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Sad Films to Watch When You Need a Good Cry

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

Films can often be the best avenue through which to channel emotions. Fancy being scared? Whack on The Exorcist. Want a belly chuckle? A bit of Hot Fuzz will do you wonders. But sometimes, all you want is to have a good cry. In this list we are discounting films that are so bad they make you WANT to cry, but rather embracing those films that make you feel like you need to dry-heave on the floor, Dani from Midsommar-style. From family-oriented sadness all the way to a happy ending that never was, this list will have you sobbing in no time.

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Starting off strong with the film that took absolutely no prisoners at this year’s Academy Awards, Everything Everywhere All at Once is, at its core, a story about generational trauma and family dynamics once a child reaches adulthood. Dazzling performances from Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, and Stephanie Hsu are reason enough to watch this film, regardless of its emotional punch that lands it firmly on this list. It tackles parental acknowledgement of generational issues that some parents pass down to their children without realising it, and seeing the journey that Yeoh’s character embarks on to recover the relationship with her daughter hit just a little too close to home for many audience members. It will probably leave you sobbing uncontrollably for a multitude of reasons, but may also induce feelings of resentment toward your own unaccepting parents, so proceed with caution.

The Fault in Our Stars

As if 2014 didn’t produce enough (honourably-mentioned) gut-wrenching films such as Interstellar, If I Stay, and The Theory of Everything, it also gave the public something to chew on with John Green’s novel of the same name, The Fault in Our Stars. Clearly, the lives of terminally ill teenagers was a popular theme in cinema this year and it really gets some people welled up. Not sure why… Alas, this film does deliver some brilliantly soul-crushing performances from Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort that will make you afraid of ever falling in love again, but somehow still makes you see the beauty in its non-permanence. A definite watch for those wanting to relive their 2014 lives, which for some would make you cry without even having to watch the film.

Beautiful Boy

The monster’s gone, he’s on the run and your daddy’s here” are the words ingrained into the minds of those familiar with this incredibly moving film starring Steve Carrell and Timothy Chalamet. Based on the real-life story of recovering drug addict Nic Scheff (Chalamet) and his tumultuous relationship with his supportive yet distant father David Sheff (Carrell), Beautiful Boy will leave you dehydrated from all the tears leaving your body when watching this modern-classic. Despite not only encompassing the difficult topic of addiction and the complications that accompany it as an illness, but its focus also shifts onto the people closest to those battling with sobriety and how far it can push the boundaries of familial love. A difficult watch, but one that definitely is worth it (and definitely will make you cry!)


Kiera Knightley is often hailed as the Queen of period drama films, and 2007 romance/war movie is one of the reasons why. A direct book to screen adaptation, the film follows a young Saoirse Ronan, her older sister (Knightley), and their family friend Robbie, played by James McAvoy. Not only is this a romantically ambient film that holds palpable performances between Knightley and McAvoy, but young Ronan steps up to the mark in the limited time she hits the screen. It is a beautifully upsetting movie that encompasses family dynamics, unattainable love, and the art of forgiveness. All in all, it is a big ole’ sobber.

The Notebook

Arguably one of the most classic films in this list to be associated with crying, The Notebook has one of the saddest endings of modern cinematic history. Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling give performances of a lifetime in this memorable movie that follows young lovers in the 1950s that come from two different walks of life. Clearly, this predicament results in a crushing storyline that somehow still allows for a belief in true love to prevail above all else. Oh, and crying. Lots, and lots of crying.

Amy James

Bristol '24

A freelance writer interested in the representation of female presenting characters in horror movies