Whether you sniff silently or bawl like a baby, few can claim to never have been moved to tears by a movie.
Maybe it was Tim Robbins’ and Morgan Freeman’s bromance in The Shawshank Redemption or Mufasa’s death in The Lion King that got to you; perhaps it was E.T.’s farewell scene in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, or the selfless heroism of the Rohirrim riding to their deaths in The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King.
Whichever your own personal tearjerker may be, you can bet almost everyone has succumbed to the “dust in the eye” at some point.
This week sees the release of yet another film to add to that list: The Fault In Our Stars, starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as a pair of cancer-struck teens who manage to find love and laughter amidst their grim realities … almost guaranteed to leave a trail of tears and crumpled tissues in its wake.
Star2 raises its tissue boxes to the 10 movies that managed to reduce its writers to sobbing messes.
I cried for three days straight after learning the fate of Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Titanic … and that was just after hearing the story from my classmate who had watched the movie.
So, when I finally had the chance to watch Titanic myself, it was a major sobfest and I ended up hating life, cruise ships and Kate Winslet for not sharing the wooden plank with Leo.
Oh well, I find solace in the fact that Jack is somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean and like Rose, “I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go”. – Sharmila Nair
Star Watching Dog (2011)
A middle-aged divorcee (Toshiyuki Nishida) embarks on a journey across Japan with his dog Happy. Along the way, they have to overcome health issues and financial difficulties.
Narrated from Happy’s point of view, he refers to his only companion as “Dad”. I cried at the scene when a sorrowful Dad has to leave Happy behind with a more reliable owner.
I cried again when Happy whimpers for Dad to take him along. Then the waterworks continued when Dad is too sick to continue playing with Happy. Then, I cried my ugliest at the scene where Happy urge Dad to wake up from his eternal slumber. – Angelin Yeoh
About Time (2013)
About Time is the most underrated movie of 2013. It was marketed (if at all) as a witty rom com that saw the gangly, socially-awkward redhead, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) trying to woo the woman of his dreams, the gorgeous (and way out of his league) Mary (Rachel McAdams) by using his time-travelling abilities to his advantage.
But midway through, the focus shifts to Tim’s father (Bill Nighy) who is dying of cancer but tries to extend his life by time-travelling back over and over again (yes, he, too, can time travel).
The film shifts its fulcrum here, turning into a heartwarming father-son tale and a powerful, refreshing take on the trite notion of treasuring one’s time. So dad decides to time travel one last time before he kicks the bucket.
I cried when he took Tim back to a beautiful summer day where father and son frolicked on the beach. – Kenneth Chaw
Elephant Man (1980)
I was about nine when I first saw this black-and-white David Lynch classic based on the tragic life of Joseph Merrick (John Hurt), a severely deformed man in 19th century London.
It was the first time a movie actually made me depressed. I couldn’t get the story of Merrick out of my head – he was an object of ridicule as a child, his mother died when he was very young, he became a freak exhibit in a sideshow where he was dubbed “The Elephant Man”, he was abused by the owner of the sideshow …. and the list just goes on and let me tell you, it doesn’t end well.
At the time, my biggest misfortune was that my parents didn’t let me eat junk food; I couldn’t fathom the cruelty Merrick faced all his life. Life sucks that way. Excuse me while I go for a cry. – S. Indramalar
In my, ahem, “older age”, I cry at every other non-Michael Bay movie but Up was the one film I didn’t think would make me bawl. Oops. – Melody L. Goh
My Girl (1991)
People tend to assume that movies about children are for children, which is how, as an eight-year-old, I watched My Girl, a movie about death, depression, loneliness, and, oh let’s see, more death.
The main character, 11-year-old Vada (Anna Chlumsky), lives with a distant father and Alzheimer’s-struck grandmother in a funeral parlour, ever since her mother died at childbirth; her only friend is the allergy-prone Thomas J. (Macaulay Culkin).
It’s supposedly a “coming-of-age” movie, but for me, after that first viewing, it’s always been the “coming-of-tears” one – you know, where you start crying right from the beginning because you know what’s coming.
And what’s coming, you ask? Vada sobbing hysterically at Thomas J.’s funeral, after he’s stung to death by bees while trying to find a ring she lost in the woods.
Yep, perfect for an eight-year-old, if you want to ensure she’s a blubbering mess every single time she ever watches that movie again. – Sharmilla Ganesan
Four-year-old Ponette loses her mother in a car crash. She tells her friends her mother is dead, but doesn’t seem to understand the finality of death. Through the film, the little girl waits patiently and solemnly for her mother, but the weariness shows when Maman does not appear.
It is heartbreaking to watch. I never thought I would be so moved by a child, but the superlative performance by Victoire Thivisol (later, Anouk Rocher in Chocolat) just did me in. – Jane F. Ragavan
Haathi Mere Saathi (1971)
This old Bollywood film left me in such a mess that I never revisited it again. However, the story is forever etched in my mind.
A 1971 film starring Rajesh Khanna, it tells the story of his character and the strong bond he forms with his four elephants. It’s all fun and games between man and his giant friends, until the man falls in love, and the woman gives him an ultimatum – her or the elephants.
Naturally, a lot of heartache moments go on in the middle of the film as the guy is unable to let go of his besties. So much so, the elephants decide for him and leave him so he can lead a normal life.
All those tears Rajesh Khanna cried, it was double on my side watching the sacrifices animals are willing to make for humans.
Good thing Bollywood films have to have a happy ending. Phew! – Mumtaj Begum
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Here’s an unlikely couple: a nun agrees to become the spiritual adviser for a prisoner awaiting his death sentence.
Crying for a man who killed two teenagers? Yes, Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) is guilty of the crime, but this is not a story of good vs evil. What got the tear duct working overtime is his relationship with Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon).
A compelling drama that touches on religion, forgiveness and redemption, both Penn and Sarandon (who won an Oscar for this role) gave heartfelt performances that left me a complete wreck by the end of the movie. – Gordon Kho
We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)
Directed by Lynne Ramsay, We Need To Talk About Kevin is described as a psychological thriller. But as a parent, I found it heartwrenching more than anything else to watch as Eva’s sense of self, her joy for travel and writing, her belief in love, family and community all slowly but surely eroding till that final moment when her psychopathic son Kevin (Ezra Miller) does the unthinkable.
The movie isn’t told in chronological order, and this kind of messes with your mind – giving you a vague idea of what Eva, overwrought in despair and frustration, is feeling. John C. Reilly (who plays husband Franklin) gives masterful support to his very efficient leading lady in the film, and this makes the entire effort a force to be reckoned with.
In no way is this an easy watch, it will bring you to your knees, praying that this sort of thing never happens to you. Eva’s was a sad existence, fuelled by her own son’s cruelty and insanity. But how the mother/woman in her trudges on, made me cry. Buckets.
It wasn’t my everyday sort of bawling. These tears were laced with a terror that life can be full of things that are way beyond our control. And how we choose to deal with them, changes everything, and not necessarily in a good inspiring way. – Ann Marie Chandy