Tearjerker films: movies that will move you

Fancy a good crying session? One of our writers recommends seven films guaranteed to reduce you to tears

Marina Snyder
25th April 2024
Image Credit: Tom Pumford on Unsplash
There are times in our lives when sometimes we just need a good cry. As human beings, we have great compassion and room for feelings, sometimes so much that we don’t know what to do with it. Seeing as crying can often be a great emotional and stress release, it’s no surprise that often we enjoy, or rather need, to watch a sad film.   

And whether you’re feeling ill, have had a bad day, are going through a bad breakup, or simply, just going through it... I highly reccomend you buy some ice cream, curl up on the couch with a soft blanket and sob your heart out to a movie.  

Here are some great tear-jerking films we recommend.   

  1. About Time (2013)
Image Source: IMDB

About Time is a beautiful, masterpiece of a film. Though I wouldn’t necessarily class it as a ‘sad’ film, it is very emotional and cathartic; it reminds its audiences of the beauty of life and not to take it, or the people you love, for granted. The romantic comedy follows a man who possesses the ability to travel back in time, a power he attempts to use to win over the woman he’s in love with. With its blend of comedy, warmth, and emotional depth, About Time leaves viewers reflecting on the beauty inherent in life and relationships. 

  1. Beautiful Boy (2018)
Image Source: IMDB

If you’re in the mood to sob, and I mean SOB then this is the film for you. Beautiful Boy described in one word? Gut-wrenching. Don't get me wrong, it is an amazing film – the two main actors who play son and father, Timothee Chamalet and Steve Carell, deliver powerful performances, diving deep into their emotionally complex characters. As someone who is used to seeing Steve Carell play the goofy and, often, fun Michael Scott from the office, I was not prepared for such heart-breaking scenes. The film follows the true story of a father who tries to help his teenage son, who has a meth addiction. As you may be able to tell from the thesis of the plot; it’s a heavy film. Nonetheless, I recommend everyone see it at least once in their lives. It's undeniably heartbreaking and melancholic, but it's also a profoundly beautiful work of art.  

  1. Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
Image Source: IMDB

I don’t know who thought this film would be a good idea to make for kids, because even watching it back as an adult, it does not get less depressing.  

Bridge to Terabithia features a young Josh Hutcherson (AKA Peeta from The Hunger Games) and emphasizes the power of child-like imagination and friendship. With that said, it also deals with the idea of grief and loss. If you’re looking for the nostalgia of childhood, combined with devastation of a plot twist that will leave you inconsolable for a couple of hours...this is the one for you! 

  1. Aftersun (2022) 
Image Source: IMDB

Aftersun has a more subtle undertone of sadness, as it portrays the internal struggles of battling mental health. Its understated portrayal of depression emphasizes a fight between the character and the darkness within him. This film has a sense of authentic realness to it but is also captures it from a child’s perspective, creating an unsettling undertone throughout the film that you don’t quite understand until the end. Through its heartfelt storytelling, Aftersun captures the bittersweet essence of life's fleeting moments, leaving viewers with a sense of empathy for its characters and a reminder of the inherent sadness woven into the fabric of humanity.  

  1. The Impossible (2012)
Image Source: IMDB

Starring a young Tom Holland, The Impossible can be described as a gripping portrayal of chaos and intensity. Feelings of hope, panic and despair arise as you watch the events of a natural disaster unfold, and the consequences it has for a family. Based on a true story, the film highlights the resilience of the human spirit. While it will keep you on edge for most of the movie, it also explores displays of human endurance and unwavering family bonds.  

  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) 
Image Source: IMDB

A great one if you’re going through a breakup, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a classic narrative of heartache. This film encapsulates the sense of loneliness and desperation when you’ve lost someone you love/loved. Though slightly more of an eccentric abstract concept, the movie delivers a sense of catharsis through the way it delivers a shattering perspective of being in love with someone you can’t have.   

  1. My Girl (1991)
Image Source: IMDB

The haunting line “He can’t see without his glasses” will forever be engrained into your mind once you watch this film.  My Girl was one of the first films I ever watched to have made me cry, and there’s good reason for it too. The coming-of-age story includes themes of young romance, innocence, growth and tragedy; it highlights the bittersweetness of adolescence and growing up. That, alongside an element of loss, is what makes this film such a tear-jerker... I would recommend having tissues by my side if you’re thinking of watching it.   

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