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Top 10 Tearjerker Movies for a Good Cry

Tearjerker Movies

There is some serious adulting going around in my life right now, and sometimes, I find I just a need a good cry to get me through the day. I am of the opinion that if someone wants to cry, let them. Crying is cathartic, and these are my 10 go-to movies should you need an outlet for those pent-up emotions.

Spoiler Alert

#10: A Walk to Remember

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Image via US Weekly

This movie is one of those rare gems that actually did well in the transition from book to screen.  Having read the book first, I was hoping they wouldn’t ruin the source material of something I so loved with a lackluster attempt. The first time I watched this movie, I was in camp. It was raining so they had to find a way to entertain us since all outdoor activities were cancelled. So we were all shepherded into the hall to watch the movie.

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The chemistry between Shane West and Mandy Moore is so good in the movie, they made the love story very believable. I was 14 at the time, and crying at the injustice of her losing her life at such a young age. The part that hits me the most is when she tells him she’s dying, and Moore does it with such vulnerability and even a touch of anger. She says, “I don’t need a reason to be angry at God.” That gets me every time.

#9: The Fault in Our Stars

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Image via Rappler

This movie throws out the trope of one person dying and gives us two. Once again, I read the book before seeing the movie, and this one survives the transition as well. I think it’s a mixture of knowing what to take from the book and also the selection of the right cast. Shailene Woodley just knocks it out of the park. The scene where she does her eulogy for Gus, and talks about how grateful she is for their little infinity, is a part I go back to watch whenever I feel I need a good cry.

#8: Me Before You

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Image via The Guardian

There seems to be an emerging trend in my list, for this was a book as well, but this time, instead of life loss to forces beyond one’s control, we get a character choosing to take his own life, as a way to relieve his suffering. Emilia Clarke is such a revelation in this, since before this movie I was only aware of her role on Game of Thrones. She is infectiously optimistic, a bright, bubbly entry into Will’s life.

I was really angry with Will after the book and the movie, because I couldn’t understand how someone could willingly walk away from love. I suppose it’s the romantic in me speaking. It is definitely a divisive movie, but one capable of bringing on the waterworks nonetheless.

#7: Call Me by Your Name

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Image via Dazed

“Elio Elio Elio Elio …”

I know I have been discussing this movie quite a fair bit lately, but I can’t help myself; it is just that good. The obvious rolling in the deep moment is of course the one at the train station where they separate. Yes I was sad when Elio started crying and then called his mom to pick him up. However, for me, it is his conversation with his father that sets me going. So much of what he says is so right, especially our treatment of heartbreak and pain: “We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything ― what a waste.”

There are movies, and then there’s movies, films that make you think, feel, reevaluate your life … Call Me by Your Name is definitely the latter.

#6: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missori

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Image via The New Yorker

I was not expecting to like this movie as much as I did, or be so emotionally affected by it. This movie was watched mainly because it was an Oscar contender and well-reviewed, but ended up becoming one of my favourite movies.

The crying moments for me mostly revolved around Woody Harrelson’s character. He has a knack for choosing good movie projects to be a part of. If I think back to the past few years, with movies like Zombieland, The Hunger Games franchise, The Edge of Seventeen … he has definitely brought his career back into focus again.

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Image via IMDb

A lot depended on him selling his character, since we are meant to view him as the enemy initially, but then see that he is trying his best with a case that turned cold. That last day with his wife and children is so heart-wrenching to watch. I could see the writing on the wall, but that didn’t stop the tears from flowing when I heard the gun shot.

#5: My Girl

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Image via Bustle

If you ever need a reason to fall in love with your best friend, this movie gives it to you. It really is a quintessential growing up movie, with a protagonist possessing the most unique name I have ever heard. The theme of death surrounds the entire movie. We learn that Vada’s mother died while giving birth to her and her father operates a funeral service.

I know some people can’t get behind Vada’s precocious tendencies, but this was really something I connected with when I watched it as a child. I was often alone, and would often escape into the world of books to alleviate my loneliness. It is also the first movie that got me thinking about death and its defining moment in our lives.

