Calista’s Cinema Conversations: Tearjerker films


"The Notebook" is one of the sad, romatic films considered to me a tearjerker movie. (screenshot/The Notebook)

“The Notebook” is one of the sad, romatic films considered to me a tearjerker movie. (screenshot/The Notebook)

Today, I was thinking about the upcoming film “Avengers: Infinity War” and how the network of fans of the Marvel films, me included, are scared of major character deaths and crying throughout the entire film. This drew me to the genre of films that are worth shedding tears for.

This category starts with sad romantic films, these being “P.S. I Love You,” “The Notebook,” “Brokeback Mountain, “Me Before You” and “The Fault in Our Stars.” Each of these films can make you cry due to the two protagonists that are deeply in love. These stories focus on their strong emotions for one another before the couple is ripped apart by some circumstance that is outside either of their control. The audiences will root for the two characters all the way until the end of the film.

There are a few children’s movies, like “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial,” “Up” and “Toy Story 3,” that have heart-wrenching plots. The moments of tragedy happen at various points in the film, but do not usually overtake the tone of the entire film. They are enjoyable family films, but be warned of the slight dismal undertone.

Then there are the period dramas. These include films like “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “Forrest Gump” and “Atonement.” These films hinge on this depressing situation or event that engulfs the plot and forces an important character in the film to live with the consequences of this uncontrollable plight. The movies resonate with the viewer and create a lot of moral debate.

Historical dramas like “Finding Neverland,” “Milk” and “The Normal Heart” draw on specific true events to form their plots. Since history does not always end in happiness, these films use that to their advantage, therefore recreating the emotions felt through this experience.

War films like “War Horse,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “Hacksaw Ridge” are a recipe for tears. Wars are filled with death and loss, so constructing a film that embodies the story of a soldier during war is bound to be a rollercoaster of emotions up until the credits roll.

Coming-of-age dramas like “Good Will Hunting,” “My Girl” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” are able to develop sorrow with the growth of the main character. The climax of the film, usually where the main character realizes something about his or herself, is where all the misery and grief of this character comes crashing down. Although the entire film gives the aura of hopelessness, it is at this climax where the viewer will usually break into fits of hysterical tears.

Tearjerker films are usually plentiful in the movie industry, but it takes a great story, cast and production team to make the audience truly feel for the characters in the story. It is hard to get a tearjerker film right, but when it’s done, the entire room will need Kleenex boxes.

Calista Giroux is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at

Leave a Reply