Whether you’re the one glistening tear type or you’re prone to loud weeping in the cinema, having a good old fashioned cry at the movies can feel bloomin’ brilliant. Maybe it’s the cathartic release of emotions that keeps us coming back. Or maybe we just like to punish ourselves with that crushing blow of heartache. Either way, cinema has been churning out some brilliant weepie flicks that keep us grabbing the Kleenex and crying into our popcorn.
With the release of Thea Sharrock‘s adaptation ME BEFORE YOU spiking sales in bulk pack tissues and leaving us puffy-eyed for days, it only feels right that we at Film & TV Now count down five of the very best films that leave us in complete emotional turmoil. Whether it’s love, family, loss or heartache that has us choking up; there’s something for everyone in our list of heart punchers!
5. The Notebook (2004)
If Ryan Gosling‘s perfectly bearded face isn’t enough to send you into an emotional breakdown then Nick Cassavetes story of love through the ages certainly will. Adapted from the novel by Nicholas Sparks and starring Gosling and the gorgeous Rachel McAdams, THE NOTEBOOK tells the heartwarming story of lovers Noah and Allie and their epic romance that spans their entire lifetime.
The thing about THE NOTEBOOK is that it’s the weepie gift that keeps on giving. As if our emotions don’t take a battering enough from the central story of young Allie and Noah, we also have to endure the absolutely crushing narrative of their older selves. With Allie suffering from dementia and slowly forgetting their sweeping romance, Noah visits her in her nursing home, retelling the story of their love to ensure she always comes back to him; exactly where she belongs.
He recalls their blissful beginning, turbulent parting and then their epic reunion with such love and passion, that it’s impossible not to get completely caught up in their story. It’s your typical ‘chick flick’ that packs a serious punch with its emotional performances and devastatingly perfect ending.
With McAdam’s and Gosling’s sizzling chemistry getting us all glassy-eyed and James Garner and Gena Rowlands finishing us off as the couple in their golden years, THE NOTEBOOK is as romantic as it is heartbreaking. Excuse us while we Google pictures of Ryan Gosling and have a little cry.
4. Love Actually (2003)
Trust rom-com king Richard Curtis to create a film that follows not one, but eight different stories of love, all containing the power to have us sniffling at Christmas time. With an all-star cast including Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Kris Marshall, Joanna Page, Andrew Lincoln and Keira Knightley, Curtis’ Love Actually looks into the highs and lows of love and how it really is all around us.
With each story loosely interlinking, some of the best pre-Christmas drama includes Mark (Lincoln) who is desperately in love with his best mates brand new wife, Juliet (Knightley). Keeping himself as far away from Juliet as possible and putting up a rather frosty front, Mark attempts to deal with his unwanted feelings but just can’t stop Juliet from catching on when she sees film footage from her wedding.
On Christmas Eve, Mark declares his love for Juliet, making it clear he has no hope of agenda behind his admittance. Cue lip wobbling and tissue grabbing as Mark walks away, not before Juliet gives him a Christmas kiss.
While that scene had us close to a break down, the real kicker involves the brilliant Emma Thompson and an unexpected early Christmas gift. When Karen (Thompson) notices her husband Harry (Alan Rickman) buying an expensive gold locket, she assumes it’s a special Christmas gift for her. Little does she know that Harry has in fact bought it as a gift for his seductive secretary. When Karen rips open the box she assumes is her locket, only to find a Joni Mitchell CD, our hearts burst with absolute painful sympathy.
Watching Karen silently cry in her bedroom before dusting herself off and continuing her motherly responsibilities is completely heartbreaking and encourages large sobs of heartache! How could you, Harry?!
3. Marley & Me (2008)
It’s not always the love between humans that get us right in the feels. Sometimes, man’s best friend comes along and steals our hearts, leading to some serious sobbing. When David Frankel took on John Grogan‘s novel Marley & Me for a screen adaptation, you could just sense it was going to be a tear jerker; with book fans pre-warning us about the heartache!
Starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Anderson, MARLEY & ME tells the truth story of John and Jenny as they fall in love with the wild and un-trainable golden retriever Marley. Picking him up as a puppy, we get to witness this family blossom and grow, with Marley’s love at the very center of the narrative.
Loving Marley isn’t always easy though as he’s quite possibly the naughtiest puppy going! Shredding sofas to pieces, bolting out car windows and eating everything in sight are just a few nightmares Marley puts the family through but his loyalty and love keeps them at his side.
Any dog lover is going to really struggle not uncontrollably howling at MARLEY & ME, especially the emotional and touching ending. Stories about pets often effect us in ways we never thoughts possible thanks to their emotional attachment to our memories and own experiences. Losing a pet can feel just like losing family and MARLEY & ME‘s honest account of loving your pet is totally heartbreaking. Sob, sob, sob.
2. About Time (2013)
That pesky Richard Curtis is at it again! Tapping into our soft and gooey side and making us crumble in an emotional break down. This next choice had us sobbing into a tissue in a packed cinema. We’re not even sorry. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams (serial tear-inducing offender) and Bill Nighy; About Time is an absolutely charming British rom-com that sneaks up and breaks your heart in the most unexpected way.
At twenty-one, Tim (Gleeson) discovers that the men in his family have the strange and wondrous ability to time travel. With guidance from his Father (Nighy), Tim comes to grips with his new found talent and uses it to help him woo the object of his affections, Mary (McAdams). With bags of British charm, wonderful romance and witty dialogue; ABOUT TIME might not seem like your typical tear-jerker.
However, the real heartache can be found in the glorious character relationship between Tom and his Father. When his Father is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Tim relies on his special gift to ensure he spends as much time with his Father as possible; accepting that he cannot change his Father’s fate. He teaches Tim to live each day twice, once as normal and then a second time to appreciate the little things; enjoying each day for what it is.
When Mary tells Tim that she wants another baby, he knows it means it will substantially change their time line and therefore he’ll no longer be able to travel back to see his Father. It’s a crushing blow to Tim and his Dad, knowing that his journey will finally be over.
In one of the film’s last scenes, Tim and Dad travel back to his childhood and relive some beautiful family moments. After a tearful goodbye, Tim leaves and knows he’ll never see his Father again. It’s completely crushing and will leave your cheeks tear stained for days; prompting you to run home and hug your Dad really, really hard.
1. Me Before You (2016)
We’d like to personally send our Kleenex bill to both Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke because thanks to their superb performances in ME BEFORE YOU we’re going to be in tissue debt for a long, long time. Adapted from JoJo Moyes brilliant novel and directed by Thea Sharrock, ME BEFORE YOU tells the story of Will Trainer and Lou Clarke, two impossibly different people delving into one of the most heartbreaking relationships in cinema history!
After a horrific accident, Will is left paralyzed from the neck down, wheelchair bound and desperate to escape his life of pain and imprisonment. Giving his parents just six months before he decides to make the ultimate decision to end his suffering, they frantically search for something, or someone, to bring some happiness back into Will’s life.
Cue the joyously bubbly and completely lovable Lou. Dealing with her own disappointments and struggles, Lou takes on the job of being Will’s career with sheer determination to please! Their friendship blossoms and soon find themselves falling completely in love with each other, but is it enough to persuade Will to give life another chance?
Claflin and Clarke do an absolutely cracking job at portraying the devastatingly romantic couple; doing the book absolute justice and thrilling fans across the globe. There are many moments when we can feel the tears brimming from our eyes but it’s Will’s final decision and ultimate sacrifice that will have you trying not to howl out loud in the cinema. We may not have been able to stop ourselves, we won’t blame you if you can’t either.
ME BEFORE YOU is out now in cinemas and you can read our review here. Grab the tissues and prepare to sob!