I am a crier, but more specifically I am a movie crier. I have lost count of how many times I’ve watched a film and ended up crying in the corner of my bed, my laptop screen hitting my face, telling myself, “OMG, I am a mess.” I sometimes wonder what it says about me. Am I an emotional wreck? Am I too sensitive? Do I pent up so many feelings that an emotional scene is all it takes for me to let it all out? Who knows really, but it got me thinking—what exactly is it that causes this emotional reaction?
For me, films provide an escape. For about two hours I get to leave my own reality and invest in someone else’s fictional creation. I think it’s normal to inject ourselves into storylines and characters, because to some extent they depict a certain truth of the lives we live. Sometimes these films resonate with us and trigger something that maybe we hadn’t realized till that moment; sometimes, all it takes is a specific scene or character to make us feel understood, heard, and seen.
The last film that had me sobbing was Coco. It was one of the first times I felt that my Hispanic background and culture were being represented in a positive and eye-opening way. The characters were true depictions of people I know in real life, and the storyline was uplifting in a way that made me want to love these characters. I couldn’t help but cry and feel overwhelmed by it, because I knew that this would be an important moment for my community. We were finally being recognized and acknowledges for who we are: loving, compassionate, everyday people with hopes, dreams, families, and traditions.
So it had me thinking: what kind of moments in films make other people cry and feel something? What does that say about us as people? Curious to find out, I asked nine people what the last movie that made them cry was, and why it did.
“The last film that made me cry was Bao. It illuminated the Asian parent-child dynamic through food, hardship, and family. I just totally related because I was brought up in a Filipino household. It truly touched my heart, and my tears were everywhere!” - Cherileigh
“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. It was filled with so many memories of when my mom, sister, and I would listen to the Mamma Mia! soundtrack at all times. My mom was our Donna Sheridan, working two jobs and raising us all by herself. So that scene of Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried singing "My Love, My Life" truly hit the spot in this second movie.” - Fiorella
“I watched 12 Years A Slave in 2013 when I was a freshman in college. I’ve watched a lot of emotional movies since, but nothing has resonated quite like it did. It took me three days to emotionally recover from what I saw in Steve McQueen’s adaptation of the 1853 slave narrative memoir of the same name. There are several movies centered around slavery, but for me, this one was different. Everything about it was raw and real, a painful reminder of my ancestors’ reality, and a stark realization that it could have been my own. I have yet to watch the movie again and if I’m being honest, I probably never will.” - Erin
“Pretty in Pink was definitely the last film that made me cry. It’s an oldie but a goodie for so many reasons! The leading character, Andie, is this strong woman who has this unbelievable strength in character and insists on being true to who she is even when she faces unwarranted criticism for it. The part that really resonated with me is how honest and raw she is with her emotions. She manages to advocate for herself throughout the film without wavering, showing us that kindness and compassion will always be cool and being empathetic will always be a strength!” - Sarah
“The last movie that I remember making me cry was Parched. It had an incredibly bittersweet ending, with each of the leading women experiencing personal victories, but realizing that there were many more challenges to face ahead. What brought tears to my eyes was not only the happiness I felt for the characters, but also the realization that the life of someone identifying as a woman may unfortunately always be a series of continuous challenges, often posed by the same forces each time.” - Sampada
“I most recently saw (and cried during) Mamma Mia 2. I have a really deep connection to music, so although 95% of the songs in the movie were upbeat and positive, I wasn't surprised to feel so emotional during the musical scenes. I especially cried during the scene when Sophie and Donna sing to one another in the church. I was really taken aback by their relationship as mother and daughter in that scene. Both characters are well-written, and their relationship just feels so genuine.” - Briana
“Schindler’s List was the last movie that made me cry. Though I am always a sucker when it comes to movies or any storyline reliving the Holocaust, this particular movie really submerged the viewer in 1940s Poland. As if it wasn’t enough that the whole film resembled a French noir and was directed by Steven Spielberg, the whole plot is based on a true story with real, accurate accounts. It was so hard to watch I had to split my watch-time in half over [the] course of two days. The real tearjerker was during one of the final scenes where Mr. Schindler himself was surrounded by all the Jews that he saved and was looking at his jewelry and clothes and started to calculate how many more lives he could’ve saved. [Seeing this idea that] humanity has to resort to being saved by a material exchange... broke me down.” - Crystal
“I recently rewatched Steel Magnolias, and that left me in a very emotional state. The death of Shelby (Julia Roberts) is very devastating in itself, but it’s when her mother (Sally Fields) finally breaks down in front of her friends that really had an impact on me. The scene at Shelby’s funeral is when the grief hits her all at once, and shows how true friends are there to support you through the good and bad times. I love how this movie stresses the importance of female friendships during life’s accomplishments and challenges.” - Gaby
“The last film that made me cry was Call Me By Your Name. Specifically the part where Oliver hugs Elio goodbye before hopping on his train back home, expecting to not see his lover for a long time. This scene evoked an emotional response because leading up to this point I was invested in this love story. I had become attached to these feelings of unrequitedness, curiosity, and mystery. I was rooting for both characters’ happiness in the end. In this scene, I knew and the characters knew what was coming. Yet, when it happened, heartbreak struck. Knowing the truth within this story makes witnessing it that much harder to bear and to hold back tears.” - Carolina