I enjoyed reading Nick’s post and Lindsay’s list about movies that made them cry so much that I figured I would do the same. Since I’m so much manlier than Nick, only 5 movies make me cry as opposed to his 8, friggin’ pansy Here we go:
#5. Steel Magnolias (1989):
Look, we all know a movie like this was going to wind up on my list. Steel Magnolias narrowly beat out Beaches for my top 5. The whole cast is stellar in this classic, but what really does it for me is the mother-daughter relationship of M’Lynn and Shelby (played by Sally Fields and Julia Roberts, respectfully). They had their ups and downs but when (spoiler alert) Shelby dies, M’Lynn (and everyone whose ever seen the movie) loses it at the funeral. What a makes Steel Magnolia remarkable is that instead of letting the audience stew in that good cry, it breaks the sorrow with some levity offered by Olympia Dukakis and Shirley MacLaine. If only punching Ouiser was the answer to all of life’s problems….
#4. Imitation Of Life (1959):
Speaking of mother-daughter relationships, I couldn’t dream of making a list about movies that make me cry with talking about Imitation Of Life. Before I even seen the movie I knew about its power to make grown men weep. In 8th grade my Social Studies teacher had a whole unit on Black actresses for Black History Month. He started talking about Imitation and Juanita Moore (who was nominated for an Oscar that year) and he began to weep, so much in fact that he had to leave the room, true story. What makes Imitation such a tear jerker is the relationship between Moore’s character, Annie, and her ungrateful snot of a daughter, Sarah Jane. Annie was dark-skinned maid and Sarah had light skin that allowed her to pass for White; Annie became the bane of Sarah’s life and she shunned her every chance she got. That is until (spoiler alert) Annie dies and has the most beautiful funeral and Sarah realizing how much her mother loved her runs up screaming “Mommy!” while clinging for dear life to her coffin.
#3. How To Die In Oregon (2011):
How To Die In Oregon is a documentary about the assisted suicide act in Oregon that allows terminally ill patients to end their lives with dignity and on their own terms. What really tears at the heart strings is that they tell this story through a woman who is making such a choice. The movie chronicles her last days leading up to her decision. A particularly poignant part of the film is when she celebrates her last Christmas and she’s teaching her son how to make her famous brownies because she won’t be there next year. This documentary was so moving to me because this woman reminded me so much of my mom with how giving and caring she was, I’m tearing up just thinking about it.
#2. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001):
A.I. stars Haley Joe Osmet (before career-crippling puberty) as an automated robot boy who is created to love unconditionally. He is purchased by a couple whose real son was in an accident that left him in a coma. When the kid comes finally comes to, they ditch the robot in one of the most tear-worthy scenes in cinema. Osmet frantically clings to his “mother” just wanting to be loved and she pushes him away. This sets him on a quest to become a real boy so that she will love him as much as he loves her. Powerful.
#1. The Color Purple (1985):
Here it is my number one, me and my closest friends and family can sit around and talk to each other in quotes from The Color Purple, it is one of my favorite Spielberg movies. Usually when people talk about the cry factor of The Color Purple it is usually in reference to the story of Celie, played superbly well by Whoopi Goldberg, whose life was pretty tough. But what really does it for me in The Color Purple is the story arc of Ms. Shug Avery, played by the gorgeous Margaret Avery. Shug was the daughter of the town preacher who was spirited and talented, but lost her way in the glittery lights of show business leaving her parents to care for her children. Shug tries to reconcile with her father with little avail until one day while singing at the local juke joint she hears the voice of her daughter singing one of her songs in church. Feeling swept up in her emotions, she runs to the church singing and burst through the chapel doors and hugs her father, who finally accepts his prodigal daughter. This movie makes me cry because it shows how we are all looking for love or some type of acceptance from our parents, no need to beat you over the head with how that pertains to me. To close out the scene, Shug whispers in her father’s ear, “see daddy, sinners have a soul too.” They sure do Shug, they sure do.