The Humans of Cinema Instagram account highlights the mental health benefits of being a movie fan

Posted by
Lauren Geall
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites
Woman watching a film

Humans of Cinema encourages people to share letters addressed to the characters and films that have helped them through hard times – and the results are truly moving.

There’s nothing quite like the comfort that comes from a favourite film or TV show.

In a world where everything and everyone is vying for your attention 24/7, there’s something pleasingly revolutionary about turning off your phone, tucking yourself up under a blanket and immersing yourself in a world or situation completely different from your own. 

Checking in with your favourite character can also sometimes feel like reuniting with an old friend, especially when they’re someone you can relate to.

With all this considered, it’s no surprise that cinema can play a particularly important role when it comes to our mental health – and that’s what Harshit Bansal’s Instagram account Humans of Cinema aims to portray. 

You may also like

Scared of going to the cinema alone? Don’t be: it’s a brilliant form of self-care

With an impressive 78.3k followers, Humans of Cinema allows followers to send in their letters to favourite characters or films, detailing why or how they became such an important part of the person’s life. And the responses are often deeply moving.

The account’s most recent post, submitted by a follower called Dev, is a perfect example. Addressed to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the letter details how the film has helped and comforted him through some hard times.

“Dear The Perks of Being a Wallflower… no matter how many times I watch you, I always sit with excitement and zeal because you’re the only one that gets me every time,” the letter begins.

“It is weird how a movie is so relatable that you feel that you are watching your past self and think that you could have done so many things so differently,” he continues. “I can’t thank you enough for existing and not leaving me alone in my darkest times.”

The account’s current format, where users share stories about a film that helped them through a tough time, only started at the beginning of May (previously users just wrote a letter about their favourite film or TV show, without the mental health angle) – but the social, cultural and political impact of cinema is something Bansal has been thinking about for a long time.

“I’ve been a film buff all my life, but I started thinking about the personal, social and cultural impact of films only in the past few years,” Bansal told The Mighty. “While I continued to be affected by films so deeply and also kept on observing a similar effect on the society in general, it was baffling to see some people insulting cinema by calling it merely a source of entertainment with no social repercussions.

“I just felt that the best way to disprove them would be through people sharing their own experiences of how films have had a significant impact on their lives,” he continued. And that’s how the name came about too. It’s less about the films themselves and more about the humans that watch them.”

Woman watching film
The Best 90s reboots coming to screens soon, from Saved by the Bell to Clueless

Whether it’s going to the cinema alone, scheduling some comfort screen time at the end of the day, or just immersing yourself in your favourite world every so often, it’s clear that cinema is a pretty powerful thing, and something we shouldn’t be disregarding when it comes to our mental health. 

With so much negativity and bad news coming at us left, right and center, there’s something wonderfully simple about the relationships we have with the people on our screens – and it’s about time we celebrated that.

Sign up for workouts, nutritious recipes and expert tips, plus our Strong Women magazine with expert advice on building strength & resilience sent to your inbox.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Images: Getty


Share this article


Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.

Recommended by Lauren Geall


Adele treats young Grenfell Tower survivors to special cinema trip

“So much love and effort for the Grenfell kids”

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray

This London cinema's banning films to support mental health

Screen on the Green, we salute you

Posted by
Megan Murray

Why we need to see more good and bad female characters

The era of one-dimensional protagonists is over

In partnership with

Winnie the Pooh is Britain's favourite children's book character

“The things that make me different are the things that make me”

Posted by
Victoria Gray

The sober social life; fun nights out that don't require booze

From alternative cinema to late-night salons and fitness raves

Posted by
Sejal Kapadia Pocha