55 Films That Will Bring Tears to Your Eyes

55 Films That Will Bring Tears to Your Eyes

June 7, 2024

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Sometimes a good cry is just what the soul needs, and these films are guaranteed to evoke a torrent of emotions. From heart-wrenching dramas to poignant love stories and powerful character journeys, it’s time to be moved, inspired, and deeply touched as we explore the films that have the power to bring tears to your eyes. Whether it’s tears of joy, sorrow, or profound empathy, these stories will leave an indelible mark on your heart, reminding you of the beauty and fragility of the human spirit. Grab your tissues and prepare for an unforgettable cinematic experience.

51. Spoiler Alert (2022)

7.7

Country

United States of America

Director

Michael Showalter

Actors

Allegra Heart, Antoni Porowski, Ben Aldridge, Bill Irwin

Moods

Dramatic, Emotional, Heart-warming

It may seem like it’s targeted at a specific demographic, but Spoiler Alert is actually a universal tale about love, grief, and moving on. Jim Parsons affectingly plays Michael, a romantic and TV aficionado who has trouble separating fact from fiction. He views life as one big sitcom, but his cheery outlook is increasingly challenged by the tragedies he encounters, not least of which is the surprise diagnosis of his boyfriend Kit (Ben Aldridge). 

Spoiler Alert is very sweet, perhaps too sweet for some viewers, but if you enjoy the unabashed schmaltz of romantic dramas, then this comes highly recommended. Of course, for that extra fluff, Spoiler Alert is mostly set during the holidays, so it’s best to watch while cozying up with a loved one—just make sure you have spare tissues on-hand for those tearjerking moments.

52. The Official Story (1985)

7.7

Country

Argentina

Director

Luis Puenzo

Actors

Analia Castro, Andrea Tenuta, Aníbal Morixe, Augusto Larreta

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Depressing

Most people aspire to have families, deciding to form their own by marrying, bearing children, and if fertility makes that impossible, adopting one. The Official Story is centered on upper middle class Alicia, who’s already made the idyllic family life, with the last piece completed with her adoption of Gaby, but there are secrets held from her, or rather, there are realities that she chose not to listen to because of the painful implications. Writer-director Luis Puenzo juxtaposes the family secret to the violent ones the Argentine junta government kept from its citizens. It’s not a subtle comparison– Puenzo makes it obvious– but it’s an effective one, as Alicia has to reckon with the fact that she lies in bed with a stranger, as Argentina has to reckon with the remaining junta members and enablers.

53. Lucy and Desi (2022)

7.6

Country

United States of America

Director

Amy Poehler, Female director

Actors

Bette Midler, Carol Burnett, Charo, Desi Arnaz

Moods

Heart-warming, Inspiring, Romantic

Saying that the program I Love Lucy paved the way for television would be an understatement. Lucille Ball inspired a generation of female comedians, Desi Arnez blazed a trail for Latinos making it in America, and the show that they starred in broke records upon records, redefining what sitcoms could be at a time when no one took them seriously. 

Millions tuned into their love story as Lucy and Rick, but their real-life relationship as Lucy and Desi was just as compelling. It was complicated by jealousy, race, gender, and class, but it was also solidly grounded in true, enduring love. This documentary, directed by Amy Poehler, does well to tell us the couple’s truth without sensationalizing it. Instead of blowing things out of gossipy proportions, she zeroes in on the messy facts and weaves them into a nuanced, enlightening tale about marriage, celebrity, and fame. Thanks to Poehler, the story about Lucy and Desi is just as riveting as their legendary show. 

54. Mr. Dress-Up: The Magic of Make Believe (2023)

7.6

Country

Canada

Director

Robert McCallum

Actors

Andrew Phung, Bif Naked, Bruce McCulloch, Catherine Tait

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, Heart-warming

Just like with his mentor and contemporary, Fred Rogers, there are no dark secrets to Ernest Coombs’ earnest belief in giving children the space to be gentle and creative. Even with relatively little “drama” throughout the life of the man called Mr. Dressup, it’s still profoundly moving to see him put in the work to make the world a kinder place. Director Robert McCallum keeps this documentary exactly as straightforward as it needs to be, moving through Coombs’s life with total reverence but plenty of modesty—making sure not to inflate the idea of Mr. Dressup into something Coombs himself would have disagreed with.

In its act of honoring this person with an everyman personality and a trunk full of quaint costumes, the film also serves as a tribute to low budget educational television. Working within a very small studio, with simple puppets and no strict script to follow, Coombs and his friends found any way possible to stick to their original idea of teaching very young kids that being kind and communicating one’s feelings clearly were the best things one could achieve. Behind Mr. Dressup’s softness is a remarkable work ethic, a deep respect for children, and a commitment to thoughtful, universal values.

55. Secret Sunshine (2007)

7.6

Country

South Korea

Director

Chang-dong Lee, Lee Chang-dong

Actors

Cha Mi-kyeong, Do-yeon Jeon, Go Seo-hee, Jang Hye-jin

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Dark

For better or worse, death strikes us all, fast and unexpectedly. It’s tough enough if the death is caused by ill health or accidents, but when premeditated by another person– it can be easy to lose faith in a higher power. Secret Sunshine depicts a grieving mother trying to start a new life in the countryside, though certain events make it tough to fit in. There’s a well-meaning, long-term bachelor who’s interested in her, though she’s not ready to reciprocate, and there’s townsfolk that would like to invite her to their church, though she’s reluctant to join. There’s curious, gossipy neighbors ready to comment on her every action. Secret Sunshine reveals a darker layer to the countryside towns we retreat to to cope, but it also examines the ways we grieve, cope, and deal with forgiveness, in a community that would prioritize itself at the expense of what’s morally right.

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