The ultimate sad movies for when you just want a good cry
Lion, 2016 Who: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara What: When Saroo, a 5-year-old Indian boy, gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, he is adopted by an Australian couple. 25 years later, he returns home in an attempt to reunite with his lost family. Weepy Rating: There won’t be a dry eye in the house.
Room, 2015 Who: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay What: A mother and son enter the outside world after years of being held captive in one room. Weepy Rating: Jake’s transition from living within four walls to the vastness of the outside world is moving, heart breaking and very weepy indeed. Tissues at the ready, people.
The Help, 2011 Who:Emma Stone, Viola Davis What: A Southern society girl decides to write a novel about the lives and struggles of African American maids during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Weepy Rating: 10/10. Touching and heartbreaking all in one.
Call Me By Your Name, 2017 Who: Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet What: Set in the high heat of an early 1980s Italian summer, Elio has quite the awakening when Oliver, a handsome as hell American student, interns for his father. As their rooms back onto each other, a series of intense love scenes ensue in a real coming of age tale. Weepy Rating: Just make sure you watch until the end of the credits for one gut-wrenching cry.
Grave of the Fireflies Who: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi What:Grave of the Fireflies is a devastating reflection on the cost of war on human life in Japan. The animated tale, follows
a teenager who is left to care for his younger sister after they’re separated from their parents following an American firebombing during World War II. They fight to stay alive and together but face endless struggles. Weepy rating: Prepare to weep from start to finish as this story is heartbreaking throughout. Especially at the end…
A Dog’s Purpose, 2017 Who:Britt Robertson, KJ Apa, Juliet Rylance, John Ortiz, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Peggy Lipton, Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad. What: An adorable and loyal dog discovers the meaning of his existence through the humans that it teaches to laugh and love. Weepy rating: You will laugh, you will cry but by the end there will not be a dry eye in the house.
A Monster Calls, 2017 Who:Felicity Jones, Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson (voice) What: Based on Patrick Ness’s awesome illustrated book, Conor (MacDougall) is floored by his mother’s (Jones) terminal cancer diagnosis and summons up a ‘monster’ (Neeson) to help him process his grief. Weepy rating: The death of your closest relative played out in heart-aching detail.
Dunkirk, 2017 Who:Harry Styles, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy What: Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk sees a key moment in WWII brought to life as it portrays the events of May 1940. It follows Tom Hardy as an ace fighter pilot, Mark Rylance as a small boat owner who crosses the Channel to help with the rescue, and Kenneth Branagh who plays the Royal Navy Commander overseeing the evacuation. And then there’s Harry as a British soldier doing anything to survive. Weepy rating: While this isn’t a film with much dialogue, the heavy death toll and heartbreaking war scenes will no doubt leave you in floods of tears.
Moonlight, 2017 Who: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monae What: A coming-of-age story about Little/Chiron/Black (as he’s known at three different stages of his life, and played by different actors), a young man who is struggling with a crack addicted mother (Harris) and his sexuality, in a rough Miami suburb. Weepy rating: The moment when he confronts his in-recovery mother as an adult is a sucker-punch to your tear ducts.
Good Will Hunting, 1997 Who:Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgaard What: Street smart Will Hunting (Damon) is the janitor at top university, but secretly has an I.Q. that surpasses the college’s most exceptional students. After he solves a complex equation, maths professor (Skarsgaard) discovers his genius and takes him under his wing. On the other side of the tracks, Will’s psychiatrist (Williams) tries to prevent him from throwing his life away. Weepy rating: Robin Williams’ Oscar for this was well-deserved. It’s been oft-mimicked for comedy effect, but the original “It’s not your fault” scene will turn you to mush.
Me Before You, 2016 Who:Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin What: Will (Claflin) was paralysed in a motorbike accident two years ago, and is now determined to travel to an assisted suicide facility in Switzerland. When Lou (Clarke) becomes his carer, she’s equally determined to prove to him that life is worth living. Weepy rating: With the spectre of death looming from the off, have a Kleenex wadded in your palm as you press play.
About Time, 2013 Who: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy What: At 21, Tim (Gleeson) is told by his father (Nighy) that the men in their family can travel through time. Only backwards and only in their own lifetime, but still, pretty handy when it comes to perfecting a first date with a woman he’s crazy about. Weepy rating: As always, Richard Curtis deftly navigates light and dark. About Time’s funeral scene is on a par with Four Weddings’ heartbreaking “Stop all the clocks” moment.
The Light Between Oceans, 2016 Who:Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weisz What: Lighthouse keeper (Fassbender) and his wife Isabel (Vikander) live on an isolated island, where one day a boat containing a dead man and a baby appears offshore. Isabel persuades her husband to take the baby in and bring her up as their own, until a trip to shore reveals who her true mother is. Weepy rating: Vikander does delicate emotion so well, you’ll be crying before the ‘officially sad’ bits even start.
My Girl, 1991 Who: Macauley Culkin, Anna Chlumsky What: A coming-of-age drama about eleven year old death-obsessed Vada (Chlumsky) and her friend Thomas (Culkin). Who should really have an epi-pen handy at all times. Weepy rating: The last 20 minutes are shoulderheave central.
The Fault In Our Stars, 2014 Who:Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort What: Two teenage cancer patients meet at a support group, exchange pithy banter, fall in love, and plan a pilgrimage to visit their favourite author. All the while, they stoically undergo treatment and live with the side effects. Weepy rating: All. The. Tissues.
Marley And Me, 2008 Who:Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson What: A married couple adopts a very naughty – and Instagrammingly adorable – Labrador, and he becomes an integral part of their growing family. Weepy rating: If you’re a dog person: floods. If you’re not: floods
The Land Before Time, 1988 Who: Gabriel Damon, Judith Barsi, Candace Hutson (voices) What: When Littlefoot, a brontosaurus, is orphaned, he sets off with his friends to flee a famine and find The Great Valley, where they will be safe. As long as the T Rex that killed his mother doesn’t get him first. Weepy rating: He’s orphaned, guys. And it doesn’t happen fast. Steel yourself for it.
My Sister’s Keeper, 2009 Who:Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassilieva, Alec Baldwin What: Anna (Breslin) was genetically engineered before birth so that she would be a bone marrow match for her leukaemia-stricken older sister (Vassilieva). Now 13, she wants medical emancipation from her parents so she isn’t forced to undergo any more of the surgeries required to help keep her sister alive. Weepy rating: It’s based on a Jodi Picoult novel. Along with Nicholas Sparks, this is shorthand for ‘sobfest’.
The Notebook, 2004 Who:Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams What: An old man reads from a battered notebook to a lady in a nursing home. He tells her the story of a young couples’ love, how it was thwarted by World War II and how they were reunited seven years later. Weepy rating: An unapologetic love story that suckerpunches you with the weeps at the end.
P.S. I Love You, 2007 Who:Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler What: Holly is devastated when her husband Gerry dies from a brain tumour, but on her 30th birthday a message from him arrives, the first of ten he arranged to have delivered after his death. They all end ‘P.S I Love You’. Weepy rating: Despite Gerard Butler’s truly terrible Irish accent, you can’t help but fall for a story about true love stopped in its tracks too soon.
Seven Pounds, 2008 Who:Will Smith, Rosario Dawson What: After killing seven people in a car accident, Tim (Smith) sets out to save the lives of seven ‘good’ strangers, by donating his organs after his suicide. Weepy rating: Even as a guilty man, Will Smith brings his usual hero dazzle, but with transplants, suicide, and life threatening conditions on the agenda, it’s emotional going.
Steel Magnolias, 1989 Who: Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, Julia Roberts, Olympia Dukakis What: A love story about female friendship (the best love story of all). A multi-generational group of Louisianan women, gossip, cry and share advice in a small town beauty parlour. Weepy rating: Grab your best women for a life-affirming girls’ night-in classic.
