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The Crying Game

Tuesday 10 January 2012, 14:48

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

There's an interview with Steven Spielberg on the Kermode and Mayo's Film Review show this Friday.

He's talking about his new film War Horse and among the subjects we cover is the emotional business of crying in the cinema.

What I want to know is what films have made you cry - not just the obvious tearjerkers mind you - and why?

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    Comment number 1.

    A simple answer to your question is: Grave of the Fireflies. That film, nearly every time I watch it, has the power to destroy me, reducing me to a bumbling mess of tears, and literally feeling as if I've been hit by a train. Even thinking about it now, as I write this comment, is enough to make me well up.

    On another note (and this is perhaps strange in retrospect but...) Terminator 2: Judgement Day. As a kid, watching Arnie as the Terminator lower himself into the lava pit and giving Eddie Furlong that last thumbs up was enough to make me a wreck. Sadly, doesn't seem to have the same effect now...

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    Comment number 2.

    I'd have to say "Paths of Glory" by Stanley Kubrick.

    I often hear people talking about how Kubrick movies lack emotion. And I had no problem with that.
    Then one night i sat down to see Paths of Glory. Boy where thay wrong! When I saw the ending I cried at least two minutes after the film was over. I couldn't sleep because i was thinking about those soldiers. A beautiful and realy emotional movie by one of the greatest directors of all time!

    Best wishes from Serbia!

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    Comment number 3.

    Field of Dreams, every single time without fail I blub at the ending. Having lost my father a few years ago this film without a doubt not only helped me through a traumatic time,but also showed me how close a bond every boy/man can have.
    Even as im writing this those words 'Dad wanna have a catch' are making me well up.

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    Comment number 4.

    One film that makes me cry every time is 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', specifically the scene where the beach house collapses during Joel's final memory. Everything about that sequence brings on tears, the score, the writing, the performances, and Kate Winslet whispering 'Meet me in Montauk'. Lots of manly coughs are required...

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    Comment number 5.

    For me many films have provoked tears, but the one that I found utterly devastating, that left me audibly blubbering after the credits had finished rolling was Life is Beautiful.
    The contrast between the first and second half of that film make what happens in the end all the more upsetting.

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    Comment number 6.

    Off the top of my head...

    The Skin Inside Me's conclusion had me welling up at the end when all is revealed, without wishing to give anything away.

    Same for much of Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (totally agree with Vidak, the man is extremely emotional when he chooses to be, in which raw humanity juxtaposes with a society that suppresses emotion with protocol), The Doom Generation's horrifyingly sad conclusion ('Amy! I love you!') which erodes all the sillier and repetitive bits in it and just shocks you into tears, Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant's coda in the bus station, the scene in Jubilee when a punk girl kicks a cop to death after she murdered Adam Ant (?), crying as she does so, The unexpected moment of vulnerability in A Fistful of Dollars when the man with no name mentions to a woman and her child he knew a woman like her once and couldn't rescue her, no details though...

    And, on another note, Little Miss Sunshine. The scene where Richard, the father, doesn't get his funding for his company, and his father - who spends the entire film badmouthing him - leans across and tells him 'you tried to do something on your own, which is more than most people can, and I'm proud of you'... I'm welling up inside thinking about that subtle, understated scene now

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    Comment number 7.

    Perhaps, more interestingly in my opinion, are there any film moments that can make you 'well-up' just *thinking* about them?

    Jenny Agutter's "Daddy, My Daddy!" in 'The Railway Children' will always do it for me (and I'm sure I'm not the only one).
    When it was on TV over Christmas I just saved myself the bother and left the room 10 mins before the end - though not before I again realised just how well-directed that movie is.

    Another one is the "Superman" moment in the wonderful 'Iron Giant'.

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    Comment number 8.

    "Awakenings" with Robin Williams + Robert DeNiro .
    DeNiro's character has ben in a coma / catatonic like state for years + is miraculously brought out of it by a drug the medical profession don't understand . The sight of him as the effects of the drug wear off + he starts to lose control of his body + revert back into a catatonic state is heartbreaking + has me in tears every time .
    Just thinking about it while typing this has got me welling up .

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    Comment number 9.

