September is my birth month (my birthday is September 25th so call 424 – CHAT – FTS (424-242-8387) and leave me a birthday voicemail!!) which means birthdays, which often mean parties!! If there’s one thing I know about parties, it’s what Lesley Gore famously sang: It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to. So my list is nothing but films that are guaranteed to make me cry. That being said, there will be spoilers in my reasoning so if I list a movie you haven’t seen yet, I’d skip why I cry during that film until you’ve seen it and potentially cry yourself. Time to grab some Kleenex and comfort food.. Enjoy!
#8. FIELD OF DREAMS (1989)
After Kevin Costner takes the time to “build it” so “they will come”, he soon discovers that a baseball team from the past appears and begins to play on the field. What’s crazier is he meets his father and one of the most heartfelt moments unfolds. They have a conversation and as his father, played by Ray Liotta, walks away, Kevin Costner’s character calls out to him, “Hey Dad… you wanna have a catch?” And as he says it, the slightest tremble in his voice happens and he is close to tears. Holy Shit. Soon as that scene begins to happen, tears are in my eyes and I’m inches from bawling. It shows you, that with the right actor, and the right delivery, the simplest of questions can tug at your heartstrings.
#7. BRIAN’S SONG (1971)
When I was young, my father told me that there is only one movie men are allowed to cry at, and that’s Brian’s Song. It’s the story of two football players, one white and one black, who become very close friends as camp goes along. But one gets diagnosed with cancer and his slow decline breaks your heart all the way up to his goodbye speech. It’s one of, if not THE, greatest roles James Caan has ever and will ever have.
#6. CASABLANCA (1942)
It wasn’t until a screening of this film down in New Orleans that I realized the power of song. I had seen Casablanca on the screen many many times on DVD, BluRay, and TV and not once did I get upset. When I had the opportunity to see it on the big screen, I jumped at the chance and it forever ruined my chance of seeing the film all the way through with dry eyes. The scene that sets me off is when Ilsa (Ingmar Bergman) makes her way through Rick’s one night only to discover Sam (Dooley Wilson) is playing piano. Knowing Sam from a long time ago she asks him to play a special song that’s reminiscent of a love she once shared with the club’s owner Rick (Humphrey Bogart). I had never really focused on the words to “As Time Goes By” before but once the lyrics started clicking, the tears began flowing. What’s worse was the theatre was crowded AND I was sitting next to an attractive and presumably single woman. So now, no matter the format, I get teary and a bit choked up. Thanks movie theaters that show classic films on the big screen. Thanks a lot!
#5. NEVER LET ME GO (2010)
This movie is very hit and miss with most people. I enjoyed it to add it to my Annual Valentines Day Movie Marathon. It’s a marathon where I watch 3 or 4 films about love, get drunk, and look at how these films parallel my relationships. While a film about genetic clones used for medical purposes has NOTHING to do with my love life, the point where Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Kathy (Carey Mulligan) finally fall in love does. They fall in love after growing up together, and at times, apart, only to discover that it’s too late to save the relationship they have started. Tommy has donated organs too many times and will die soon. When you’re in love, you feel invincible. That nothing can happen to you because someone is right there by your side to help you and guide you along the way. The film introduces a morality we often forget and shows us that love, though the feelings and idea may always be forever, doesn’t have that same effect on people. That one day, our time will come and we’ll no longer physically be with the one we love. Tommy was lead away from Kathy by Ruth (Kiera Knightley) into a false love keeping them together so she could feel that sense on invincibility. But as they got older and that idea got farther and father away, they parted ways finally giving Tommy and Kathy a chance at love. A love, that was too late.
#4. CAST AWAY (2000)
Spoiler Alert, Tom Hanks escapes the island. But he brings along the only friend he’s had, a volleyball named Wilson. After a major storm, Tom falls asleep and Wilson rolls off the raft and begins to float away. Tom wakes up and discovers his friend is gone. He sees him floating away in the distance, leaps off the raft and goes after him. As Tom begins to shout after him, the saddest strings begin to play and you just know that Tom is too weak to save his best friend. I remember being in middle school and watching this on DVD and having to leave the room because I was crying so hard. To this day, I often times leave the room before that scene even happens.
#3. BLUE VALENTINE (2010)
Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling gave extraordinary performances in the film that was overlooked and underrated. The film explores the beginnings of new love while at the same time showing the ending decay of that love. Most of the film is tragic and leaves you with the knot in your stomach you get from crying too hard. There are too many moments to pick where I reach for a tissue or paused the movie to wipe my eyes and blow my nose. It’s a film that I want to watch again, but can’t commit to that much heartbreak. I truly believe if Williams and Gosling weren’t in the lead roles, the film wouldn’t have the same impact. You wouldn’t truly feel the heart in heartbreak. They bring a reality and genuine nature to it that could have gotten lost in translation as pure anger or spite.
#2. SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993)
Schindler’s List is a rough movie altogether. It’s about the holocaust so you know there isn’t going to be a gag reel during the credits. It’s not the tragedy or trials and tribulations the Jewish characters go through, but the heart breaking speech Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) gives as he looks around at those he was able to save. He cries because it’s not good enough. He starts to go through his possessions and look at their worth in the lives that he could have saved and to see a man, who changed his heart and saved so many, was broken that he could not save more. It’s a beautiful yet tragic moment that I will always remember.
#1. MANHATTAN (1979)
My favorite Woody Allen film begins with beauty and ends with an optimistic yet beautiful heartbreak. At the very end of the film, Woody’s character has one last conversation with a girl whom he left to be with someone else because the girl was 17 at the time and the other woman was closer to his age and somehow a polar opposite. Realizing the error in his ways, he rushes to the girls apartment and sees that she’s leaving for school in France. As he begins to beg and plead her to stay, the most moving violin section of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue begins to play. As soon as the bow hits the strings I’m done. I’m a complete wreck as she rationalizes her decision and what Woody needs to do to be able to truly love someone. The conversation ends, the full band strikes up and joins the violins in my favorite movement of the piece as it plays out over the Manhattan night sky.
What movies cause you to fight back tears?