Still Alice, 2014 Who:Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart What: A university professor (Moore) is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and as the disease progresses it impacts everyone around her. Weepy rating: Moore’s performance won her well-deserved Oscar in this raw story about a cruel, all-too-common illness. She’ll leave you in pieces.
Terms of Endearment, 1983 Who: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Jeff Daniels What: Spanning 30 years, it’s the story of the complex relationship between widow Aurora (MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Winger). They’re both looking for love – Aurora dates a charismatic former astronaut (Nicholson), while Emma marries a philandering teacher called Flap(!) – but it’s the women’s relationship that takes centre stage. Weepy rating: Heartstring-tugging, but also so, so smart. Treads the finest of balances between LOLs and lows. And will make you want to ring your mum.
The Impossible, 2012 Who:Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor What: A British family is on holiday in Thailand when the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami hits the coastline. Mum Maria (Watts) and their eldest son are carried off one way by the tidal wave, while dad Henry (McGregor) and their two youngest sons are swept another. They try and survive without knowing if the others are dead or alive. Weepy rating: Being based on the true story of one family caught in the tragedy makes this all the more gut-wrenching. The real life death toll is thought to be in excess of 230,000 people in 14 different countries.
The Pursuit Of Happyness, 2006 Who:Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith What: Struggling single father Chris (Will Smith) is evicted from his apartment and forced to live in shelters with his son (played by his real-life son, Jaden), while trying to make ends meet and carve out a better life. Weepy rating: Sad, yes, but ultimately heart-warming too.
The Time Travelers’ Wife, 2009 Who: Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams (again!) What: A rogue gene causes a librarian (Bana) to uncontrollably travel through time, meaning his wife (McAdams) spends most of their relationship waiting for him to return and worrying what might happen to him. Weepy rating: Love. Fate. Separation. It works as a metaphor for relationships, and as a tragic fantasy tale.
Watership Down, 1978 Who: John Hurt, Richard Briers (voices) What: A band of rabbits are convinced to flee their warrens after one of them has an apocalyptic vision where developers destroy their home. So they set out on an epic journey. Weepy rating: For an animated story, it’s both terrifying and tear-jerking at times.
The Way We Were, 1973 Who: Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford What: Opposites attract – until they don’t – in this fated love story. Katie (Streisand) is independent, liberal, political, impassioned and earnest. Hubbell is handsome, charming, talented and a bit of a rogue. Of course they get married. Weepy rating: A classic tear-jerker, and the ultimate break up movie.
Titanic, 1997 Who:Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane What: Upper crust Rose (Winslet) and poor artist Jack (DiCaprio) are separated by the class divide but their worlds – and body parts – collide aboard the maiden voyage of the doomed ship. Weepy rating: If you can get through the “I will never let go Jack” line without breaking down, you’re dead inside.
Bambi, 1942 Who: Hardie Albright, Stan Alexander, Bobette Audrey (voices) What: A fawn called Bambi and his pals Thumper (a rabbit) and Flower (a skunk) have adventures as he grows into his role as prince of the forest. Musical numbers abound. Weepy rating: Bambi’s mum. [broken heart emoji]
Beaches, 1988 Who: Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey What: Garry “Pretty Woman” Marshall directs the story of two friends who meet as children and stay in touch for the next 30 years. Men come and go, careers ebb and flow, but they can always count on each other. A remake starring Idina Menzel in Bette’s role is planned. Weepy rating: After viewing, the opening bars to Wind Beneath Your Wings will forever unleash a Pavlovian effect in your tear ducts.
Brokeback Mountain, 2005 Who:Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway What: Jack (Gyllenhaal) and Ennis (Ledger) are two cowboys who fall in love in 1960s rural Wyoming, but are forced to hide it from the outside world. Weepy rating: Utterly devastating. Its emotional punch will stay with you long after the credits roll.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, 1982 Who:Drew Barrymore, Henry Thomas What: A young boy and his friends help a young alien return to his home planet after he’s accidentally left behind on earth (side note: on E.T’s planet, is this film an intergalactic version of Home Alone?) Weepy rating: The mere thought of a poorly E.T. will bring on an attack of the sobs.
