If there’s one thing we’ve learned from watching Disney Pixar’s 2015 hit movie “Inside Out”, it’s that where there’s joy, there’s also sadness.
We cannot seem to get enough of melancholic movies that make us bawl our eyes out. Don’t worry, we’re not depressed, but rather, we believe that a good drama hits you right where it hurts.
Besides tearjerker classics such as “Steel Magnolias” (1989), “My Girl” (1991), and “Titanic” (1997), the 2000s and the 2010s boast scores of terrific cry-worthy films.
Although there’s no list that could ever contain the amount of movies that can make you “ugly cry”, we’ve compiled a list of films that are powerful enough to choke you up:
(Warning: Spoilers ahead)
1. A Walk To Remember (2002) / The Notebook (2004)
Based on Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling novels, “A Walk To Remember” stars Mandy Moore as Jamie Sullivan, the minister’s religious daughter, and Shane West as Landon Carter, a popular boy at school while “The Notebook” stars Rachel McAdams as Allie Hamilton, a girl from a rich family, and Ryan Gosling as Noah Calhoun, a poor yet passionate young man.
Though both films are similar to each other (read: both lead boy and girl have different backgrounds), their sub-themes are what set them apart. For instance, the former explores religious topics whereas the latter touches on World War II.
2. A Litre Of Tears (2005)
Get ready to cry more than a litre of tears with possibly the saddest Japanese movie ever made, “A Litre Of Tears”. The film stars singer-actress Erika Sawajiri, who won “Best New Comer Award” for her role as Aya at the 43rd Golden Arrow Award.
The story follows Aya Kito, a high school girl who was diagnosed with a rare and incurable disease called spinocerebellar degeneration. The film is a true story based on Aya’s memoir, detailing her life and struggles after she found out she was ill.
Believe it or not, you’ll bawl like a baby from start to finish, even if you watch it without subtitles.
3. The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006)
Starring father and son duo Will and Jaden Smith, “The Pursuit Of Happyness” is another powerful based-on-a-true-story film that teaches you how to be grateful for the simplest things in life. Directed by Italian helmer Gabriele Muccino, the film features Will as Chris Gardner, a homeless salesman, and Jaden as Gardner’s son, Christopher Jr. The film sees Gardner losing his wife, desperately trying to feed his small son, landing an unpaid internship, and being homeless.
Tears will inevitably flow when you see Gardner rushing to his son’s daycare to tell him that he got a full-time position in his firm.
4. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
A dog is a man’s bestfriend. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would’ve probably heard of the famous tearjerking story of Hachiko, an Akita dog that was dubbed as “the world’s most loyal dog”.
College Professor Parker (played by Richard Gere) finds an adorable Akita puppy at the train station. He names the dog Hachi, which means number 8 in Japanese. Though Hachi is not as intelligent as other dogs, he is fiercely loyal. He waits for Parker every day when he gets off the train so that they can walk home together; he waits for Parker for hours in the snow when he doesn’t return one day (Parker suddenly died of a brain aneurysm at work); he waits for Parker for 10 years at the same place every day, till he dies.
If that doesn’t make you cry, we don’t know what will.
5. The Boy In The Stripped Pyjamas (2008)
What do you get when you combine a child’s mortality and the Jewish Holocaust in a film?
Starring Asa Butterfield and Jack Scanlon, “The Boy In The Stripped Pajamas” sees young Bruno’s family relocating near a concentration camp when his father, a Schutzstaffel officer, is given a “promotion”. The adventurous Bruno sneaks off and befriends a prisoner his age near the edge of the camp, where they play checkers through the barbed wire. Although the 2 boys become great friends, Bruno learns some hard truths about what his father does for a living, and why his new friend wears what he mistakenly assumes are pyjamas.
6. Up (2009)
If we were to pick one animation to be the saddest cartoon in the 2000s, it would be Disney Pixar’s “Up”.
At first, we thought that we were going to watch a cartoon about an old man who travels around the world in a balloon house with a young boy. But Pixar got the better of us. We should’ve known that their films are more than just good graphic work. Arguably the saddest opening in Disney film history, the first 10 minutes of “Up” shows the love of Carl and Ellie from when they were friends as kids, to Carl leaving Ellie’s funeral with a blue balloon in his hand.
Admit it, Carl and Ellie were your #RelationshipGoals back then too.
7. Blue Valentine (2010)
“How do you trust your feelings when they can just disappear like that?”
There’s no shortage of toxic relationships in Hollywood, but none is as devastating and genuine as the one seen in Ryan Gosling (yes, it’s another Gosling movie) and Michelle Williams’ critically-acclaimed indie film, “Blue Valentine”. Helmed by director Derek Cianfrance, the story explores the relationship between Dean Pereira, a high school dropout and Cindy Heller, a pre-med student. We won’t give away any spoilers, but let’s just say that “Blue Valentine” is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride.
8. Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013)
South Korean films are known to make you cry like a little girl, and Lee Hwan-Kyung’s tearful masterpiece “Miracle in Cell No. 7” is pure sentimental genius.
The films tells the story of little Ye Seung, played by Kal So Won, and her mentally impaired father Yong Goo, played by Ryoo Seung-Ryong, who is falsely accused of a murder and sent to prison. In prison, Yong Goo befriends 5 other inmates and after an unlikely incident, they decide to smuggle Ye Seung into Cell No. 7.
To be honest, we got so attached to the lovable father and daughter duo that we cried a lot when the 2 were forced to separate. Oh, we’re crying as we write this 🙁
9. The Journey (2014)
Known for being the highest grossing Malaysian film in 2014, “The Journey” is a must-watch for all Malaysians!
Director Chiu Keng Guan’s film explores the idea of culture, traditions, and family that is set against beautiful landscapes across the country. Starring Frankie Lee, Australian stage actor Ben Pfeiffer, and winner of Miss Astro Chinese International Pageant 2007 Joanne Yew, “The Journey” is a heartfelt story that will make you wanna hug your parents.
10. Me Before You (2016)
The list wouldn’t be complete without this year’s hit novel-turned-film, “Me Before You”, right?
Based on Jojo Moyes’ best-selling book, the film tells the love story of Emilia Clarke’s Louisa “Lou” Clark, a small-town woman struggling to find a job, and Sam Claflin’s Will Traynor, a quadriplegic. Though things between the 2 started off rocky, their dislike for one another eventually blossomed into sweet romance. But there’s one problem – Traynor is determined to go for euthanasia (a sort of mercy killing). Who would’ve thought that a film by Finnick Odair (“The Hunger Games”) and Daenerys Targaryen (“Game Of Thrones”) could given us so much feels?
Were there any tear-inducing movies that we’ve left out? Do you have a personal favourite that is not in the list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