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Spartan Girl

Best Movie Crying Scenes

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This might be a weird topic to start, but you have to give props to movies with people that can either cry really pretty or very realistically without sounding fake.

 

The first one that comes to mind is Dem Moore in Ghost.  She lets the tears fall without even scrunching up her face, and it never looks fake.

 

Then there's the flashback in Never Been Kissed when Josie gets eggs thrown at her in her prom dress.  Drew Barrymore started sobbing straight from the gut, and anyone that has gone on that hard of a crying jag will tell you that was completely sincere. 

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Schindler's List.

 

When Liam Neeson went to his knees at the end after losing it about how he could've saved more people.  I don't know why but I hadn't cried that entire movie until that part.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I don't think I've ever cried harder at a movie than I did when that happened.

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Schindler's List.

 

When Liam Neeson went to his knees at the end after losing it about how he could've saved more people.  I don't know why but I hadn't cried that entire movie until that part.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I don't think I've ever cried harder at a movie than I did when that happened.

 

It's never that part that makes me cry. It's the final montage of the survivors placing stones on Schindler's grave that gets me. When you realise that each of those people is alive only because of him, it really hits you.

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt crying in 50/50 really gets me. Both in the car when he's having that breakdown, and in the hospital where he finally lets his mother see just how terrified he is.

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It's never that part that makes me cry. It's the final montage of the survivors placing stones on Schindler's grave that gets me. When you realise that each of those people is alive only because of him, it really hits you.

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt crying in 50/50 really gets me. Both in the car when he's having that breakdown, and in the hospital where he finally lets his mother see just how terrified he is.

The scene in 50/50 is so heartbreaking.  You can hear his voice breaking as he calls out to Angelica Houston. 

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The opening scene of Truly, Madly Deeply, with Juliet Stevenson bawling in her therapist's office, is the most realistic crying scene I've ever seen in a movie, complete with the dripping snot.  It's ugly crying, the way people really look when they are that upset.

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The first ones that come to my mind are:

 

1. Shirley McClaine in Terms of Endearment when her daughter dies.  The way she grabs onto her son in law, even though she doesn't like him, and gasps "I'm so stupid...somehow I thought that when she went, it would be a relief." [paraphrased] just kills me every time.

 

2.  Sally Field in Steel Magnolias both when she's holding her arms out to her grandson as he toddles towards her on the sidewalk.  She'd just held her daughter's hand while she died and then drove straight to him at his other grandmother's house--those quiet tears and the way she clung to him were heartbreaking.  Then, in the cemetary when she finally broke down--you could really hear and see the devastation and anger she was feeling. 

 

3.  Matthew McConaughy in A Time to Kill.  It was quick, but there was a moment during his closing argument when he started to break down, but quickly pulled himself together.  It seemed very realistic to me.

Edited by Shannon L.
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It's not my favourite crying scene, but the first thing I thought of was Laura Dern at the hospital in The Fault in Our Stars. I won't go into specifics, but that really got me at the time. Which leads me to Shailene Woodley crying underwater in The Descendants. Brief, sure, but memorable.

 

Rachel McAdams pretending to cry in the principal's office in Mean Girls always cracks me up.

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I agree about the Shirley MacLaine, Liam Neeson, and Sally Field scenes mentioned.  Also on my list:

 

Mary Stuart Masterson when Ruth dies in Fried Green Tomatoes.  She and the director talked about the basic way they wanted to approach the scene - with Idgie over at the window telling the story, her back to Ruth (and the camera) until she's done - but the rest was up to her, and she nailed it.

 

Katharine Hepburn tearing up in Woman of the Year as Tess watches her father at long last marry the woman who is like a mother to her (while her own marriage is falling apart).

 

Heather Donahue in The Blair Witch Project.  I know it was much parodied, but I love the snot running down her face as she records her apologies to their families - she has realized they're going to die out there, and thinks it's her fault.  It's ugly, and that's how it should be.

 

Toni Collette in The Sixth Sense, when she realizes her kid can communicate with her dead mother and wants him to ask if she's proud of her.

 

Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice, as the daughter is taken away.  Silent crying at its best.

 

Susan Sarandon is a great crier in anything.  So is Gillian Anderson.

 

Child actors are usually bad at crying scenes, but Mae Whitman in Hope Floats when she realizes her dad doesn't want her and Anna Chlumsky in My Girl when she sees Thomas J. in the casket are brilliant exceptions.

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Alright not exactly the movie, but I was reading this old article that had famous screen tests (I'll have to post that elsewhere because some of them are just great) and the kid from ET is just incredible here...

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I'm uncomfortable watching men cry. For some reason it wrecks me a little more. The only thing coming to mind at the moment is Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon when he's holding that gun to his head.

