Documentaries to Watch During Every Stage of Lockdown Grief

We don't know how long this will take, but we've got you covered.
January 11, 2021, 9:30am
Documentaries for Every Stage of Lockdown Grief

We’re in Lockdown 3.0 and it feels like an entire year has been written off. Vaccine aside, we’re in the same position we were in last April: recipes for bread have replaced hugging your friends, there’s nothing left to say on the family Zoom catch-up and the mere suggestion of a cough in public is one of the most unfashionable things imaginable.


According to Psychology Today, grief is “the psychological-emotional experience following a loss of any kind”. Well, I’m grieving for exhibitions and restaurants and nightclubs and Glasto (which might not even go on this year now) and film festivals and comedy shows and everything else.

In 2005, psychologists Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. They outlined five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. So, since the only thing we’ve got left right now is time and content, here’s a documentary for every stage.


The first stage of grief is denial. And, let’s be honest, a lot of people have chosen to deal with the stress of a global pandemic by denying reality. A litany of wild claims have emerged, each, it seems, slightly more bonkers than the last.

Arguably the most damaging COVID-19 conspiracy is propagated by the 5G-causes-the-virus brigade. Even though this theory is basically a pastiche of the wi-fi-causes-cancer nonsense which is a rehash of the old Millennium-bug-will-cause-a-glitch-that plunges-us-into-chaos gibberish which is a rework of the idea (dating back to the 1970s) that power lines, televisions and ovens are going to kill us all.


At the beginning of last year, we spoke to Dr David Robert Grimes, a cancer researcher and physicist at the University of Oxford and met some people who lose a lot of sleep as they think that 5G is killing them.

If you’re in a conspiracy rabbit hole after watching that, take a look at The Rapper Who ‘Turned into a Cat’. Although, to be fair, there might be some merit in that one. (I just think the official narrative is debatable, that’s all.)


We’ve seen a lot of pandemic-fuelled anger. People fighting over toilet roll, people falling out over Bill Gates’ true motives (see stage one) and fury directed at our hopelessly incompetent Prime Minister, who has managed to fuck up everything while claiming to be organising a “world-beating” response.  

As far as angry content goes, it’s over to Taji Ameen who checks out the lowest-rated spots in New York “to see if they're as shitty as the internet says, or if they're just misunderstood”. Unfortunately, they’re rarely misunderstood.

In this episode, he visits Yelp’s worse-rated dating coach who became increasingly furious as her professional credibility swiftly dwindled, saying things like, “Tell them [the reviewers] to say it to my face”, “if people call me a scam I lose it” and “she’s a fat girl”. You can watch the entire episode on All 4.

If that wasn’t bad enough, this episode features a plastic surgeon who threatens to sue everyone who says anything negative.


When it comes to bargaining, 2 Chainz knows a thing or two. After all, in the four years that he’s been hosting Most Expensivest, he’s been offered more than a few bargains: brunch for £1,500, for instance, or a huge blunt that would put you on a bad whitey for £40,000 or a bottle of perfume for a casual $1 million. Here’s someone trying to sell him thin air for £7,500, you can watch the whole box set for free here on All 4.

Other people who know a good bargain when they see one are Silibill N' Brains; they’re the Scottish guys who reinvented themselves as LA-based hip-hop artists, adopted American accents and claimed that Eminem “taught them how to rap”. After that, they blagged Sony to give them £140k. As you do.


It’s no secret that a lot of people’s mental health has taken a big hit. According to the World Health Organisation, “bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones”. This comes at a time that mental health services are unavailable to the vast majority of patients and have been cut to shit by the Tories over the past decade.

At the beginning of last year, we sent writer and model Sydney Lima to the world’s most expensive rehab – Paracelsus, in Switzerland, which has a monstrous £300,000-per-month price tag ­– so she could try and kick her partying lifestyle and improve her mental health.


Catering to clientele of royalty, politicians, oligarchs, business tycoons and A-list celebrities, they offer a lakeside villa in Zurich, 24/7 limousine transportation, a personal chef, a butler and a concierge, access to a five-star hotel spa and a live-in therapist (who sleeps in the spare room).

But things got a bit weird.    


Acceptance comes in many forms; in the case of lockdown grief, it’s when you accept that you’re going to have to stay at home for a while, cook some comfort food, select a Netflix box set to dedicate the coming days to, and chill the fuck out.

In the case of Stephen Fasteau of Maryland in the United States, a journey of self-acceptance took quite a different path. I won’t say too much, but it involved getting Oobah Butler to cast a lookalike to attend his ten-year high school reunion because he didn’t feel like he was very likable in his school days.

UPDATE 18/01/21: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross as a co-author of On Grief and Grieving, and did not include her title. Both errors have now been corrected.