I watched the final episode of Derek today. It was quite a moving finale - Ricky Gervais’s character is reunited with the father who walked out on him when he was a kid. The scenes were intertwined with the funeral of one of the elderly ladies from the home. It was clear that Gervais wanted our tears to flow the second that Fix You by Coldplay started playing in the background. It was nicely done though - as was the entire series - and I have to admit that I did well up. Not quite a full-blown tear, but a satisfactory welling.
I do cry reasonably easily. I was in bits at the scene where the baby elephant starved to death in David Attenborough’s latest BBC documentary. I think I even welled up during Wreck-It Ralph on the plane to the Maldives. It got me thinking and I decided to write a bit about the films and television that have been the biggest tearjerkers for me over the years.
It’s not going to be the scene you’re thinking. Yes, the “I’ll never let go” bit at the end did produce a tear or two. It's the scene where Rose, in a fit of emotion, jumps back onto the sinking ship from the safety boat and back into Jack’s arms as that nasty English man looks on.
Aaah. For me, this was ever so romantic and became a bit of a benchmark for me and how I thought of love – would I jump back on the boat to an almost certain death for the one I love? (seeing as you asked, yes I probably would).
When I was a teen at college I used to watch both these scenes over and over again. I’m not entirely sure why I used to actively try and make myself cry by watching the same bits of film on repeat – perhaps it was because it was a time when I was usually boyfriend-less and all I wanted was to find true love; and this was my way of wallowing in the fact that I was alone. Silly. The clip above isn't online but this one is.
Aaah, Ghost. I watched it again only a few weeks ago and I'd actually forgotten how much I loved this movie. Even though Demi Moore is a bit shite in it, Patrick Swayze and in particular Whoopi Goldberg make up for it with great performances. The nun scene is a piece of epic cinema and Whoopi deserved her Oscar just for that! Ok so the ending of Ghost is a little on the cheesy side - especially with the 80’s special effects – but with a little help from the emotional backing music (an orchestral version of Unchained Melody) it really does tug at the old heartstrings. “It’s amazing Molly. The love inside, you take it with you!”
West Side Story
One of my favourite films of all time. I’ve always adored West Side Story and I think I could probably recite most of the script word-for-word from start to finish. In case you don’t know, the storyline is based on Romeo & Juliet but it’s set in 1960’s New York where two dead tough gangs dance around a lot. In all seriousness though, it really is a stunning film and the music is wonderful. There are two scenes that set me off here – where Tony and Maria sing Somewhere after Tony has just murdered her brother (is it too late to say “SPOILER ALERT!"). And of course the end when Tony dies. Natalie Wood’s emotional performance in that last scene always gets me. A classic love story. I was devastated when I found out the two actors who played Tony and Maria actually despised each other in real life.
The Green MileSo this is a movie where I remember crying for a good half an hour after it had ended. It was the injustice of it all! I remember wanting to scream “NO!” as they strapped that nice big innocent man who brought mice back to life into the electric chair. I’ve not seen the film again since I saw it the first time – I think the emotional rollercoaster ride of it all was a bit too much to go through again. It’s sad that one of the actors in it, Michael Clarke Duncan, died last year. I liked him.
So this is the only television entry but one that I never fail to mention when the subject of tear-jerkers arises. I loved the first couple of series of ER; it was just the best show, quite often leaving you an emotional wreck at the end of an episode. The particular episode I’m referring to - Orion In The Sky - was the one when Dr Green left the ER for the very last time, knowing he would soon die from a brain tumour but not telling any of his colleagues. It was the last time any of them would see him and they were just saying goodnight to him as if he was coming in the next day! Ugh, I sat in my bedroom and cried for a good half hour afterwards. It’s funny how certain things can just affect you like that. I’m sure most people would say that the episode where Dr Green actually dies was much sadder but this one for me took the proverbial biscuit.
Romeo & Juliet
Here we are with Leo again. This was another of my college wallowing movies. I would watch the death scene where he walked down the church aisle, devastated at the apparent death of his one true love (but still managing to look gorgeous), drank the poison and…well you know what happens. I love the soundtrack and it really added to the emotion. It’s a great movie, really beautiful. Alex and I had the song Kissing You from the ‘fish tank scene’ played during the signing of the register at our wedding and very lovely it was too.
So this is a rare one where the tears are flowing strong in the first ten minutes! Up is a wonderful, wonderful animated film about an old man on a mission to fulfil his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America and to complete a promise made to his lifelong love. Very near to the start is a short montage, backed with beautiful music, that shows us how Carl meets his love Ellie and their life together before she becomes ill and passes away. The end of the montage is Carl walking back into the house they had shared for so many years, with just his balloon, alone. Devastating. Beautiful, but devastating. Luckily, from there on it turns into a lovely, funny film but wow – Pixar really know how to make a teary entrance.
Another one that sticks in the memory as a big childhood tearjerker. I was 10 when this came out and my Mum took me to the cinema to see it. I haven’t actually seen the film since that day so I don’t remember too much about the storyline but I remember Macaulay Culkin and I remember bees and I remember crying for about three days afterwards.
Now this is a weird one that I only thought of at the last minute. It starts Seth Rogan and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as friends who together cope with Gordon-Levitt’s character being diagnosed with cancer. The film itself is a comedy and it’s not overly sentimental but there was one scene in which the cancer-stricken guy was about to go in for an operation that was predicted a 50/50 chance of him surviving. I will admit that I was a little hungover at the time of watching this movie and when I am hungover I am a little over-sensitive but this scene really really upset me. This wasn’t the good kind of tear-jerker though so I wouldn’t be watching this one on loop like Titanic...
Dot and the Kangaroo
So I’m not expecting many of you to remember this one. I’m not even sure anyone else in the world has seen it! This was a cartoon movie set in Australia about a girl who goes missing in the bush and is looked after by a Kangaroo. Oh, the adventures she has along the way! When I stayed at my Nana Eunice’s in the summer holidays I used to watch this cartoon and then cry for ages afterwards. I don't know why I always asked to have it put on as I remember dreading the ending and I started pretending that I needed the toilet about three minutes from the end. Basically, after a nice story of adventure and friendship, the Kangaroo gets the little girl home to her family, then buggers off back into the bush leaving the little girl crying and devastated. And then the film ends. Saddest thing EVER (when you’re 8). If you’re interested, click here and go about 3 minutes in and you’ll see what I mean.
Others worth a mention:
- The Sixth Sense
- Forrest Gump
- Four Weddings and a Funeral
- Turner & Hooch
I’m sure you can tell me loads that I haven’t mentioned that would be in your own respective lists. That is if you were geeky enough to have one like I do.
Some of you might be wondering how Marley & Me didn’t get a mention, especially by a huge dog lover like me.
That would be because it was RUBBISH.
Please feel free to comment below :)