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Sometimes you just need a good cry! DO NOT WATCH THESE MOVIES WITHOUT A FULL BOX OF TISSUES AT THE READY.
Warning: there are spoilers and major blubbering ahead.
1. The Fault In Our Stars
Written by: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Directed by: Josh Boone
Terminally ill cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) falls in love with charming cancer survivor Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort).
When you’ll start crying: Augustus learns that his cancer has returned, he asks Hazel and his friend Isaac (Nat Wolff) to write and perform their eulogies for him. Heartbreak ensues.
2. The Normal Heart
Written by: Larry Kramer
Directed by: Ryan Murphy
As gay men are dying from a new disease that will come to be known as AIDS, Dr. Emma Brookner (Julia Roberts) and activist Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo) organize action to fight against it.
When you’ll start crying: People begin dying early on, so at any point, you’ll be blubbering like a baby. Especially when Bruce sends his dying lover on a plane home.
3. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
Written by: Stephen P. Lindsey
Directed by: Lasse Hallström
Hachi spends the next 10 years loyally waiting for Parker to return. The film shows an imagined reunion between the two, then cuts back to Hachi, lying dead in the snow.
When you’ll start crying: Any film that depicts an animal dying, will reduce even the burliest of men to tears. Parker dies suddenly of a heart attack, and Hachi continues to wait for him in the snow until Parker’s son-in-law Michael finally takes him home. Hachi spends the next 10 years loyally waiting for Parker to return. The film shows an imagined reunion between the two, then cuts back to Hachi, lying dead in the snow.
4. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Written by: Kurt Kuenne
Directed by: Kurt Kuenne
This documentary follows the murder of Andrew Bagby, a close friend of the filmmaker, and the custody battle over Andrew’s son Zachary between Andrew’s parents and Shirley Turner, the boy’s mother and Andrew’s alleged killer.
When you’ll start crying: There really are too many moments of injustice and real horror throughout the film that it’s hard to know when you’ll be crying. But the recollections of the kind of man Andrew was are enough to start you off.
5. Toy Story 3
Written by: Michael Arndt
Directed by: Lee Unkrich
Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the other toys end up accidentally donated to a daycare center, where they’re forced to escape.
When you’ll start crying: The toys get stuck on a conveyor belt leading to an incinerator. They join hands, accepting their fate and preparing for the end.
6. P.S. I Love You
Written by: Richard LaGravenese and Steven Rogers
Directed by: Richard LaGravenese
A widow named Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank) receives messages that her late husband Gerry (Gerard Butler) arranged to have sent to her after his death.
When you’ll start crying: As soon as Gerry dies, probably. Or when his first message arrives on Holly’s 30th birthday. And then again and again and again…
7. Million Dollar Baby
Written by: Paul Haggis
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
A no-nonsense boxing trainer named Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) trains upstart Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank).
When you’ll start crying: During a fight, a sucker punch sends Maggie into the corner stool. She breaks her neck and is left permanently paralyzed.
8. Hotel Rwanda
Written by: Keir Pearson and Terry George
Directed by: Terry George
Hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) turns his hotel into a safe haven for refugees when war erupts between the Hutu and Tutsi peoples in Rwanda.
When you’ll start crying: Paul and his family watch in horror as his neighbors are killed in brutal acts of ethnic violence. But that’s not the only scene that will make you tear up.
9. Finding Neverland
Written by: David Magee
Directed by: Marc Forster
Playwright J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) forms a friendship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her sons, who inspire him to write Peter Pan.
When you’ll start crying: Sylvia is too sick to attend the premiere of Peter Pan, Barrie has a version of it performed in her home.
10. The Notebook
Written by: Jeremy Leven
Directed by: Nick Cassavetes
At a nursing home, Duke (James Garner) tells a fellow patient (Gena Rowlands) the story of Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams), two star-crossed lovers in the 1940s.
When you’ll start crying: The young folks are sweet, but the real emotional punch comes in the present, when Rowlands’ character realizes she is Allie in a moment of lucidity, and panics that she will eventually lose all memory of their love story.
11. Old Yeller
Written by: Fred Gipson and William Tunberg
Directed by: Robert Stevenson
What it’s about: In 1860s Texas, a boy named Travis (Tommy Kirk) forges a bond with his pet dog, a Labrador retriever he names Old Yeller.
When you’ll start crying: Old Yeller is bitten by a wolf while defending his family. The dog survives the attack, but you know what’s coming…….
12. A Walk To Remember
Written by: Karen Janszen
Directed by: Adam Shankman
Popular high school kid Landon Carter (Shane West) falls for quiet, religious Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) despite their different backgrounds.
When you’ll start crying: Jamie, dying of leukemia, tells her father that she loves him. He explains, “If I’ve kept you too close, it’s because I wanted to keep you longer.”
13. My Dog Skip
Written by: Gail Gilchriest
Directed by: Jay Russell
A lonely boy named Willie (Frankie Muniz) learns to come out of his shell and build new friendships with the help of his dog Skip.
When you’ll start crying: Willie leaves to go to Oxford University and narrates Skip’s life after he’s gone, explaining that Skip slept in Willie’s old room until he died.