    I like crying with films, often I'll tear up a little, but it's rare that I REALLY cry. Those I can remember are
    Ghost - aged 8ish
    The Green Mile - aged 10/11
    A.I. - aged 11
    The Elephant Man - aged 12
    The Fly - aged 13, and since
    The Truman Show - aged 17
    The Orphanage - aged 18
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - aged 18, and countless times since
    Leaving Las Vegas - aged 18
    Toy Story 3 - aged 20, and since
    The Suitcase, an episode of Mad Men - aged 21. Three times in the same day, full-on tears.
    Phoenix, an episode of Breaking Bad - aged 21.

    Can't think of many more, there must be some.

    I teared up during Sex and the City 2, because it was so atrocious.

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    Comment number 10.

    I have to agree with Ahmed, it has to be "Grave of the Fireflies". I remember watching it as a 16 year old Akira fanboy and I ended up in tears for several minutes.
    Second is "The Orphanage". Both these films have the same effect on me even after several viewings.

    I think both these films do a fantastic job at being emotionally powerful without feeling manipulative like more popular american productions such as Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino or The Help.

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    Comment number 11.

    I wanted to place at least one scene in the list from the Toy Story series, but my choice wouldn't be, as is now common place, the ending of Toy Story 3 (as brilliant and moving as it was). No, my choice would be from the first Toy Story, in the scene where Buzz finally discovers he is a toy, but still attempts to jump out of the window, to free himself from Andy, and in determination to prove he is still almighty space ranger.

    The orchestration of Randy Newman's song 'I Will Go Sailing No More' that plays as Buzz tries and ultimately fails to escape truly had me weeping as an impressionable 5 year old, who really believed there was the possibility that BUzz Lightyear could fly. But final shot that pans out showing how miniscule Buzz is compared to the rest of the world, still has me bawling as a teenager, and will with no doubt continue to affect me as I reach adulthood.

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    Comment number 12.

    *But the.....pardon my english :)

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    Comment number 13.

    phoebe cates christmas speech in gremlins... is that wrong?

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    Comment number 14.

    Pan's Labyrinth made me shed a tear or two, the new Senna film, the Lives of Others and I have to agree with those who mentioned The Orphanage.

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    Comment number 15.

    can't believe no one's mentioned von Trier's Dancer In The Dark...

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    Comment number 16.

    ^ That Gremlins speech (which was shown on channel 5 at 4:00 in the afternoon) was where I found out there was no Santa Clause. THAT made me cry.

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    Comment number 17.

    The end of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", that music with the two events that occur still makes my bottom lip quiver even after seeing it dozens of times.

    Another film from Africa (might have been a TV movie) not sure of the title, saw it a couple of times on BBC2 way back in the early nineties, about two boys who runaway. One boy was white and one was black in apartheid Africa. I only really remember the end and won't spoil it here but it made me blubber too.

    That's about it really. The mark of a truly great film in my opinion is if it gets any emotional response from me at all. Doesn't matter what the emotion is but most films now are just mediocre.

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    Comment number 18.

    The first ten minutes of Up reduced me and my husband to floods. We'd been married for three years then and were still dealing with all the teething problems of marriage, so that sequence seemed so terribly beautiful and poignant.

    The 'first flight' sequence in How To Train Your Dragon had me sobbing, I think because I was still fighting bad bouts of depression at the time, and that sequence is so uplifting that it actually physically hurt for me to feel that happy. I still watch that film to this day when I'm feeling low.

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    Comment number 19.

    Moulin Rouge always makes me cry. I first saw it when I first went to uni and missing my then boyfriend, I blubbed like a baby all the way through. Edward Scissorhands also sets me off when Kim pretends he's dead to save him.

    I think what tends to get me is films where you know a character loses someone they love and can never see them again. It always sets me off!

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    Comment number 20.

    The film that made me cry the most recently was Gareth Edwards' Monsters, but it was'nt crying induced by tragedy. Rather, it was induced by the ability of the two central characters, through their shared humanity, to connect with each other and make life beautiful in the worst circumstances. This empathy was mirrored by the empathy I felt for such fully-realised characters, connecting me to them and bringing me into their joy.

    Surely this kind of joyous crying is very obviously the best experience you can have in a cinema?

 

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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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