Sometimes we all just need a good cry or a sad story. It’s healthy and cathartic to watch or read something truly heartbreaking every once in a while. If you find yourself with some extra time on your hands and in need of a woeful tale to spark those emotions, here are some great movies, TV shows, and books that will undoubtedly make you cry, or at least get close.
Dallas Buyers Club is just an absolute heartbreaker of a film. The movie stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto as AIDS patients in 1980s Texas. They are desperate to find a treatment for their advanced disease and are faced with all kinds of roadblocks. The two characters come from completely different worlds and yet find themselves bonded through shared experiences. The film explores the AIDS pandemic in a way that is both heartbreaking and enlightening. If this movie doesn’t make you cry I don’t know what will. Dallas Buyers Club isn’t just good for a good cry though. It’s also a downright excellent film that won several Academy Awards. It’s available to stream on Netflix.
A Star Is Born (2018) starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga is another movie that is impossible to get through without full-on sobbing. It’s a story full of heart about two singers who fall in love and face the troubles and tragedies that often come with stardom. A Star Is Born is another movie that garnered a ton of awards including eight Oscar nominations. It deserved every one. Not only is this an excellent sad story, but it’s worth watching for Lady Gaga’s voice alone. You can watch this iconic Hollywood love story on Hulu or HBO.
Anna Karenina is a film that’s based on a Russian classic novel of the same name. The novel is a lot to get through for most of us. Unless you like very longwinded descriptions of farming in 19th century Russia. The movie is a great alternative if you want to skip all of those parts but still experience one of the most tragic love stories of all time. Keira Knightly stars as a high society wife of a Russian imperial minister. She creates a significant scandal by having an affair with a cavalry officer. It does not end well, and you will likely cry over it. This one is also on Netflix for your streaming pleasure.
In sixteen seasons of Greys Anatomy, there is something that will make you cry at least once in every single season. Often a lot more than once. This show has had more heartbreaking moments than it should be possible for one group of people to endure. If you just want really cry it out, binge-watch this show for a while. Sooner or later there will be something to wrench your heart out. I still have not gotten over so many of the tragic deaths that Greys Anatomy brought into my life. Whenever I need to see some A+ medical drama and cry about some insane things, I turn straight to this show. Both Hulu and Netflix have this show available for streaming.
The Haunting of Hill House is a truly remarkable show that blends grief, trauma, and the supernatural seamlessly. The show follows the Crain family, in both the past and present, as they grapple with a house, the supernatural, and their own mental health. It will keep you on your toes until the very end. Then it will send you unceremoniously into a puddle of tears. The Haunting of Hill House beautifully plays with its viewer’s emotions, and the characters are so well done that by the end you feel so attached to the family that the sadness seems real. Stream it on Netflix if you dare.
When They See Us is based on a true story, which is what makes it so deeply heartbreaking. The show follows the story of The Central Park Five. They are five young boys of color who were accused of raping a jogger in 1989. When They See Us follows the trial, conviction, and eventual exoneration of these young men in a truly sad story about how our justice system handles race. This one will make you cry because this story is real, the pain is real, and the issues it deals with are unfortunately also very real. When They See Us is available to stream on Netflix.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini ($13.99 on Amazon) is the story of two young boys of very different social classes. They are living in Kabul on the eve of a seriously unstable period of Afghanistan’s history. Both boys experience hardships that no one should ever have to experience as they grow into men under such difficult circumstances. I strongly believe this is a story everyone should read, even if it made me cry like a baby.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah ($8.29) truly had me openly crying in the middle of a kids karate lesson. It was embarrassing. I wanted to tell everyone giving me weird looks that if they’d read it, they’d understand. Set in World War II-era France, the story follows two sisters Vianne and Isabelle as they try to navigate their war-torn lives. It’s a situation they handle in very different ways. The Nightingale is an engaging, poignant piece of historical fiction that I highly recommend reading, although maybe not in public.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah ($10.57) is completely different from The Nightingale. Except for the fact that both are so bone achingly sad that there is no way to stop the tears. I learned my lesson on Kristin Hannah and made the wise decision to read this one in a private place. I also finished it in one weekend because it was just that good. The story follows Leni Allbright and her very dysfunctional family as they move way off the beaten path to the wilds of Alaska. In Alaska, Leni finds both love and indescribable loss as she fights for survival, both inside her home and out of it. This book is truly one of the saddest books I’ve ever read. Let me tell you, you will you have a good cry over it.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower ($17.19) is also a movie, but both the movie and the book have a similar emotional power that will leave you in a puddle. The touching coming-of-age story follows Charlie through letters that he writes as he tries to navigate the horrible pain that is high school. Charlie’s story is sad, but it’s also uplifting in a strange way and will leave you smiling through the tears in the end.
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