Emotions, those precious pests. They wiggle their way into everything, don’t they? Sometimes, when watching a movie, they manage to creep behind our eyelids and poke around until we start leaking from our faces.
Having watched hundreds of movies that have triggered a landslide of sentiments, I thought picking out only three tearjerkers would be mission impossible. So, I decided to focus on movies that made me laugh as hard as they made me cry. This is what I came up with.
He brought us Four Weddings and a Funeral, made us watch Love Actually every year since its release, and now director Richard Curtis delivers another hit, which will make your lip quiver as you sob at sporadic intervals. At least that was my experience. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for flicks with a “what-if” premise.
The story is centered around a guy called Tim, who at age 21 learns from his eccentric father (Bill Nighy) that the men in his family share the ability to travel back in time. After the initial shock subsides, Tim does what any youngster in his right mind would do and uses his superpowers to fix a New Year’s kiss gone wrong. From then on, a stream of bizarre yet ridiculously romantic events unfolds.
Take a surprising love story plot, add a splash of sci-fi with a lush dose of Englishness, and you’ve got yourself a weeping good time.
The casting is great, the storyline is unpredictable, the fresh take on time travel is awesome. But what moved me most were the little things in between that made me relive the special moments I’ve spent with the important people in my life and wonder how things might have played out differently if given the chance to do it all again. If you haven’t seen About Time, it’s about time you did. Also, a re-watch and a re-cry are inevitable. You have been warned.
The Fault in Our Stars
This one struck a particularly sentimental cord with me. Backstory: My mother used to work at a pediatric hospital. For decades, she would come home with the most heart-wrenching but also inspiring stories of kids who’ve been dealt a terrible hand. I bought her a novel by John Green, which I felt had very relatable subject matter. The gift was spot-on, because it’s about two teenagers, their struggle with cancer and the way fate brings them together.
The movie sheds light on some of life’s most tragic possible scenarios, but does so in an incredibly fulfilling way. Expect a downpour of very strong emotions.
The ecranisation of Fault in Our Stars was just like I imagined it when reading the book. Funny, sad, sarcastic, optimistic, shocking, dark, raw, eye-opening, exceptionally tearful. Hazel, a young girl with a bad diagnosis, joins a cancer support group where she meets a boy (Gus) with a tragic tale of his own. They set out on an adventure that takes them down a path of unexpected discoveries which will make you chuckle and give you a serious lump in the throat. It truly puts things into perspective and I’m sure you’ll be hugging your loved ones tighter than ever after the credits roll.
Life is Beautiful
Directed by and starring the legendary Italian actor Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful (La vita è bella) is a masterpiece that has a lasting effect on anyone. It’s undoubtedly among my all-time favorites. If you don’t sob like a baby, you’re probably a robot. I, for one, am hardly holding back tears as I write this.
Guido, a charismatic Jewish librarian, is sent to a concentration camp during the Holocaust with his son. To make this terrifying ordeal not only bearably but even exciting, Guido uses his limitless imagination and goes to fantastic lengths to shield his little boy from the tragic reality that surrounds them.
He does exactly what any parent would hope to be able to do in such unthinkable circumstances: protect their child from the monsters.
Just like the father in the movie, Benigni transports his audience into an alternative state of mind, a fantasy that generates a concoction of feelings beyond what is being witnessed onscreen. He invites us to walk an extremely thin line between humor and immense tragedy. You can’t help but laugh at his creative shenanigans while your soul aches because you know the bravest of faces could never mask the cruel reality of the situation.
After watching a movie that got you thinking and you retreat to the bathroom for some alone time, please remember, my dearest reader, that crying is medicinal. Let dams burst, let rivers flow, release whatever is bottled up inside, and by the end, hopefully, you can say that life indeed is beautiful.
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