Storytelling (film, TV and books) always have the ability to pull out emotions. But there are some great moments in stories that make me cry every, single time even when I know it's coming (because I've seen the film so many times). What constitutes a great tear-jerker? I couldn't say what it is specifically. Maybe it's the build up. Maybe it's the words. Maybe it's the acting. Maybe it's all those things combined ... but here are my top tear-jerker moments.
Terms of Endearment--when Aurora goes absolutely nuts and demands the painkillers for her daughter. Her utter desperation and pain is so conveyed. I know this scene is coming and here we go: tears! Gets me every single time without fail.
The Color Purple--when after so much longing, pain and loss, Nettie FINALLY gets her kids back. The moment when they show up off in the hazy, farm field distance ... yep! Here come the tears. Then she stands in the field in the end scene and they play the little girl hand game together. See! Tears! My eyes are watering.
Steel Magnolias--the depiction as portrayed by Sally Fields of a mother's loss and grief. When she finally loses all composure at the funeral and describes the last moments with her daughter, and how only a mother could bring that little life into the world and have enough strength to stand there and watch her child take her last breath. But even better is the funny offering to slap the grumpy woman played by Shirley Maclain (and may I point out Ms. Mcclain was in my other major tear-jerker, Terms of Endearment).
American Beauty--Lester Burnham's death and I'm going to let his words show you why I cry: I guess I could
be pretty pissed off about what happened to me. But it's hard o stay
mad when there is so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I
am seeing it all at once, and it is too much. My heart fills up like a
ballon that is about to burst. And then I remember to relax. And stop
trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain. And I
can feel anything but gratitude for every moment of my stupid little
life. You have no idea what I'm talking about do you? But don't worry
you will someday.
A River Runs Through It--the final words of the film get me every time: “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.
The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from
the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops.
Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
Shawshank Redemption--one sentence: get busy living or get busy dying.