Do you remember that scene in The Holiday where Cameron Diaz is trying so hard to cry after she breaks up with her boyfriend, but she just can’t get any tears to come? Other than the obvious fact she only needed Jude Law to elicit those elusive tears (don’t we all), we are pretty sure if Diaz’s character had the foresight to watch one of these bad boys, she wouldn’t have needed to take that holiday.
Sad movies are not always on people’s go-to watch list, but sometimes, you really do just need a good cry. And a good movie, with strong characters that pull you into the plot, can have twists and turns that leave you reaching for the tissues. It can actually be cathartic and, weirdly enough, it might help ease some of your stress. Or it can make your eyes too puffy to go out in public the next day. It’s a toss up.
Here is the definitive list of the saddest movies that are sure to make you cry. Don’t worry, some of them do actually have a happy ending, but all of them will leave you wrecked at one point or another. So grab a box of Kleenex. And if you don’t cry, you have no soul. Just kidding. You probably just need a little Jude Law.
The Best of Me
Starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan, The Best of Me is about high school sweethearts and their on again-off again romance through the years. To tell you the truth, we did not see this one coming at all.
We started the movie off crying, and we thought surely it will let up. It did not. We cried in every single scene. We ended the movie with a snotty nose, puffy eyes, and a feeling of emptiness from a non-stop, two-hour crying jag. However, if we had only taken the time to note that it was an adaptation of a Nicolas Sparks book, we might have been better prepared.
Geoffrey Rush won an Oscar for his portrayal of real-life concert pianist David Helfgott, a musical genius who had a mental breakdown due to the constant mental and physical abuse from his father in the 1996 movie Shine. The film is beautiful and devastating and is well-renowned for bringing tears from even the most stoic of people.
Sophie’s Choice is another classic tear-jerker from 1982 that will leave you wrecked. Meryl Streep won a well-deserved Oscar for this heavy film about a concentration camp survivor named Sophie who was forced into a mother’s worst nightmare. It’s a hard one to watch, but Streep’s acting is heart-breaking, and if you need to cry, well, this should do the trick.
Oh come on. There isn’t a soul on the planet who didn’t cry during the first 15 minutes of Up. No spoilers here, but this animated film takes you on a fun and disarming adventure with a crotchety old man and Russell, the cutest little cartoon Boy Scout you ever did see. There will be tears at the end too, but they’re good tears. We promise.
The Fault In Our Stars
The Fault In Our Stars, based on the book of the same name by John Green, is the story of two young cancer patients — played to perfection by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort — who fall in love after meeting at a cancer support group. That’s probably all you need to know. Go watch the movie.
A Star is Born
Not only will you fall in love with both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper after watching A Star is Born, but you will probably find yourself singing ‘Shallows’ at the top of your lungs and then curling up in a little ball as you remember the film scene by scene and start crying all over again. It’s one of those films that sticks with you, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot shake it. But you don’t want to shake it because it is that good. It’s one of the most compelling remakes ever made, and perhaps even — dare we say it? — better than the original.
Marley and Me
Yes. We know. It’s a film about a dog. But if you have ever raised a pet of your own as part of your family, inevitably, that pet will age faster than you do, and the day will come when you have to do the unthinkable to this animal that you love like family. Marley and Me goes through all of that in less than two hours. Move over Where the Red Fern Grows, this one hits close to home.
Remember this coming-of-age story about a young hypochondriac and her best friend, who is allergic to bees? My Girl, starring Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin, looks innocent enough, but be warned — it will force you to feel all the feelings. All of them.
Well, the title should be a dead giveaway. A musical that was inspired by the classic French novel by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables weaves song and story about a man hiding from the law, who takes in a factory worker’s daughter. Anne Hathaway gives the performance of her life in a mere 15 minutes, but really the whole film wrestles with all of life’s biggest questions and woes: love, honesty, forgiveness, loyalty, justice, sacrifice, freedom, and perhaps saddest of all, the death of dreams.
This southern drama starring Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, and Shirley MacLaine is about the friendship that a group of women in a small southern town develop and how they cope when one of their most precious dies. Robert Harling wrote the play the movie is based on about his sister who died from Type 1 Diabetes. He named it Steel Magnolias, because the women he honors in his play are as delicate as the beautiful southern flowers, yet as strong as steel.
This one is not for the faint of heart. Precious is a haunting story of a 16-year-old girl in high school who is abused by her mother and raped by her father, resulting in two pregnancies. She finds escape from her horrific life through dreams where she is a star and adored by everyone. It is a gut-wrenching story and an important voice to hear, and it will take your heart, chew it up, and spit it back out by the time you are through.
The Boy In the Striped Pajamas
The Boy In the Striped Pajamas is the horrifying film about a pair of 8-year-old boys who form an unlikely friendship. One boy is the son of a Nazi commandant in charge of a death camp, and the other boy is an inmate on the other side of a barbed wire fence. It becomes apparent that neither boy understands the brutal reality of what the camp is. Movies about the Holocaust and war are always shattering, but add what it does to two innocent children, and the ending will leave you a sobbing mess on the floor.
The Lion King
One word: Mufasa.