Weird Movies That Made Me Cry

There’s a lot of weird movies that made me cry. Or tear up, anyway. I’m not a big crier, and in fact on occasion I’ve had to watch movies specifically to coerce myself into getting those waterworks going. A full-on blubbering mess is extremely rare, though–it’s usually just a few sniffles and a couple face wipes away.

But what movies trigger my tears can sometimes be a little off.

Of course, I cry at all the appropriate Pixar movies. Toy Story 3 ruined me, and Inside Out came real dang close to pushing me over the edge. Coco made me bawl for so long, just a blubbering mess sitting at a bus stop alone for half an hour afterwards–enough that I’ve been wary of rewatching the thing ever since.

Marriage Story, just like everyone else, destroyed me just the same. First Man was a crier pretty much the whole runtime, which kind of hurt the IMAX experience because I couldn’t see the screen too well in all those rocket scenes.

And of course I teared up at stuff like Furious 7 after Paul Walker died, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi after Carrie Fisher died. That last one is actually relevant to the upcoming listicle.

As for the weird movies that made me cry, they fall into a few broad categories, plus a few one-offs you might not expect:

Crying at the Beauty of Art & Life

Weird Movies That Made Me Cry

Sometimes, a movie can just be so beautiful, so wonderful, that it’s got me to shed some tears. Avatar: The Way of Water certainly was one of those; the underwater swimming scenes were absolutely breathtaking to the point my body wanted to join in on the action, I guess.

And not the Pixar movie you’d expect, but Soul of all things made me cry a little at the ending. Nothing sad, nothing bittersweet, but seeing the main character look around New York City and appreciate the world around him hit me in exactly the right place to affect me forever. If not for the pandemic, that thing woulda been an all-time pop culture classic.

And the movie Paterson, while having its sad moments, got me to tear up more for the quiet, simplicity of things. Dialogue-free beauty with characters just happy to be together and exist in their lives. It’s certainly high up there in the category of weird movies that made me cry.

Happy Old Man Movies

Weird Movies That Made Me Cry

Another weak point for me, not only in movies but pretty much all art, is just an old man getting a happy ending. Some old grandpa who’s been through some shit but gets to ride out into the sunset on his own terms.

Indy 5 last summer broke me in exactly that way–spoiler alert he gets a happy ending. There’s a lot of sad emotions mixed in there, but boy does it hit hard when everything works out for the guy. It was such a quiet, simple way to close the chapter on this 40-year franchise that I couldn’t believe they just let it happen. It worked so well… And gosh that movie is going to be so well-regarded after all the anti-Disney backlash fades.

Similarly, The Old Man and the Gun is a pretty light-hearted, happy movie, which is weird for a film about a bank robber on the run from the law, but everything just works so well that it was added rigt into my list of weird movies that made me cry.

And a kind of bizarre one, but Ready Player One had that too. I guess it’s not quite as happy, since James Halliday literally dies before the film even begins, but thanks to movie magic, we get one last scene with him that wrecks me every time I watch. “Thanks for playing my game.” I feel my eyes watering up just thinking about it… Mark Rylance really is one of our best men

Very Weird Movies That Made Me Cry: Nostalgia Cry

Have you ever cried from sheer nostalgia alone? It’s that feeling that the Japanese called mono no aware, where the sense of time passing and slipping away and things growing and changing can just evoke a strong sense of emotion and it works oh so well on me over the years. As a teacher and as someone who’s had to say goodbye to thousands of students at dozens of schools, it’s sure got me.

The Ghibli movie Only Yesterday, which I consider my second-favorite of the bunch, doesn’t really have anything sad at all, but the whole film’s about a woman remembering her elementary school life and reflecting on what’s changed and what hasn’t. On a couple watches, it’s got me really choked up a little. Interestingly, another Takahata film Pom Poko has a scene where our tanuki protagonists try to intentionally invoke mono no aware to save themselves from human development, and it doesn’t even work–that’s the saddest shit ever for me.

And isn’t it kinda weird that I teared up once at the original Spider-Man? A movie I’d seen dozens of times as a kid? The nostalgia of seeing this movie I loved but hadn’t seen for fifteen years just hit me weird for some reason.

Starcrossed Cry

Weird Movies That Made Me Cry

You know me and the kind of author I am.

So you should know that a movie like The Half of It was always gonna make me cry. There’s something powerful about characters trying for love when fate itself wants to pull them apart.

Recently, I saw Top 3, and while it didn’t make me tear up, it easily could have. I really recommend that one especially since it’s free on Tubi.

Last of Weird Movies That Made Me Cry

I did this one to myself. When Carrie Fisher died on Christmas 2016, I felt an overwhelming wave of sadness. I needed some sort of release immediately, and I didn’t want to turn to friends about my parasocial grief. So I watched Carrie Fisher’s semi-autobiographical film Postcards from the Edge.

It’s one of the best movies ever made, a mother-daughter bonding film dealing with addiction, making it in Hollywood, and loving yourself. It’s deeply, resonantly a film about Carrie Fisher with all her trademark humor, and I should NOT have watched this just after she died. I was crying through the very first scene. And the next. And the next.

A 90-minute comedy, thanks to the real-world context, has morphed into the movie that will most easily send me into a flurry of tears. I’m not sure this would ever be the case for 95% of viewers. But for me, this is the saddest thing ever. And I watched it BEFORE Debbie Reynolds died the day after her daughter.

Like, I just teared up writing this listicle entry. That’s how much it works on me.

I’m not a big crier, but I’ve cried at a lot of movies, huh.

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