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Image via Moviefone

Watching it now with adult eyes, Thomas J’s death is definitely foreshadowed in the movie, with Vada’s question to her dad about why a coffin is so small as a huge indicator. While death has followed Vada her whole life, this is the first time she comes to very close contact with it; losing her best friend is very different from losing a mom you never really got to know. I simply cannot hold back my tears during the funeral scene, hearing her scream about how he needs his glasses is so heartbreaking. I am happy that Vada gets a better ending in My Girl 2, but the part of me who was rooting for her and Thomas J to be together dies a little every time I watch the sequel.

#4: Armageddon

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Image via The Omega Sector BBS

The premise of Armageddon is the mitigation of the possible annihilation of human life; if that is unable to inspire tears, I don’t know what will. It is a double dose of sacrifice here. Not only does Bruce Willis’ character sacrifice himself so that mankind can live, he also does it so that his daughter wouldn’t lose the man whom she loves (even though the Ben Affleck character is a bit of an idiot in this film, and I was hoping she would wise up and dump him). That last conversation between father and daughter gets me every time.

#3: City of Angels

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Image via Decider

This movie is just a big ole cheese cake factory. It is so cheesy I find myself becoming lactose intolerant in the process of watching it. Yet, I have watched it many times. I don’t know, I guess I want to have my cake and eat it.

I mean, come on guys! He is an angel who gives up his wings, in order to be with the woman he loves. He trades immortality and never having to feel pain … for her. While watching this movie, I switch between cringing at some parts of Nicholas Cage’s acting, to crying like a baby at his reaction following her death. Even now as I compose this, I feel the impending tears as I recall his words: “I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss of her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it. One.”

#2: Train to Busan

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Image via Variety

I know it’s strange to include a zombie movie in this list, but honestly, Korean movies just know how to get the faucet running. Yes this movie is about the undead, however, it is also about relationships and redemption.

I cried when the father-to-be (Dong-seok Ma’s character), who is the best character in the film in my opinion, sacrificed himself to protect his wife and unborn child. The epic slow-mo death of the main character, also built on sacrifice, is a point of redemption for him. I like that the movie wants to push the best sides of humanity forward, instead of man’s tendency to egoism and self-preservation.

#1: Wonder Woman

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Image via IMDb

This movie might seem like a strange choice, but its tearjerker qualities should not be underestimated. I teared up both times I watched it, as well as multiple times into the movie. I cried when she walked through No Man’s Land, I too shed tears with her when she realized the horrible things man is capable of.

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The greatest water trip of the entire movie is Steve’s death. The way it is filmed just catalyses that strong feeling of sadness. We see the last moment they share twice. The first time her hearing is temporarily impaired so she cannot hear what he says. When we do hear him, we also hear the backdrop of violence, the explosions and the chaos. Chris Pine delivers this so well, a mixture of resignation yet determination. He knows what he has to do but that sacrifice will take him away from her. “I wish we had more time,” he says before he runs off, leaving his watch with her. I am a sucker for symbolism, even if this is a bit on the nose.


Thanks for reading!  Do you have any movies you would add to the list?  Comment down below!

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Natasha Alvar

Natasha is an English Literature major from Nanyang Technological University. She is currently an English Literature teacher in a school in Singapore. She has loved writing all her life and experiments in all genres, though she is particularly fond of Drama. So far, she has written and staged 13 plays with the school's Drama Club. The club's performance of her play "Carbon Copy" won the Certificate of Accomplishment (silver award) at the Singapore Youth Festival in 2016. She hopes to inspire her students to love Literature and Theatre just as much as she does.

30 Responses

  1. 13mesh says:

    Stepmom always gets me! I agree on Walk To Remember, but Wonder Woman… lol

    • Oh yes! Stepmom is a good choice. Love Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon! Haha, I cried every single time I watched it, so it wasn’t an isolated incident. I think some part of me knew that Steve was going to die, so when I watched them being intimate and falling in love with each other, I felt really sad about the impending loss that was to come.