14. The Green Mile
Written by: Frank Darabont
Directed by: Frank Darabont
Death row inmate John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) reveals to prison guard Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) that he has healing powers and has been falsely accused.
When you’ll start crying: John shows Paul what really happened to the two young girls he was accused of killing. When Paul offers to set him free, John says that he is tired of all the pain in the world and ready to be free of it.
Written by: Jonathan Hensleigh and J. J. Abrams
Directed by: Michael Bay
NASA sends a team of deep-core drillers, led by Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), to stop a giant asteroid from colliding with Earth.
When you’ll start crying: Harry forces A.J. to leave and takes his place, telling him that he would be proud to have A.J. as a son, and we all die a little inside. Harry’s daughter Grace (Liv Tyler) watches from NASA headquarters.
Written by: Gigi Levangie, Jessie Nelson, Steven Rogers, Karen Leigh Hopkins, and Ron Bass
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Jackie Harrison (Susan Sarandon), a woman dying of terminal lymphoma, comes to terms with her children (Jena Malone and Liam Aiken) being raised by her husband’s girlfriend Isabel Kelly (Julia Roberts).
When you’ll start crying: Isabel tearfully confesses that her biggest fear is Anna reaching her wedding day and wishing her mother were there. Jackie, also crying, shares her fear that Anna won’t miss her at all.
17. Boys Don’t Cry
Written by: Kimberly Peirce and Andy Bienen
Directed by: Kimberly Peirce
Brandon Teena (Hilary Swank), a trans man, tries to keep his biological gender hidden from those around him, including his girlfriend Lana (Chloë Sevigny).
When you’ll start crying: Lana’s friends Tom and John violently beat and rape Brandon, and threaten him not to report the attack. It’s so horrifying you can’t help but cry.
18. Marley & Me
Written by: Scott Frank and Don Roos
Directed by: David Frankel
John (Owen Wilson) and Jenny Grogan (Jennifer Aniston) raise a difficult puppy named Marley to adulthood along with their kids.
When you’ll start crying: An aging Marley, suffering from arthritis and deafness reaches a point where surgery can no longer help him. He is euthanized with John at this side, and buried in front yard with the family gathered to pay their respects.
19. Dead Man Walking
Written by: Tim Robbins
Directed by: Tim Robbins
Nun Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon) forges a bond with convicted murderer Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn), who is due to be executed.
When you’ll start crying: Right before he is taken away, Poncelet confesses his crimes to Sister Helen, who has told him redemption is possible if he takes responsibility for his actions. During his execution, Poncelet appeals to his victims’ parents for forgiveness, saying he hopes his death brings them peace.
20. Schindler’s List
Written by: Steven Zaillian
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
German businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) saves the lives of Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.
When you’ll start crying: This is a Holocaust movie, so… I think we can all agree that tears happen when when Schindler realizes the little girl in the red coat he saw earlier has been killed and burned. It’s brutal, but so is the whole film.
21. My Girl
Written by: Laurice Elehwany
Directed by: Howard Zieff
In 1972, 11-year-old Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) feels distant from her widower father (Dan Aykroyd), and bonds with a boy named Thomas J (Macaulay Culkin).
When you’ll start crying: Thomas goes into the forest to retrieve Vada’s mood ring, but he’s stung by hornets and dies from his allergy. During Thomas’ funeral, Vada breaks everyones’ hearts when she cries out that he’s not wearing his glasses.
Written by: Steven Zaillian
Directed by: Penny Marshall
Dr. Malcolm Sayer (Robin Williams) discovers that the L-Dopa drug has a dramatic effect on his catatonic patients, and he’s able to “wake up” Leonard Lowe (Robert De Niro).
When you’ll start crying: Leonard realizes that he’s reverting to his previous state. Wracked with pain, he urges Sayer to continue filming him so that the research can help future patients.
23. Dead Poets Society
Written by: Tom Schulman
Directed by: Peter Weir
English teacher John Keating (Robin Williams) brings his unconventional methods to stuffy Welton Academy.
When you’ll start crying: After his father demands he withdraw from the school play and enter military school, troubled teen Neil commits suicide. Also, O captain! My captain! of course.
24. The Bridges of Madison County
Written by: Richard LaGravenese
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Unhappy housewife Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep) enjoys a brief affair with traveling photographer Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood).
When you’ll start crying: Robert asks Francesca to leave with him, but she ultimately decides to stay behind with her husband and children instead. Francesca gets one final chance and comes close to leaping from the front seat of her husband’s truck, but Robert finally drives away and Francesca collapses in tears, and we do too.
25. Sophie’s Choice
Written by: Alan J. Pakula
Directed by: Alan J. Pakula
In 1947 Brooklyn, Polish immigrant Sophie (Meryl Streep) bonds with a writer named Stingo (Peter MacNicol) and eventually recounts her traumatic experience at Auschwitz.
When you’ll start crying: Sophie’s explains the choice upon arrival at Auschwitz, she was forced to choose between saving her son or saving her daughter. Later, we find out she chooses her son over her daughter.
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