It’s a Wonderful Death

In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey tries to kill himself in his despair, but an angel saves him and then shows him what his life would have been like if he had never been born. After seeing all the good his life has done for so many people, he accepts that he’s had a wonderful life and returns to it without regrets.

There are several movies that have this same plot, but stood on its head. The main character spends much of the movie getting himself into a worse state, for himself and the ones around him, until at the end he discovers that it would be better off if he had died in the beginning of the story and now has an opportunity to do so. In each of these “It’s a Wonderful Death” movies, there are often some common themes, which I discuss in each one. All of them have a supernatural or science-fiction justification as to why the main character is allowed to go back in time and undo the mess he has made by being alive.

Since “It’s a Wonderful Death” movies tend to reveal themselves as a plot twist near the end, I list many movies below, only a few of which are “It’s a Wonderful Death” movies, others are red herrings. They are all interesting films, so only click on ones you have already seen, because otherwise they will spoil the movie for you.

The Terminator
The Sixth Sense
12 Monkeys
The Last Temptation of Christ
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Jacob’s Ladder
The Matrix
The Butterfly Effect (Director’s Cut)
The Crying Game
Donnie Darko (Director’s Cut)
Dark City
Blade Runner (Director’s Cut)
Mulholland Drive
Groundhog Day