I am man. I watch movie. I am man who cry at movie.
The world of film holds many secrets and surprises, but none are kept closer to our hearts than those that make us cry (as in, we don’t want anyone to know we bawled like a girl). But just as any work of art can inspire emotion, film may be the most effective. Moving pictures, swelling scores, and incredible acting can make any grown man cry. Here are six films that ruined me in some regard.
The Lion King, 1994
Let’s put the most obvious one out there. Disney’s The Lion King is a childhood wrecker and nostalgia beater-upper that continues to make anyone with a soul lose a little bit of it during every viewing. The death of Mufasa is perhaps one of the most emotional moments of my growing up at the movies and it still makes me misty eyed. It’s one of those moments where no matter how many times you watch the film, you continually pray that by any possible miracle, the great King of the Jungle is not betrayed by his brother and he continues to reign over Pride Rock alongside his cub, Simba. F**k, that alternate storyline even hurts the feels.
Any Movie Where the Dog Dies, 1900-???
I can watch people decapitate each other with swords and guns, with guts spilling out on the floor in pools of blood, but for some reason, any violence towards a dog of any kind gets me emotional more than anything else. Hell, I don’t even have a dog, but seeing an innocent little puppy die in any fashion should be one of the very few things to be banned from cinema.
This also includes dogs that die from other causes- be it old age, car accidents, or any other evil God decides to bring upon the canine world.
United 93, 2006
Some films are so realistic and suspenseful, that your body’s only way to emote is with tears. United 93 is one of those films. Directed by Paul Greengrass, the shaky camera work, use of unrecognizable actors, and a single setting, United 93 relives one of our country’s darkest days. The power behind the film is that you truly believe that the passengers on the hijacked plane will fight the bad guys and win. Unfortunately, that is not the case, as we all know, and the suspense of the terror that unfolded thousands of feet above us is overwhelming.
Oh the power of animation. In 2009, Pixar released their most mature film to date with Up. Telling the story of a widower who goes on a journey to fulfill the dreams he shared with his dead wife, Up is a heartwarming adventure with talking dogs, flying houses, and Kevin. Yet, the most emotional scene of the film is before said adventure. As we see Carl and Ellie grow old together, we witness a montage of events that hit you like a train of Man-Up and Grab-a-Tissue. Who knew we would feel this depressed from a Pixar flick?
Grave of the Fireflies, 1988
Continuing with the animated world, Grave of the Fireflies is one of the bravest, unnerving, unexpected movies I have ever seen, animated or live-action. It tells the story of two kids surviving in Japan during World War II, after the US dropped the atomic bombs, and their fight to find their family, shelter, food, and safety. It’s a surprisingly beautiful film, given its subject matter, but when the shiny surface erodes away, the emotional core will tear you apart. The studio behind the film, Studio Ghibli, most known for their gorgeous adventures and giant fluffy neighbors, delivers its
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, 2008
When a movie you watch haunts you for days after viewing it, we can call that effective emotional storytelling. When a movie you watch haunts you for years after viewing it, we can call that Dear Zachary. It’s hard to go in depth about the documentary without giving away too much, but it is an unflinching, absolutely terrifying tale of a friend, father, and son, and the psychopathic woman who killed him. I am not afraid to admit that Dear Zachary ruined me, and the days after watching the film were muted compared to what I had lived before. It’s a story too hard to believe and once the truth settles in, the only way to react is to cry.
As depressing as the film may be, I still have to recommend it. But watch it before the weekend, so you have a couple of days to recover. You will need it.
Films that Missed the Cut:
Life is Beautiful, 1997
Schindler’s List, 1993
Simon Birch, 1998
My Girl, 1991
About Time, 2013
Brokeback Mountain, 2005
What films make you cry? Share them in the comment section below.