We all have those days when our emotions seem to be overflowing at any and every minor strife. For instance, maybe Starbucks ran out of your favorite coffee. Yes it’s an inconvenience, but it’s not something you’d normally be brought to tears over and yet, there you are sobbing uncontrollably in front of a very uncomfortable barista.
It happens to the best of us, things pile up and we just vomit all of our emotions at once. Then the only thing we really want to do is curl up in a ball and have a good long cry. And why not? Who says we shouldn’t be allowed some time to wallow in self pity or be just be sad for no apparent reason?
Everyone has experienced a day like this and we’ve found that the best remedy by far, can be a large tub of cookie dough and a devastating motion picture that’s guaranteed to pull at our tender heart strings. So, next time you’re having one of those days/weeks/months or are just in need of a tear-jerker, grab your junk food of choice and hit play on one of these Netflix dramas.
1. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)
If you are a DiCaprio lover or perhaps a proud Johnny Depp groupie, this film should already be in your “sad day” arsenal. If it’s not, add it NOW. The heart-wrenching story of Gilbert (Depp) who, following his father’s death, must step up and take care of his mentally challenged brother (DiCaprio) and their obese mother is unforgettable. I still will never understand how DiCaprio didn’t receive an Oscar for his role in this film.
2. Forrest Gump (1994)
Next up is the classic tale of Mr. Forrest Gump. I’m going to safely assume that the majority of you reading this have seen Forrest Gump
at least a handful of times in your life, but if by some existential crisis you have managed to avoid this film, please watch it now. The many adventures Forrest has throughout his life will make you smile, laugh, and ugly cry like nobody’s watching.
3. Titanic (1997)
Of course, the tear-jerker of all tear-jerkers, Titanic, could never be overlooked for this list. If anyone denies having cried even once to this movie, they’re probably a dirty liar or lack some semblance of a soul. Seriously, how could you not? The tragic story of a sinking ship with a devastatingly beautiful romance between DiCaprio and Kate Winslet…does it get any more emotional than that?
4. Pay It Forward (2000)
Though ideal for a day spent down in the dumps, this movie is still a bit difficult for me to watch. Haley Joel Osment stars in one of his first films alongside Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt about a young boy who, after given an assignment by his teacher, attempts to create a plan that will make the world a better place.
5. Love Actually (2003)
Yes, this film may be in the spirit of Christmas and all things filled with holiday joy, but it’s still capable of inducing a good hard cry. Nine interconnected stories focus on the realistic complexities of love and the journey we all take to find that one person we are meant to be with. Needless to say, if you happen to be going through relationship troubles this might spark even more emotional overflow.
6. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
This Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet film is another solid choice for a good ugly cry. A couple goes through a devastating breakup and then decide to erase all memory of each other. Winslet plays the broken-hearted ex girlfriend of Carrey’s character who is determined to forget his existence altogether. When Carrey learns of this, he decides to do the same. Just when you thought your love life was complicated…
7. Rent (2005)
If you have a strong distaste for any form of musical production, this may not be the right film for you to emotionally purge during. That being said, if you even remotely enjoy musicals/broadway and the like, Rent is the rollercoaster of feelings you need. A group of friends living in New York City struggle with life, love, and AIDS and their future. We guarantee you’ll be singing along through tissues by the closing scene.
8. Atonement (2007)
Kiera Knightley fans or British war movie enthusiasts will enjoy this 2007 romantic drama following the tale of your typical star-crossed lovers in the midst of a dangerous war and one lie that could destroy both of them. You will absolutely need a nice bottle of wine and extra ice cream for this one, just speaking from experience.
9. Changeling (2008)
Any current or soon-to-be moms out there may want to steer clear of this Angelina Jolie drama. Changeling follows the story of a single mother Christine Collins (Jolie) living in Los Angeles in 1928 who comes home to find her son Walter has gone missing. When he returns 5 months later, Collins is overjoyed until she realizes it isn’t really Walter after all. This suspenseful thriller will have you clutching the edge of your seat and holding your breath until the very end. Not to mention, sobbing your eyes out every time Jolie cries on screen.
10. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas (2008)
The very first time I watched The Boy In The Striped Pajamas I was in middle school surrounded by my classmates who were desperately trying to understand how something as horrific as The Holocaust could have been real. That’s the most difficult part of viewing this film is knowing that it’s not far off from the truth. During WWII Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp befriends a young Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fences. Their friendship has shocking and unanticipated consequences that shed light on a dark part of history.
11. A Little Bit Of Heaven (2011)
Of all the films we’ve listed so far, this movie never fails to give me an uncontrollable sobbing fit. Literally, every damn time I watch it. Might as well get a box of tissues and some ice cream out because you’re going to need them. Kate Hudson plays a young woman who is diagnosed with late stage colon cancer and is trying to live her last days to the fullest. Along the way, she falls in love with her unbelievably gorgeous doctor and their romance carries them through the ups and downs of fighting a terminal illness.
12. One Day (2011)
Next up on our list of ugly cry-inducing films is One Day, a novel turned film starring Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway. Their characters, Dexter and Em, are college friends who spend the night together following graduation and agree to reconvene on the same date every single year to see how their lives are going. If you haven’t seen it yet, we’re not going to spoil it for you but you may want someone to hold you afterwards.
13. Fruitvale Station (2013)
If you have yet to see a film starring Michael B. Jordan, this is a great one to start with. Based on true events, Fruitvale Station is a tragic story of one man’s attempt to turn his life around for his family when an unfortunate run in with the police comes to a brutal end. You’re going to need wine, tissues, and something snuggly to hold on to.
14. Cake (2014)
Jennifer Aniston stars as Claire Bennet, a woman suffering from chronic pain who has driven most of the people she cares about out of her life. When another woman in Bennet’s support group commits suicide, she’s shaken to the core and is forced to take a look at the life she’s chosen to lead. Aniston gives an absolutely heartbreaking performance that may inspire you to become more introspective about your own life.
15. The Last Five Years (2015)
Last but certainly not least, The Last Five Years starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan is a drama-musical based on Jason Robert Brown’s original works. The story follows a young actress (Kendrick) and novelist (Jordan) who struggle with their intense love affair, each telling the story of their relationship from end to beginning, and beginning to end, respectively. So, if you’ve just gone through a break up, or other relationship troubles, this film is the perfect emotional purge.