Forrest Gump, 1994 Who:Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Sally Field What: Forrest Gump (Hanks) is neither clever nor sophisticated but he stumbles upon some of history’s key moments during his lifetime and triumphs, while winning over everyone’s hearts. Weepy rating: Forrest’s complete lack of cynicism is utterly charming and the depth of his relationships totally overwhelming. Sniffle.
Ghost, 1990 Who:Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, Whoopi Goldberg What: When Sam (Swayze) is murdered, his spirit enlists an unwilling psychic (Goldberg) to communicate with his wife (Moore). What else? Oh, erotic pottery. Weepy rating: Those close ups of a damp-eyed Demi will set you off every time.
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, 2009 Who: Richard Gere, Joan Allen What: A twinkly college professor (Gere) rescues a gorgeous puppy on a snowy night and they become firm pals. Weepy rating: Gah, another cute canine! And it’s based on the true story of a dog in 1920s Tokyo who waited outside the train station every day for a decade after his master died. Do you see where this is going?
Love story, 1970 Who: Ali McGraw, Ryan O’Neal What: Jenny (McGraw) and Oliver (O’Neal) get married, despite class boundaries and family objections. Then Jenny is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Weepy rating: Film critic legend Roger Ebert called Love Story a three, four or five handkerchief movie. Have six on standby, just in case.
It’s A Wonderful Life, 1946 Who: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Henry Travers What: Failing businessman George Bailey (Stewart) is on the brink of suicide until his guardian angel turns up and shows him what the lives of the people around him would be like if he’d never existed. Weepy rating: Essential Christmas viewing. The exact level of teary-eyed schmaltz you need in a festive film.
Lion, 2016 Who: Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Sunny Pawar What: The film centres around Saroo (Sunny Pawar), a five-year-old who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of miles away from home. After surviving challenges he gets adopted by an Australian couple (cue Nicole Kidman as the adoptive mum). Fast forward 25 years later, he (now played by Dev Patel) sets out to find his lost family. Weepy rating: The fact that it’s based on true life events will have you reaching for tissues within the first thirty minutes.
Miss You Already, 2016 Who: Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette What: Drew plays Jess, who lives in a boathouse with her boyfriend and desperately wants a baby; her world is torn apart when her best friend Milly (Toni Collette) is diagnosed with breast cancer and looks to her for support. Weepy rating: Just don’t watch it with your best friend, that’s all we’ll say.
In case you need some cheering up after these… Have some good laughs with the best American high school movies.
Brokeback Mountain, 2005 Who: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams What: Cowboys, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar embark on a forbidden love affair whilst working in the mountains and ignite a love affair which lasts for years to come with life changing results. Weepy Rating: It’s an ugly crying situation.
Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, 2008 Who: Vera Farmiga, Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon and Rupert Friend What: During World War Two, 8-year-old Bruno and his family leave Berlin and take up residence near a concentration camp. Whilst his father is embroiled with the innerworkings of the Nazi party, lonely Bruno wanders the surrounding countryside and befriends the boy in the striped pyjamas through the barbed wire fence of the concentration camp. Weepy Rating: This is a harrowing account of the Holocaust that will break your heart in two and then some.
Lion King, 1994 Who: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane and Rowan Atkinson What: The story of a lion cub who just couldn’t wait to be king but faces a series of heart breaking stumbling blocks along the way. Weepy Rating: Disney know how to tug at the heart strings especially within the first 15 minutes of the action but luckily there is some light relief with some catchy numbers thanks to Elton John.
Love Simon, 2018 Who: Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel, What: 17-year-old High Schooler, Simon Spier struggles with his sexuality with chaotic results as he tries to track down the identity of the anonymous classmate that he’s fallen for online. Weepy Rating: It will transport you right back to those tricky school days so prepare for a gentle sob at least.