Did you know that sad movies actually make viewers happier?
It seems almost sacrilegious to make a list like this in the face of such beautiful weather, but here we are. I feel like I should preface this by saying that I am, in fact, a very happy person. Promise. However, due to the fact that I have the emotional constitution of a cantaloupe, I happen to cry at anything and everything that hits me the right way. It’s something I have accepted and have come to laugh at (my friends laugh too, I’ll be honest). Getting emotionally invested in things—in the case of this list, fictional things—can be a great feeling. I love experiencing that empathy. I love being overwhelmed by something inexpressibly beautiful. I love being put briefly into the minds of other artists and creators and characters (after all, isn’t that why I’m a writer?).
Plus, sometimes you just need to sit back and feel some feels.
Without further ado, here are my picks—the five movies that have sent me bawling, ranked with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
5. Marley and Me
Level: Milk and Cookies
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. This ice cream is a fitting ranking for Marley and Me, as this movie takes you back to childhood. Childhood pets. Or current pets. Or any pet you happen to know. Really, if you like animals at all you’ll probably need more than a few tissues. This movie is deceptive in that it pretends to be a comedy until the last half hour, and even though everyone knows that dumb dog is going to die at the end, every viewer stays in resounding denial.
The feels? Pets, family, loss
Level: Imagine Whirled Peace
Because one of the main goals for the heroes in this movie, I suppose, is world peace. I believed they could accomplish it. Until they killed off my favorite character.
This movie is an exception to the list because there were very few tears actually shed on my part, but that was literally only because I was too affected to produce any. I could only sit there in complete shock as everything dissolved into chaos. Obviously I would recommend watching Firefly before seeing this movie, because the attachment to the characters is what makes this one emotional. Also the beauty of the last lines: “Love is what keeps her flying.”
The feels? Sacrifice, the unpredictability of war, love, freedom
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Why Late Night Snack? Because most of the tears for this movie came from its midnight premiere. I think it’ll be hard to explain to the next generation just how much of an impact these stories had on us, and how thrilling it was to sit in that theatre at midnight to see the last two hours of Harry’s journey. I was with a group of close friends—we all held hands as it started and ended, and, as the end of the movie neared and the realization of finality hit all of us one by one, we all started quietly sobbing in our seats. The whole thing was kind of an infectious affair; by the end of the movie, every single person in the theatre was in the same boat. This movie represents the end of an era, truly, and the last minutes of the film will conjure up (get it? Magic?) remembrances of that wonderful and beautiful journey.
The feels? Love, nostalgia, bravery, growing up
2. Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
Level: Chocolate Therapy
Never has an ice cream title been so suited to a movie. For those of you who have stuck only to the current rebooted Star Trek series and have not wandered into Trek past, the basic story is this: Into Darkness is a direct reboot of Wrath of Khan. The key difference here is that (spoiler) instead of Kirk kicking the bucket, Wrath of Khan features Spock entering the radiation chamber. Because I handled myself well in Into Darkness fairly well, I didn’t think Wrath of Khan was going to be a problem. I WAS SO WRONG. Whether you ship Kirk and Spock as a couple (allow me to introduce myself) or simply as good friends, the end of this movie is devastating. I know people have qualms about Shatner’s acting, but it is on point during the pivotal radiation chamber scene. That, coupled with the Tale of Two Cities quotes and the “I feel young again” ending, makes this movie unequalled in the “beautifully tragic” category. I was bawling through the credits.
The feels? Sacrifice, growing old, love, loss
1. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Classic. That’s what this one is. Everybody loves it. That’s why it’s chocolate chip cookie dough. If you were wondering.
To explain how I feel about this movie would be to bore all of you to death and to rehash things I’ve said a million times. Suffice it to say, I have yet to encounter a movie that makes me feel as many emotions as this one does, and I have yet to encounter a movie that makes me cry as much as this one does. I’ve always said: give me the second disc of the extended edition of this film, and that’s all I need to go through emotional cleansing. It’s not tragic in the sense that some of these other movies are, but the sheer beauty of the story and the characters and the cinematography and the music and the message is enough to send me weeping. In this case, I don’t cry because I’m sad (necessarily) but because I feel such intense love. And that is a beautiful thing.
The feels? Love, bravery, dedication, sacrifice, war, faith
Honorable mentions: Click, Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway, Les Misérables
What are your favorite Ben and Jerry’s films? What touches you the most? Whether it’s The Notebook or Fight Club, I want to hear! Comment below and, as always, see you next week!