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I watched Kill Bill Vol 1 over the weekend, and The Bride's breaking down over the loss of her child was one of those crying scenes that was both well done and very uncomfortable to watch.  The way she shakes as she reaches down to touch her now-flat stomach, that raw scream that breaks down into weeping...Uma Thurman just nailed it.

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I remember when I watched Good Will Hunting for the first time, Matt Damon's big breakdown scene made me sort of - uncomfortable, somehow, and I'm not sure if it was because it was realistic or because I felt like it was over the top. But he sure doesn't hold back.

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Mae Whitman in Hope Floats when she realizes her dad doesn't want her.

 

Aw man....always hard to watch, especially when you have abandonment issues.

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I don't even know the actor's name, but the guy playing Andy's brother in Philadelphia, when he breaks down saying goodnight (which he pretty well knows is actually goodbye) to Andy in the hospital and has to be led away by their mom.

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Mae Whitman in Hope Floats when she realizes her dad doesn't want her.

 

Yeah, that poor kid.  I still felt sorry for her, even though she acted like such a brat for most of the movie. 

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Yeah, that poor kid.  I still felt sorry for her, even though she acted like such a brat for most of the movie. 

That one scene saved the movie for me. It was just so gut wrenching. Little Mae did a great job although I always get distracted by her wiping her eyes through the lenses where glass is supposed to be.

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Emma Thompson at the end of Sense and Sensibility.  It's the tears of someone who held it in the whole movie and finally it rushes out...my favorite scene.  

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I just watched The Judge and the scene after the sentencing was very well done. My heart ached for Robert Downey Jr's character to the point that I was set to cuss Billy Bob Thornton out if he said one word to him lol.

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Marion Cotillard in Little White Lies...the music plus the bit where she's so calm and then just lets it rip were great.

 

Natalie Wood in hysterics in Splendor in the Grass. The way she works up to that was incredible.

 

Zac Efron reading his "letter" to his wife in 17 Again. That's basically the scene that won me over to the "Zac Efron is talented" side.

 

Finally...Anne Hathaway in Brokeback Mountain. It is SO nuanced and layered, and a total master-class in the "less is more" approach to crying.

Edited by methodwriter85
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Holly Hunter in Broadcast News where she unplugs her phone, sits on her bed, takes a deep breath, and erupts with an intense ugly cry. She then calmly plugs the phone back in and gets ready for work. As if her crying is scheduled. It's strange and sums her character up in less than a minute.

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Diane Keaton in Shoot the Moon, an obscure 80's film about the breakup of a marriage and its effect on the kids. Early in the separation, she sits in the bathtub crying and smoking. Very well done, and worth seeing for those who think Keaton can only play light comedy.

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Anne Hathaway's monologue in Brokeback Mountain just drew me in.

God yes.  She just made that soft, moan/whimper as she realizes who Ennis really was and just how much of her marriage with Jack was a lie.  Heartbreaking.

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At the same time, Lurlene was a hard, no-nonsense woman who was self-serving and calculating. She managed to stay in character there, as opposed to Angelina Jolie's hysterical crying at the end of Girl, Interrupted.

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Speaking of Anne Hathaway, I think her crying/emotional scenes in Les Miserables deserves mentioning.  The breaking down in "I Dreamed A Dream" was very powerful of course, but I think the one that broke my heart was after Fantine does her first "job" as a prostitute and that guy is just lying on top of her and you see her crying silently, her face full of disgust and self-loathing.

 

That Oscar was earned a million times over.

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Toni Collette in The Sixth Sense, when she realizes her kid can communicate with her dead mother and wants him to ask if she's proud of her.

 

The part that made me cry in The Sixth Sense was when I realized that Bruce Willis' character had been dead for the entire movie and that Haley Joel Osment was the only one who could see him. My reaction was as follows:

 

"Oh. Oh. Oh..."

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Speaking of Anne Hathaway, I think her crying/emotional scenes in Les Miserables deserves mentioning.  The breaking down in "I Dreamed A Dream" was very powerful of course, but I think the one that broke my heart was after Fantine does her first "job" as a prostitute and that guy is just lying on top of her and you see her crying silently, her face full of disgust and self-loathing.

 

That Oscar was earned a million times over.

When she sings the line about the man who fathered Cosette, I can see the disbelief and disgust in herself for falling for his charms.

Edited by BatmanBeatles
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So. A Fault In Our Stars. I had read the book, so I knew how it ended and I thought I was prepared, but man...I'd tear up because August and Hazel were so happy for most of it, and then at the end where she's reading his letter? I'm verklempt just thinking about it.

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Sally Field's breakdown at Shelby's funeral in Steel Magnolias always gets to me. When she goes from screaming WHY to trying to get control of herself with that clipped "No! No! No!" it just rings a lot more true to grief I've seen than simple crying.

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As disappointing as Serena was as a movie, I think Jennifer Lawrence did a great job in the scene where she finds out she can't have any children.  She just stares off into space, tears slowly welling up and falling down her face, and she finally breaks into sobs.

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Bumping this thread to nominate Alex Lawther, playing young Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.  If you haven't seen his performance, you should.  Talk about a brilliant child actor.

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Emma Stone in Easy A. Really stood out to me after watching her be quirky and laughing off the situation for the whole movie until she thought she had a real date and it turned out he thought he would buy sex from her. Heart breaking.

Edited by raezen
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Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go when he (emotionally) breaks down in the road. I don't want to give away why he's crying for anyone who hasn't seen the film, but it is chilling and so so sad.

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Emma Stone in Easy A. Really stood out to me after watching her be quirky and laughing off the situation for the whole movie until she thought she had a real date and it turned out he thought he would buy sex from her. Heart breaking.

 

I loved that moment, too. Emma really is just good at handling both drama and comedy.

 

Charlie's break down scene in The Perks of Being A Wallflower is pretty much the closest I've ever seen someone top Timothy Hutton's performance in Ordinary People, in the young male acting category.

Edited by methodwriter85
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I don't remember Timothy Hutton's crying scene(s), unless you are talking about the ones outdoors and at night.

 

I DO remember pretty exactly what Mary Tyler Moore looked like, though.  All these years later.  

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The Impossible: Ewan McGregor breaking down sobbing while trying to phone relatives to tell them that his wife and oldest son were missing. It was so raw, so painful, especially when he'd been holding it together for so long up until that point. I just wanted to hug him.
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Bumping it up to add Katniss' breakdown in Mockingjay Part 2 when

shes screaming and crying at the cat that Prim is dead.

. That was genuine, unpretty, right-from-the-gut, drooling sobbing right there.

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Finally saw 'Straight Outta Compton' and I can't believe that neither Jason Mitchell or Corey Hawkins are listed here by anyone. I considered only commenting on Jason Mitchell but seeing as Dr. Dre was actually a real life figure I hadn't cared for in my youth and I felt some tears welling up when he saw Eazy in that hospital bed Corey Hawkins definitely deserves mention. 

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Lord, I STILL can't watch that part because it was so painful. You hardly ever see a guy breaking down so effectively in a movie. Well done, Ewan.

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Gotta say, Chris Evans is impressing me with his ability to ugly cry in movies. When Bucky 'dies' in Captain America: The First Avenger and Peggy finds Steve in the bombed out bar trying to drink his sorrows away, it looks like he's been crying non-stop for a week. In Captain America: Civil War when he's one of the pallbearers at Peggy's funeral... same thing, just this devastated, 'I've been crying non stop and I don't care who knows it' demeanor. And in Snowpiercer when he's talking about the things he did in the early days on the train. Hell, same movie when he's alone for the first time in his life and just crumbles...

It's effective. I sit there going 'Stop making Chris Evans cry!! It's very upsetting to me!!'

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Eric sobbing on his dad's shoulder in Starred Up after the, uh, incident, just breaks my heart. Partly because he's spent the entire film being this hardman, tough dangerous guy and this reminds you that he's still just nineteen years old, which to me is basically a kid, and partly because I feel like this is probably the first time in a really, really long time that someone's held him like that. Plus Jack O'Connell nails the terrified, shocked ugly sobbing.

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For those of you into classic movies.   My favorite crying scene that just rips me apart every time is from The Heiress with Olivia DeHaviland, when she realizes after waiting for hours that the man (Montgomery Clift) she is in love with and agrees to run away with that night to elope against her father's wishes, never comes to pick her up.   OMG -  it's heart wrenching to watch even though you see it coming.   Then her Aunt (Miriam Hopkins), tries to console her. 

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The scene in Jackie right after JFK's assassination, where a devestated Jackie is trying to wash the blood off her face and pink outfit. That was some serious, gut-wrenching ugly crying. 

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Promising Young Woman: Cassie crying when she watches the video of those frat boys raping her best friend

and the fact that Ryan watched and did nothing to stop it

. Carey Mulligan made the most of that close up.

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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956):

When Jo (Doris Day) finds out that her son has been kidnapped. I mean, damn. Her horror and anguish are absolutely palpable, and Day crushes your heart. She really was a better actress than people gave her credit for.

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Wanda/Scarlet Witch’s breakdown when Pietro is killed in Age of Ultron, and her tears when she’s forced to kill Vision in Infinity War. Elizabeth Olsen nailed that raw grief.

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