anna Paquin, Dana Delany

    Released1996

    Directed byCarroll 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. The...  more
  • 17
    16
    16

    Inception

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

    Released2010

    Directed byChristopher 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, Elliot Page, Joseph...  more
  • 18
    10
    8

    Celeste and Jesse Forever

    Emma Roberts, Chris Pine

    Released2012

    Directed byLee Toland Krieger

    Celeste and Jesse Forever is a 2012 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Lee Toland Krieger. It stars Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg, and was written by Jones and Will McCormack, who also...  more
  • 19
    11
    10

    Casablanca

    Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart

    Released1942

    Directed byMichael 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 Humphrey...  more
  • 20
    2
    2

    Ms. Purple

    Tiffany Chu, Teddy Lee

    Released2019

    Directed byJustin 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....  more
  • 21
    4
    2

    Synonyms

    Tom Mercier, Quentin Dolmaire

    Released2019

    Directed byNadav 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
  • 22
    7
    8

    Life After Beth

    Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza

    Released2014

    Directed byJeff Baena

    Life After Beth is a 2014 American zombie comedy film written and directed by Jeff Baena. The film stars Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Anna Kendrick, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Matthew...  more
  • 23
    9
    12

    What Dreams May Come

    Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr.

    Released1998

    Directed byVincent 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 by...  more
  • 24
    8
    10

    The Break-Up

    Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston

    Released2006

    Directed byPeyton 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 and...  more
  • 25
    8
    10

    Knocked Up

    Jessica Alba, Eva Mendes

    Released2007

    Directed byJudd Apatow

    Knocked Up is a 2007 American romantic comedy film co-produced, written, and directed by Judd Apatow. The films stars Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, and Leslie Mann. It follows the...  more
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List Rules: Vote up your favorite films where characters learn to accept/deal with change.