I have the bad habit of starting to write posts, leave them in the drafts folder and sometimes forget about them. I started to write this post a long time ago, after watching “Me Before You”. That film made me cry sooo much, “like a fountain” as we say in Italy. I was sure I would have cried since I often do it, when I watch a moving film. And I don’t mind, it’s liberating. Tears are a relief valve!
So I decided to write about the films I love to cry for. Those films I watched many times, with a pack of Kleenex handy.
If you haven’t seen some of these films and you are in the mood for therapeutic crying I highly recommend them.
Atonement. Besides the green gown worn by Keira Knightly, considered one of the most beautiful dresses made for a film (actually, it was an ensemble that looked like a dress), “Atonement” is heartbreaking. Set at the time of World War I, it’s about the dramatic consequences of a lie told by a child, played by Saoirse Ronan. Director: Joe Wright (2007). Starring Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan, Vanessa Redgrave, Benedict Cumberbatch .
Dead Poet Society. I lost track of how many times I watched this film, which is one of my favorite films, ever. Its ending scene is one of the most beautiful and moving ones in cinema, in my opinion. It’s the story of a teacher who, through literature and poetry, inspire his students to live their lives according to their true ambitions. The consequences for one of them will be tragic due to the conflict with his intransigent, close-minded father. Director: Peter Weir (1989). Starring Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke.
The End of the Affair. A romance set during the WWII. As a huge lover of 1940s fashion, I find Julianne Moore’s costumes gorgeous so it’s a film to watch also for its wardrobe department, designed by Sandy Powell. The sex scenes are pretty ugly, to be honest, even ridiculous sometimes but the story is heartbreaking. The film is based on Graham Greens’s novel (which is a bit autobiographical) of the same title, written in 1951 and it’s the second adaptation for the big screen. The first, released in 1955, starred Deborah Kerr and Van Johnson. The soundtrack composed by Michael Nyman is so beautiful. Directed by Neil Jordan (1999), starring Julianne Moore, Ralph Fiennes and Stephen Rea.
Dear John. The film is an adaptation of Nicholas Spark’s novel of the same name (he’s the author of “The Notebook”, need I say more), so it’s a love story full of obstacles (the main ingredients of every love story, after all). Directed by Lasse Hallström (2010) starring Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum.
Revenge. It’s the story of a retired US Navy pilot who goes to Mexico to spend time with a wealthy and powerful friend but then falls in love with his unhappy wife (the wedding was arranged by her family). It’s one of my favorite films, ever. Directed by Tony Scott (1990), starring Kevin Costner, Madeleine Stowe and Anthony Quinn.
The Age of Innocence. This film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by Edith Wharton. I loved both the film and the novel and they both made me cry a lot. It’s another hindered love story, set in the nineteenth century. Whether it is a period drama about the wealthy bourgeoisie and its social rules or the story of a veteran of Vietnam and his loneliness, the way Martin Scorsese captures his beloved New York City is unique. If I’m not wrong, he described “The Age of Innocence” as his most violent film. Bloodless and beyond elegant, the violence of this film is all social and psychological, as the main protagonists’ life is like a gilded cage and they can’t escape from the conventions of their society. Directed by Martin Scorsese (1993), starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder, two of my favorite actresses.
The Pursuit of Happiness. This beautiful film always makes me cry. I admit I almost cried just watching this trailer. It’s the true story of Chris Gardner, a broke, homeless salesman who struggles to start a career in the world of finance, while he has to take care of his toddler son. Directed by Gabriele Muccino (2006), starring Will Smith (in one of his best performances) and his son Jaden Smith.
Imitation of Life. Another film I watched many times, also for Lana Turner’s fabulous wardrobe. Some consider it just a long, boring, overly sentimental film. Two single mothers, with one daughter each, met by chance. One is an aspiring actress, one is looking for a job and has no place to stay. It’s the beginning of a strong friendship. The film, the second adaptation of the novel of the same name written by Fannie Hurst, after the one of 1934, deals with race and class difference, since two of the protagonist are white, one is black and another is half black but always passes for white. Directed by Douglas Sirk (1959). Starring Lana Turner, Juanita Moore, Sandra Dee, Susan Kohner.
Umberto D. It’s a neorealistic masterpiece described by Martin Scorsese as “a great movie about a hero of everyday life”. It’s the story of a retired man who, broke and with no place to go since his landlady evicted him, decides to commit suicide but not until he’ll find a place for his beloved dog, Flaik. This is the film that made me cry the most in my life so I only watched once and trust me, I’m almost crying as I write about it. Directed by Vittorio de Sica, starring Carlo Battisti, a non-professional actor, and Maria-Pia Casilio, a famous Italian actress who just made her screen debut with this film. It’s a masterpiece but I warn you, it’s the most heartbreaking film I’ve ever seen.
The Reader. What a beautiful film! The first time I watched it I didn’t know anything about the plot. Set in three different times, it’s the story of a boy who, at 15 years old, starts a relationship with an older woman who suddenly disappears. He will find her some years later, accused of a war crime, and then again many years later, when he will face a part of his past he never forgot. Directed by Stephen Daldry (2008). Starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes.
If you have already watched these films, or some of them, let me know in the comments if they made you cry, too! And if you’ll watch them, let me know if you liked them. In Italy we use to joke about beautiful, dramatic films. If someone asks you if you enjoy a film and you answer “oh I cried a lot” it means you loved it!