Sometimes, you just need a good weepfest…

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is released in Irish cinemas this week, and promises to have audiences around the country leaving cinemas with tearstained faces. With this in mind, we decided to take a look back at some of the greatest weepies of recent years.

DANCER IN THE DARK

Bjork won the Best Actress award at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival for her role as Selma, a Czech woman who moves to the US with her son, dreaming of a better life. Selma often imagines song and dances numbers as she labours away at her factory job, but due to a degenerative condition, she is slowly going blind. After she is fired form her job after one such reverie, Selma confesses her troubles to her friend Bill, who in turn confesses he is broke. Knowing she cannot see him, Bill hides in Selma’s house and steals her savings, but things turn violent when Selma guesses who the thief must be.
Bjork’s accent may be all over the place in the movie, and you may have your reservations about watching a Lars Von Trier musical, but the final scene of the movie, where Selma imagines her life to be still like a Broadway show, even as she reaches her final hour, is a scene filled with dignity, courage and tragedy. This is one film that may have you singing, but you will be singing though your tears.

THE LION KING

Simba, a young lion, must find a way to survive in the wild after his evil uncle kills his father and leaves him for dead. Simba goes on to make friends with the comedic duo Timon and Pumbaa, but things are not going so well back at Simba’s home. Simba must find his courage and strength to sabe his family and friends from the evil Scar.
If you don’t cry when Mufasa dies, then I am sorry to tell you that you have a heart of stone. This scene is made even sadder by Simba believing that he is the cause of his father’s death. Simba’s grief and guilt are crushing and this simple scene is sure to have you wailing.

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD is the story of a young girl called Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), who lives with her father in on the fringes of society in a Louisiana area called The Bathtub. The area is populated with those who have chosen to live outside of the society around them, and they are filled with joy and wonder. As a storm approaches, however, Hushpuppy’s life is thrown into chaos with the destruction of everything that she holds dear.
Quvenzhané Wallis is a treasure in BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD; she carries the story and, through her amazingly mature yet beautiful voiceover, she manages to comment not only on her own society, but on life as a whole. The performance from this little girl is formidable and fascinating. She looks on the world with curiosity and weariness, and her anger and stubbornness are writ large across her face. Wallis is sincere, feisty and real, and her revelations and loss through the film are sure to have you crying into your popcorn.

E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL

E.T. is a film that scarred many of our childhoods; first it is an adventure between boy and alien, both as lost as one another, but when the government discovers E.T. has come to Earth, they track him down and wrench him away from his new friend Elliott.
There are so many scenes in E.T. that will reduce audiences to tears; when he is taken away from Elliott and when he gets sick, but the saddest of all is when E.T. finally gets his lift home, and tells his young friend to ‘Be good’. Bittersweet and beautiful.

FINDING NEMO

Marlin the clownfish is an incredibly protective father, and when his young son Nemo is captured by a fisherman, Marlin sets out on an epic journey across the ocean to save his son from a fate worse than death. Along the way, Marlin makes friends with Dory, a forgetful blue tang, and the two make an unlikely pair as they travel through unknown parts of their world.
OK, OK, we know that the first 10 minutes of UP are perhaps some of the most heartbreaking moments in cinema, but the friendship and loyalty that springs up between Dory and the standoffish Marlin is just lovely and Dory’s line at the end of the film; “I look at you, and I’m home” are some of the happiest and saddest words ever uttered in a Pixar movie.

Honourable mentions to: BEACHES, TITANIC, MY GIRL, MOULIN ROUGE and STAND BY ME.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is released in Irish cinemas on June 20th 2014

Words: Brogen Hayes