Do you ever wake-up one day with a perpetual grimace that you can’t seem to shake off?
You can just feel the muscles of your face drooping and you wonder if this is going to cause premature wrinkles before you’re even 30. There is a weight to your heart and its pull is stronger than gravity, pulling you not only towards the ground but deep under it, where you wish to be buried.
Maybe it was a bad fight with someone you love the day before, maybe you just got some bad news about work, maybe it’s absolutely f*cking nothing. But you just can’t help but feel like the world is sh!t and that there is ultimately no point to your existence.
Well, if you have felt that way or if you are currently feeling this way, sometimes you just want to wallow in that sadness.
If today’s that day, let me help you by providing 10 movies that will make you feel even sadder after you watch it because we’re self-sabotaging and sadistic that way. Also, sometimes, sharing pain albeit with a film is better than being force fed positivity.
The movies listed are ranked from mildly sad to crying in a foetal position on the floor. Enjoy.
1. The One I Love
Hello, are you having a difficult time in your relationship? Do you want to question everything about love, marriage and commitment? Are you interested in feeling like romance is pointless and in the end we are all searching for someone to make us feel good about ourselves due to our own self-gratification? Well, you have come to the right place.
The One I Love details the turmoil of a married couple and their desperate attempt to save their tempestuous marriage. Ethan and Sophie (played brilliantly by Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss) head to an idyllic cottage vacation to escape their troubles. However, there is more to this seemingly perfect destination than meets the eye and the couple are forced to come head-to-head with the darkest and most grotesque parts of their marriage.
This movie has elements of surrealism and sci-fi that intertwine seamlessly with a very realistic plot of a dying relationship between two people who grew out of love with one another. The acting is incredible with undeniable chemistry between the two leads and the cinematography is simplistic but entrancing. Overall, this movie will leave you wondering, “What if?”
Oh God, I feel like crying just thinking about this movie. Lilting is a much more devastating tale of loss and grief. It details the sequence of events that take place after the protagonist, Richard, is faced with the sudden death of his lover, Kai. Kai, being of Chinese-Cambodian descent, has a strict and conservative mother, Junn, who is completely unaware of her son’s sexuality. To make matters worse, his mother disapproves of Kai’s ‘friendship’ with Richard because he is white.
Combining the racial dichotomy, language barrier and shared grief over a loved one, Richard and Junn try to fill the gaping hole in each other’s hearts by connecting over their affection for Kai but the process is arduous and filled with devastating moments. Staying true to reality and depicting real-life emotions after a sudden passing, Lilting truly tugs at your heartstrings and makes you pick up your phone to text your loved ones, “Hey, dah makan belum? I love you,” to which they will reply with suspicion, “Okay, what do you want?”
All in all, the gorgeous cinematography and melancholic atmosphere makes this overlooked gem a true tear-jerker especially within the third act.
3. Grave of the Fireflies
If you’re uncomfortable with ugly-crying, skip this one. Grave of the Fireflies has been deemed the saddest Ghibli movie by fans and for good reason. Set in the final months of World War II, this anime follows the protagonist, a teenage boy named Seita and his little sister Setsuko. After their mother has been killed by air raids in Japan, the two are left homeless which forces Seita to provide shelter and food for his younger sibling.
A heart-wrenching and honest look into the aftermath of war and the depletion of faith, Grave of the Fireflies has a sadness that lingers and resonates with you even years after you’ve watched it. It has solidified itself as one of the saddest movies of all time because of its amalgamation of the turmoils of war as well as the insurmountable grief that comes into fruition immediately afterwards. Seeing Seita’s innocence and whimsy ripped apart as he struggles to become an adult for the sake of his little sister is one of the most tragic sequences in film history.
And goddamn it, why did Setsuko have to be so cute?
You know those tears you shed when you’re angry that feels like hot lava coming out of your eyes? No? Well, you’re about to know. Enter Silenced, the most infuriating and devastating movie I have ever seen. Nothing has ever come close to this film’s intensity, tragedy and reflection of corruption in our justice system. Based on actual events (yeah, abysmal) that took place at Gwangju Inhwa School for the hearing-impaired, this story details the heartbreaking confessions of deaf children who were repeatedly sexually assaulted by the faculty members in the 2000s. Sounds heavy? That’s because it is, unbearably so.
Beautifully acted and aptly shot, Silenced is a heartache from start to finish. To be completely honest, there is not one single redeeming moment or bright shining light in this film. The entire runtime is drenched in dark colours and murky settings that perfectly encapsulate the desolation that the characters are facing, especially the lead, Kang In-Ho, who is a newly appointed teacher at the school. His determination to unravel the tragic history of the sexual assaults and bring the perpetrators to justice catalyses the film and results in a jaw-dropping ending.
Silenced is the kind of film that grips you to the point of breathlessness and by the end of it, your face is red and you realise you’ve been clenching your fists for 45 minutes straight. It’s a fantastic film, but I know I will never watch it again. My poor weak heart can’t take it.
5. Other People
This movie is very personal to me because it depicts a family undergoing the dejection that comes when a loved one is diagnosed with terminal cancer. I’m sure a lot of people have dealt with their fair share of death and loss due to this illness so this movie might not be for everyone. Other People feels so personal to the director and it shows through the nuanced family scenes and the incredibly private moments that are spent in the dead of night at emergency room corridors. It is painful to watch but so damn rewarding.
The performances by Jesse Plemons and Molly Shannon truly take your breath away as we watch versions of ourselves in the screen, going through moments that we know were so painful to overcome. However, throughout the film, the chemistry between all characters flourish in whip-smart banters and exuberant family gatherings filled with laughter to mask the impending death. Thank God for the comedy because without it, this movie would be unbearable for me.