      A Walk to Remember is such a good movie. So many years have passed yet I can still watch it and be utterly compelled by every moment.

  2. Oh my gosh, I cried just reading about the funeral scene in My Girl, that’s how rough that one is. Good choices.

    It may be cheating to choose a documentary, but there’s a spot in Michael Jackson’s This Is It that makes me cry every time, even if I can make it through the rest of it (I can’t always). It’s when the dancers find out they’ve been chosen for the tour. Their reactions bring on the waterworks. And that’s not even “sad,” it’s just so touching (well… it’s sad if you think about the fact that said tour never happened).

    • I think I have watched bits and pieces of that documentary, usually its playing in the background on cable while I am doing something. That sounds pretty intense, maybe I will try to power through it one of these days. Yeah, My Girl really brings on the waterworks for me, and I watched it when I was really young, so it sticks in a different way you know?

    • natloveslit says:

      HAHA! I was wondering why I had a sudden influx of comments. 🤣

  3. Peachy says:

    Have you read the book of Call Me By Your Name? I made sure to read it just before the movie came out…. and I didn’t expect it. Since then, Andre Aciman will always be one of my highly-esteemed authors. A modern classic author. I’m so glad the movie met my high expectations anyway – I’m just so impressed with Timothee!

    • I am on page 150 of the book! The writing is very beautiful and sensual. I should have read it before watching but I just couldn’t help myself. Timothee does a fantastic job, especially when considering the source material. He does a lot of micro expressions that help us in understanding what Elio is feeling or thinking. In the book Elio is the narrator, so he can just tell us; its harder to depict visually. I am definitely looking forward to see where else his career takes him.

    • Peachy says:

      Yes, me too. I’m definitely going to watch his career’s progression! 😊😊😊 and yes, all of Andre Aciman’s writings have that unique sensual quality!

  4. Marley and Me.

  5. That’s a great list! I haven’t seen some of them. I would also suggest The Family Stone, if you are into those awkward family holiday movies. It’s a great ensemble cast. I normally don’t like Sarah Jessica Parker much, but she’s good in this one. It’s a bit dated because of the topics they bring up, but it’s a good one. Also, Old Yeller and A Dog’s Purpose are not to be overlooked. The latter is a lot happier though, in my opinion. At least he comes back every time to find his purpose. It’s also a book. I like The Secret Life of Bees, if you’re into a good old historical fiction one. Also, Gattaca made me cry. It’s sci-fi.

    • Marley and Me is definitely a tearjerker. I have seen The Family Stone, I kind of liked it but wasn’t inspired to tears haha. OMG Extreme YES to Gattaca! The ending when he gets to fulfil his dream and the swim with his brother. Great movie!

  6. Interesting that you included Wonder Woman. I would not have thought of that, but it made me cry. How about Toy Story 3? Seriously, more than one time tears went down my cheeks. When the toys hold hands and when he’s saying goodbye to his toys. Boy. As a mom who has launched four kids, that gets me every time. (Side note: I cry easily in movies, but I think my husband is worse than me. I love that.)

    • Toy Story 3 definitely has those moments. I don’t think I cried? I think in part because I kind of knew they would be saved in the end and that wouldn’t be the ending. I love that your husband is a crier, those are the best. My boyfriend is sensitive as well and I love it 🙂

  7. I don’t think I cried at any of these movies, lol, but I haven’t seen like 4 of them.

    Inside Out made me cry.

  8. Rachel says:

    For me it would be The Book of Henry, when Henry is in the hospital with his brother and mother.

  9. M.R. Miller says:

    “It’s a Wonderful Life.” When the townspeople start bringing in their money to save George at the end, I sob like a little girl. Every. Single. Time.
    And while this definitely isn’t a love story, the end of “Man on Fire” always makes me cry. When Denzel Washington meets Dakota Fanning on the bridge right before he walks to his death, I just start bawling.
    Good list — some of these I haven’t seen yet so will have to check them out.

  10. Lance Heard says:

    Terms of Endearment!

  11. Nick Kush says:

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