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This Emotional Life (2010)

Hosted by Daniel Gilbert , Richard Hutton , Paula S. Apsell  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

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This Emotional Life + National Geographic: Stress - Portrait of a Killer + Depression: Out of the Shadows
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Product Details

  • Actors: Hosted by Daniel Gilbert
  • Directors: Richard Hutton, Paula S. Apsell, Peter Kunhardt, Dyllan McGee
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2010
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002Y7ZELW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,518 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "This Emotional Life" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

How can we all live happier, more fulfilling lives? THIS EMOTIONAL LIFE explores ways we can improve our social relationships, learn to cope with problems like depression and anxiety, and become more positive and resilient individuals. Host Daniel Gilbert, Harvard psychologist and best-selling author of Stumbling on Happiness, talks with experts about the latest scientific understanding of our emotions and how we can find support for the issues we all face. Each episode weaves together scientific perspectives with the compelling personal stories of ordinary people, complemented by insight from celebrities like Chevy Chase, Larry David, Alanis Morissette, John Leguizamo, Katie Couric, and Richard Gere, among many others.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but only introductory January 7, 2010
I just saw this 6-hour presentation on PBS. It deals with emotions, happiness, and related neurobiology. The host is Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist who is very qualified for this role. The presentation presents interesting findings from studies during the past few decades, many of which may not be well-known to the general public and may therefore be eye-opening, so I can recommend it to people new to this topic.

However, for people already somewhat familiar with this topic, or who want to go into more depth, this presentation may feel somewhat superficial relative to its length, and so more in the "edutainment" category, though I did find some of the case studies to be very interesting, especially those dealing with married couples.

To go beyond this presentation, I highly recommend reading some of the excellent books on this topic, such as Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert himself, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt, and The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner (three of my favorites).

Also, Gilbert is doubtful about much of self-help literature, though he acknowledges that some of it is good and useful. In this regard, I highly recommend Self-Help Stuff That Works by Adam Khan.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent January 6, 2010
This was aired on Channel 13 (PBS) for the last three nights from 9 p.m. to 11:p.m. "This Emotional Life" is extremely educational in all areas. From babies to the elderly. Depression, happiness, anger and helplessness in all ages. I am a 66 yr. old female, a mother, grandmother and friend to many. I would recommend this highly.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece! January 8, 2010
I cannot express how insightful watching this was for me, very thought provoking. If I could afford it I would buy this DVD for every person I know. This DVD makes me happy because I know the knowledge it shares will change my life for the better from here on out, it gives you such an amazing new way to look at everything. Totally Amazing!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This is a well done documentary on the current thinking on emotional health. It covers the process of a child's emotional development in connection with parents, as well as the many types of pathologies that can develop from poor childhood experiences (including with parents), possible genetic vulnerabilities, traumas in childhood or adulthood such as war and issues with relationships with spouses and others.

I would recommend it to anyone, whether diagnosed with an emotional problem or not, as a great summary on these issues. If you have been diagnosed with an emotional problem, or if you have difficulty in relationships (who doesn't? :), you may find it especially helpful.

My only reservation about this DVD is that it represents current thinking on these issues (perhaps as it appears to a middle-aged male psychologist?) and does not quite get at some issues that were lurking in the background. As other reviewers have noted, the contexts of depth psychology (long-term psychotherapy getting at locating long buried-in-subconscious wounds, bringing their emotional content to the surface and resolving them), family systems issues, and broader "sickness" in the political-social-economic environment did not receive focus. These include:

1. Overfocus on mothering. There was some attention paid to fathers, such as the lawyer who had the son with attachment disorder. His statement that "My son's disease has meant I could not be the father I wanted to be. Instead this has been about meeting my son's needs. But maybe that is what a father is, really?" This was a great moment for showing how important healthier fathering is and how many men (and women) have a view that their authority is what is important rather than the child's needs.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopeful September 30, 2010
By Ann
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
My AP Psychology students have learned to begin multi-tasking when I announce I'll be showing a film. They'd be happy with the likes of Shutter Island or Girl Interrupted, but I show the educational ones. So they began their usual behavior of pulling out papers when I announced one day that we were viewing a film. However, within the first five minutes of This Emotional Life, all of them had abandoned the tasks and shifted their bodies in their desks to be able to get the best view. They remained in the same position for the 75 minutes left in the period. In other words, they were mesmerized.

I love the way each seemingly hopeless situation is followed by a description of a treatment that does offer hope. Watching this film is an emotional experience.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars loved it, but.... January 13, 2010
i loved this series....such interesting facts... but i think its only an introduction for all of the themes & cases presented.... i wish it was at least 12 hours of content , but that it explained in a more detailed way every case, theory, study etc...!....i still wanted more ansewers....more insight on the cases...more more more....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating . . . July 10, 2011
I thought "This Emotional Life" was informative, creative, thoughtful, and interesting. We are given a special look into several people's relationships, how they deal with pain, frustration, loneliness, bullying, grief. I took a drama class in college. The professor taught that emotions are our primary source of entertainment. We are fascinated and interested in emotions -- those of others and those of our own -- because our well-being depends on how well we understand and navigate the emotional mine field!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I treasure this film, will watch it over and over again, I also look forward to sharing
it with friends. I learned a geat deal by watching it. Thank you, Daniel Gilbert.
Published 5 days ago by Nancy Wiggen
4.0 out of 5 stars clear discussion of the power of emotions
an excellent exploration of the impact of emotions on behavior as well as an intelligent definition of the impact of disorders that limit or even eliminate emotion responses in... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Ralph's mother
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not an easy life..
Slow moving film. Could have easily accomplished the point & story in an hour or less. Some Interesting issues within the Indian society & culture.
Published 9 days ago by ann
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Educational
This was a very eye opening program. I watched all six hours straight through. You'll learn a lot about yourself as well as others and why we do things we do, the way we do them... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Dolphinblu
1.0 out of 5 stars Not so sure
I couldn't get it going, did not catch my attention like the movies I love do. I gave up. May try again another time.
Published 15 days ago by Lisa Huffman
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting documentary about a complicated subject
Emotions are difficult to direct and even more difficult to describe. This documentary I feel does a very good job of exploring the motivations behind our emotions. Read more
Published 17 days ago by AJ Roy
5.0 out of 5 stars Good insight into emotions
The movie was well done and coverage of the subject was thorough. It gave a perspective that I didn't have.
Published 22 days ago by Kathy S. Retz
4.0 out of 5 stars Great information
It was a nice overview of human emotions and social connections. I like neuroscience, so the information regarding the brain and depression was really interesting.
Published 28 days ago by PE Teacher
3.0 out of 5 stars Some parts compelling, some drag on
So far I like it, drags a bit in some places but good information. I'll continue to watch it for awhile.
Published 1 month ago by Joseph Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good docu
Love documentaries. This is one of the good documentaries trying to educate folks about living happily. Material possession does not give u happiness.
Published 1 month ago by -Srini
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