The true reward is the visceral and complicated feeling of “It’s fine, yet it’s not, but it will be” that we all are familiar with for one reason or another. It’s a feeling of triumph if you will and we all deserve a win in our shitty lives. Also, you’ll never listen to ‘Drops of Jupiter’ by Train without crying ever again…
6. The Land Before Time
Here’s a throwback for you! Who here watched this movie during their childhood and remembers that one scene… You know, the one where Disney animators basically said “f*ck it” and killed the protagonist’s, Littlefoot, mother off and let him watch her as she died. Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler since it’s in the summary of the plot. Disney, you guys are sick! But boy, does it make for an impactful childhood memory where you’re clutching to your mom for dear life much to her bemusement.
To be really honest though, this movie holds a lot of sentimental and nostalgic value to me because it is one of the first few films I remember watching with my parents. The Land Before Time, for the uninitiated *coughs* uncultured *coughs*, is about an orphaned brontosaurus named Littlefoot who embarks on a journey to the Great Valley alongside his other dinosaur pals in search for a sustainable place to live after an earthquake shakes their home.
Filled with endearing sequences depicting friendship and hardships, The Land Before Time is a classic tale of overcoming obstacles and coming out on the other end, thriving. Many people deem this movie as their first taste of redemption because of the complex arcs the characters had to go through. It’s safe to say that this incredible animation has stood the test of time and will continue to be one of the best and saddest movies from my childhood.
But enough from me! Here are picks from my bros and sistas at JUICE…
7. Reign Over Me (Ammar‘s pick)
Adam Sandler gives one of his best dramatic performances in Reign Over Me. His character Charlie, is a man who’s in pain, who’s lost everything. Don Cheadle plays Alan, Charlie’s old college mate and their renewed bond gives both men strength during a turning point in their life. (Thanks Wiki for giving me a great summary).
The way Sandler inhibits a hopeless broken man, you can’t help but to root for the guy to get better and he delivers one of the best lines in the film, “I have no one. At least you two have each other,” and it’s so great seeing the dynamic of both Sandler and Cheadle’s. Men can feel sad and lost too, and it’s okay for men to talk about their feelings, bro!
The title is actually a tribute to The Who’s ‘Love, Reign O’er Me’ which Charlie listens to every time he has a panic attack.
It’s about loss, hope and how beautiful a friendship can be. You best believe I shed a tear.
8. About Schmidt (Ben‘s pick)
What makes a ‘sad movie’ truly sad? Is it heart wrenching scenes of lost love or loved ones due to the protagonists’ own sacrifices or mistakes? Does suffering have to be integral to a ‘sad movie’ and if so, shouldn’t the pain be reflective of our own?
In About Schmidt, what makes reality for most of us—urban dwellers tied to a job for most of our lives until we retire, and then what?—is explored by the titular character, play by veteran Jack Nicholson, who has been unhappily married for the most part and is brooding over the forthcoming wedding of his daughter. When his wife suddenly dies, he finds love letters to her from his best friend, and is inspired to try and stop the wedding, going on a road trip in his new Winnebago to do so.
Along the way, as all good road movies entail, the life-changing characters get into sticky predicaments—like wet and wild with Kathy Bates—and experiences some of what he missed out in his younger days.
The movie’s narrative is guided by a series of humorous corresponding letters between Schmidt and Ndugu Umbo, a small Tanzanian boy whom he randomly decides to ‘adopt’ via a TV advertisement.
A depressing film it is but not defeatist, despite his old age, Schmidt comes off more as a fallen fighter than a senior citizen (though he’s an insurance actuary). From watching the seconds tick away in his office on his last day, to the cathartic ending, Schmidt’s journey is a reminder to us to live and love while we still can.
9. Roma (Kid’s pick)
Alfonso Cuaron’s cinematic masterpiece wowed audiences and even received an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for 2018. Shot entirely in black and white in 1970s Mexico City, this slow-burn character dissection is a feminist manifesto that examines the lives of women and their tribulations. From the eyes of a struggling wife fighting for the affection of her husband to the perspective of domestic workers seeking a meaning beyond the constraints of their job, this movie details a poignant journey of heartache and turmoil.
It’s safe to say that the men in this film are- ladies say it with me- trash! You see the way the women’s companions completely abandon them and disregard their need for agency. Especially that wannabe samurai bastard… Oof, I hate him!
A complex panoply of razor sharp emotions that cut deep into our personal lives, Roma is not only masterfully shot but beautifully told. Take it from JUICE illustrator, Kid, who shamelessly cried during the third act.
10. Inside Out (Karissa‘s pick)
Just look at this dude, all pink, fluffy and innocent. You are the cause of our tears!
Inside Out is a movie that takes our nostalgia and exploits the hell out of it. Playing on all the right strings such as uprooting from our hometown to a faraway place, feeling alienated, growing out of old habits, losing our winsome innocence, and dealing with mature conflict, this Pixar gem portrays all of the protagonist’s, Riley, tumultuous emotions through 5 characters, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear.
As we navigate through Riley’s emotions, we are joyfully and sorely reminded of our own childhood memories. The way in which Inside Out mimics the nuances we deal with in our lives into a relatable, endearing and fantastical plot is truly an act of genius. The 5 characters mentioned are all fully-fleshed out and drive a lot of the story forward, acting as Riley’s guardian angels, if you may. This interesting addition to an already nostalgic and concrete story makes Inside Out stand out amongst Pixar’s other heavyweights.
A unique premise, an emotionally engaging story and a SAD AF plot twist, this movie made me bawl in the cinema!
So, if you have made it this far, I hope you’ll grab some tissues and a tub of ice cream–Ben & Jerry’s has a great selection–and binge watch some of our saddest picks. However, let me warn you that a day of productivity is not ahead of you because how can you work with tears blurring your vision?
For more movie picks, click here.