Movies || Moments to Cry For

Some say that crying is good for your health: it releases stress, lowers blood pressure, and removes toxins. Others say crying is good for the soul, and there is no better way to tap into your emotions without having to explain your emotional outburst than to indulge in a film that tweaks your heart strings.

Apparently, when a woman falls pregnant and gives birth, the brain restructures itself to make a mother more empathetic to others' perspectives and emotions. If I was a sobbing idiot when watching the most heart-wrenching films before, now I'm the same at mere heartfelt moments. Like at the end of 'The Secret Life of Pets' when all the pets had happy owners arriving home and I couldn't help thinking about all the pets that had no one to care for them...

All this aside, these are the films - in no particular order - that I will always turn to to release some emotional tension. Looking at the list now, most of them are about losing loved ones in some way or suffering animals. Pretty telling about what most bothers me emotionally...

What Dreams May Come

All about loss, this movie throws you from one emotional extreme to the other. The scenes make you feel full of wonder and appreciative of beauty. They are imaginitive and colourful and make you feel euphoric. But you are thrown into depths of sadness as Chris struggles to rescue his wife from a Hell that she has created. We are faced with the loss of a loved one and the impossibility of bringing them back to your reality.

Lady and the Tramp

The part in this film that pulls my heartstrings is when Lady is sent to the pound and treated to the howling of desperate, unadopted stray dogs careening in sadness. When that tear rolls down one of the dogs' snouts, it's over for me.


Another musical number: Dumbo is taken away from his mother and has the chance to visit her. She is locked up in a train carriage, chained to either side of the interior and can only touch him if she reaches through the window with her trunk. She rocks Dumbo with her trunk, tears sliding down Dumbo's face as we are treated to a montage of other animals sleeping peacefully with their own babies. I have to remove myself from the room if I don't want to end up in tears.

The Notebook

In this film, we are treated to an epic West Side Story-type love story with perhaps one of the most passionate kissing-in-the-rain scenes ever. At the end of the film, Rachel McAdams' character suffers from Alzheimer's and cannot even remember the man she loved so much, only having short moments of lucidity. I watched this before my father's death from the disease and blubbered and I believe if I had to watch it now, I would be a mess for days.

The Fault in Our Stars

If you've watched this film, you'll know it's about young, first love, illness, and death. This film makes me cry every time as lives and love are cut short because illnesses that could not be prevented.

If you want a breakdown of them all, visit The Daily Beast. The gas station scene is a killer.

Watership Down

Again the plight of innocent animals haunts my dreams. The Sandleford warren is warned about its impending doom by Fiver, a seer, but the chief rabbit does not believe him. He and his brother, Hazel, leave with a small band of friends. They experience several hardships until finding Watership Down. The parts that send me to tears are when Hazel dies and is collected by El-ahrairah: it's such a perfect ending for all the pain and terror this little bunny faced. Oh, and don't even get me started on Fiver's apocalyptic vision of the bloody and gruesome death of the rabbits of Sandleford. But those are tears of childish terror.

Still Alice

I haven't watched this since my father passed away - I am too afraid to do so - but it's about a highly-respected linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. We follow Alice through her most terrible moments, one of them being her frustration after finding an earlier video of herself giving instructions on how to commit suicide but being unable to remember the steps to complete the task. Then again, this scene is also terrible:

The Bridges of Madison County

The moment Francesca is forced to choose between her life with her husband and a life with an unexpected true love is heartrending.


Pete, a daredevil firefighter, dies in a plane accident, returning six months later to mentor a new pilot. However, the new pilot is falling in love with Pete's girl, Dorinda, and she responds. He tries to sabotage the relationship, inspiring Ted to attempt a dangerous rescue. Dorinda refuses to lose another love and does the job herself. Pete helps her, using the time to tell her everything he should have told her when he was alive. Dorinda lands on the water and seems willing to sink into the lake but Pete appears to her, rescues her, and lets her go.

The Land Before Time

Little Foot's mother dies. Is there anything else you can say?

Honourable Mentions:

The Iron Giant - the robot sacrifices himself for his friends, choosing to be a hero.
The Fox and the Hound - the loss of a friendship simply because of different paths is sad.
Small Apartments - This might be a weird movie, but get through it, because an unexpected death will make you feel like forgiving everyone. You will also question the smallness of your life, want to aspire to be happy (because only you can choose to be so), and really live.
My Girl - The funeral scene. Need I say more.
Life of Pi - when the tiger seemingly abandons Pi on the beach and runs into the forest, I bawl. If you want to believe it's all a metaphor and the tiger wasn't real, fine. But my tears are real.
Meet Joe Black - At the end, when William Parish walks over the hill with Death and only the young man from the coffee shop returns - man, it kills me.

Do you have any movie moments that will make you tear up every time?

{Lead image credits: The Fault in Our Stars poster: Facebook/FaultinOurStarsMovie; The Land Before Time: Facebook/LandBeforeTimeMovies; Still Alice: Facebook/StillAliceMovie; The Lady and the Tramp: Facebook/DisneyLadyandtheTramp}


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