Ah, those good ol’ guaranteed-to-make-you-cry movies. A few that come to mind right away include Titanic, A Walk To Remember, The Notebook, and Up (confession: I think I’m the only twenty-something female I know who has never seen The Notebook, but that’s beside the point). They’re great, they’re classic, they’re kind of predictable. And it’s probably safe to assume you’ve seen at least one of those. This list isn’t smothered in Nicholas Sparks titles because some of us just want to have a good cry without relying on Mr. Sparks to deliver that sweet sense of post-weep relief. And come on, he’s not the only writer out there to tell a story that’ll make your heart ache and your eyes leak.
I thought it would be fun to put together a list of less than predictable movies to satisfy your I-just-want-to-sob-over-a-movie needs. Maybe I’m just the world’s easiest crier, but every movie on this list has left me with a pile of damp tissues and a pair of puffy eyes. While most of them fall into the “love story” category, you might be surprised to find a few comedies on the list—because I love a good subplot with feeling! So if you’re looking to get your cry on, grab your tissues and read on to see what movies I turn to.
Like Crazy became my favorite movie ever after seeing it only once because it is realistic, beautiful, and simple. It tells the heartbreaking love story of Jacob (Anton Yelchin, RIP) and Anna (Felicity Jones), who are dealing with the difficulties—both emotional and legal—of being in a long distance relationship. Of course, I discovered this movie when I was in the longest distance relationship physically possible (Chicago vs Melbourne) so it really hit home for me. Even the movie’s score makes me cry to this day. Fun fact: Like Crazy was filmed entirely on a DSLR camera and most of the dialogue was improvised.
Earlier this year, I crowned Brooklyn my favorite movie of 2016—it holds up. Brooklyn tells the story of a young Irish woman, Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), moving to America in the 1950s to grow roots of her own. Her journey brings fear, uncertainty, and homesickness. After some time, she meets a young Italian man, Tony (Emory Cohen) and begins to see Brooklyn as home—that is, until she ends up having to return to Ireland because of a family tragedy. This movie is beautifully made and the storyline keeps you guessing and feeling. I can’t even count the number of times I cried throughout it.
Ok, so if you were born in the 90’s, it’s pretty likely you saw the Lindsay Lohan version of The Parent Trap. You know the story: long lost twin sisters discover each other at sleep away camp—it’s a classic! Annie and Hallie end up swapping places to meet their other parent and eventually scheme up a plan to get them back together. This didn’t become a go-to cry movie until recently, when I realized I was identifying more with the adults in the movie (i.e. Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, and Lisa Ann Walter—aka Chessy).
I watched this movie on a fifteen-hour plane ride home from Australia—and cried like nobody was around. No shame. It’s got a little bit of everything: romance, family, drama, comedy. Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) learns from his father (Bill Nighy) that the men of his family have the ability to time travel—but only to places and times they’ve been before. Tim uses the time traveling ability to have more control over his love life (that’s where Rachel McAdams comes in!), he begins to learn that there are consequences to having such a power.
Friends With Benefits is 100% a rom com, but hear me out—a certain subplot in this one makes me lose it every. single. time. Not only are Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis adorably entertaining together, but they also are actively trying to avoid rom com cliches (apparently I’m a sucker for that?). So while you’re laughing and swooning and totally falling for Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis) falling for each other in a totally un-cheesy kind of way… there’s also the part of Dylan’s story that involves his dad, played by Richard Jenkins. Richard’s character has Alzheimer’s disease and it plays a pivotal role in the plot. What gets me every time is seeing how the disease affects not only his mind and behavior, but also his family.
I guess I have a thing with getting emotional over comedies… but that makes sense, considering a lot of comedy stems from tragedy, right? Trainwreck is a comedy starring Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, and LeBron James. Amy (Amy Schumer) lands an interview with Aaron (Bill Hader), a sports doctor, for a magazine article and romance eventually ensues. But similar to Friends With Benefits, the family subplot in this one is what breaks my heart. Without giving too much away, Amy’s dad is in assisted living as he has multiple sclerosis. The ups and downs of their father/daughter relationship is portrayed so realistically that I find myself ugly crying whenever they’re together.
Remember Me is a hard film to talk about for a few reasons; the biggest being that it’s ending contains one massive, controversial spoiler. Here’s what you need to know about the movie: Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson) is spiraling out as a result of a family tragedy. He meets Ally Craig (Emilie de Ravin) who has a dark family history of her own. As fate would have it, the two meet, finding solace and light in one another. As they fall in love, secrets arise and trouble ensues. This is a heavy one.
The Fault In Our Stars is the film adaptation of a John Green’s wildly successful novel. It’s a love story about two teens—Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort)—who meet by chance at a cancer support group. The two become friends quickly and bond over each others’ favorite books. Their relationship grows more romantic and with that, my heart breaks a little more. Honestly, the book tore me apart (we’re talking ugly sobbing through the last 100 pages), so it’s no surprise that the movie does the same. It’s really a lovely movie and I dare you not to cry your way through it. Damn it, Augustus…
Who said crying over movies was reserved only for romance and drama? Remember The Titans follows the story of a 1970’s high school football coach, Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), who is hired to build a racially diverse team after two segregated schools combine into one. Racial tensions flare as a result of his hiring, so he takes the football team of young black and white men, who frequently clash, away for training camp to build team chemistry and respect for one another. The team returns to school, where they begin winning games and building a community. When tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that Coach Boone’s efforts to build a team were successful, as the young men rally together. There’s something deeply moving about the brotherhood between Coach Boone’s players that will stick with you long after the movie.
500 Days of Summer is a hit indie movie that tells the story of a failed relationship between Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel). The entire film is essentially a flashback of moments from Tom and Summer’s relationship, flashing back and forth to specific memories from Tom’s point of view. You see the highs and lows, the befores and afters. I think this one makes me cry simply because unrequited love is real and it’s the worst.
I think every twenty-something has seen this movie and if you’re like me, then you absolutely love it no matter what time of year! Two women on opposite sides of the pond—Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) in L.A. and Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) in London happen upon each other in an effort to escape their broken love lives through exchanging homes for the holidays. Each of them falls for the others’ city while finding sparks of romance in the others’ co-worker and brother (Jack Black and Jude Law, respectively). This one’s a ‘major weeper’ mostly because Kate Winslet is so charming, Jude Law is so British, and Jack Black is so funny. I’m a sap, but I love a good cry over The Holiday.
Holly (Katherine Heigl) and Eric (Josh Duhamel) have two things in common: they’re the godparents of their best friends’ baby, Sophie, and they absolutely hate each other (with good reason, considering their trainwreck of a first/blind date years ago). The two suddenly become one-year-old Sophie’s caretakers and are forced to not only deal with the deaths of their best friends, but also to raise baby Sophie together. Life As We Know It perfectly mixes elements of drama, romance, and family. The ups and downs Holly and Eric face as they learn to balance their new family life with their already-busy professional lives is what makes this movie so great—and so worthy of blowing through a box of tissues.
What are your go-to movies for a good cry? Share them with us below or tweet us @litdarling!
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures