Movies can make you feel all sorts of emotions, but sometimes there’s nothing quite like a good ugly cry.
Some films – whether sad or even happy – pack such an emotional punch that you end up blubbering and wailing to no end.
Here’s a list of seven films that did just that to me: the perfect movies for a good ugly cry.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Toy Story 3 (2010)
We’ll start with the obvious. Pixar’s Toy Story series is a landmark in animation for all sorts of reasons, but it’s the finale of the third instalment that hits home unlike anything else.
A moment of unparalleld bittersweet emotion, the film concludes a three-film arc of friendship as Andy gives his beloved toys away before going off to college.
In a brief few moments, Toy Story 3‘s ending encapsulates not just the memories of the franchise, but the heartbreaking reality of growing up and leaving childhood behind.
My love for the Toy Story series makes it a heartwrenching finale to the original trilogy, but it’s those memories of childhood and having to face the reality of leaving them behind that left me in floods of tears as Toy Story 3 came to an end.
Grave Of The Fireflies (1988)
Studio Ghibli’s devastating account of survival in the midst of war might just be the saddest film I’ve ever seen, but it’s without a doubt worth the watch.
The story of a teenage boy and his young sister who attempt to survive after being made orphans in an air raid during World War Two, the film gives a desperately sad account of a loss of innocence and the brutality of life at its hardest.
Grave Of The Fireflies is a tough watch all the way through, but it’s the film’s finale – where the brother and sister find themselves starving to death in a makeshift cave dwelling – that really hits home.
Concluding to the tune of a devastating operatic melody as life for the two children slips away, the heartbreakng finale makes me cry like no other film does every time I watch it.
Marley & Me (2008)
One of the most irresistible yet challenging watches for any dog lover, Marley & Me captures the beauty and heartbreak of life with a beloved pet in spectacular fashion.
Chronicling the life of a married couple and their mischievous labrador over the years, there are moments where Marley & Me delivers blissful emotional highs, as the bond between dog and owners grows stronger with every passing day.
Yet all good things must come to an end, and after years together, Marley grows old and sadly passes away. And if you’ve ever had a dog, that heartbreak is so difficult to forget.
But what’s more is that the film’s final act – as Marley begins to grow weaker – made me cry for a solid half hour. It’s a sad finale, but the intensity and length of those heartbreaking emotions is unlike any other film.
Inside Out (2015)
Another entry for Pixar on this list shows just how good the studio is at tapping into your emotions. And no film shows that better (and more literally) than Inside Out.
A coming-of-age story disguised as a fantasy adventure, Inside Out is a bright, optimistic and wonderfully imaginative film from beginning to end, following the emotions inside Riley, a young girl’s head as they navigate the beginnings of growing up.
The film soars with joy and elation at times, but at others it packs a staggering emotional punch that has easily broken me down into tears every time I’ve seen the film.
Playing on similar themes to Toy Story 3 of leaving childhood behind, Inside Out goes a step further with a powerfully bittersweet portrayal of growing up and its impact on an invidual and family level. From the loss of Riley’s imaginary friend to the powerfully cathartic moments of family unity, Inside Out is a spectacularly moving piece of work.
A Monster Calls (2016)
Although not a masterpiece all the way through, A Monster Calls bubbles and boils with intense and powerfully relatable emotion like no other film.
The story of a boy attempting to cope as his mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, this is a film that doesn’t hold back with some extremely challenging yet worthy emotional themes.
It’s a powerfully intimate portrait of the often unspoken personal impact of caring for someone with a terminal illness, yet beyond the devastating sadness of losing a loved one, A Monster Calls gives a staggeringly cathartic portrayal of how – as difficult as it may be to say – much of a release losing someone can be.
Building to a peak in the early third act as our young lead confronts the reality of his emotions, the film’s honesty is exceptional, and the way it allows you to release similar pent-up feelings is what sent me into floods of tears in an instant.
Bridge To Terabithia (2007)
Perhaps the most emotionally brutal movie Disney have ever made, Bridge To Terabithia is so much more than the carefree fantasy adventure it appears to be at first.
While an enjoyably imaginative tale in its early stages, the film takes a dramatic turn halfway through as we see young friends Jess and Leslie torn apart after Leslie dies, leaving Jess alone in their fantasy kingdom of Terabithia.
Where so many family and coming-of-age films hit hard with their depiction of the natural progression of life, Bridge To Terabithia is a whole lot more heartwrenching, as it shows what happens when a blissful, carefree childhood is ripped away from you in an instant.
You’d be hard pressed to hold back tears in this most devastating of family films, and certainly with memories of childhood on board, it’s one of the most emotionally affecting films I’ve ever seen.
The Little Prince (2015)
A gorgeous reimagining of a literary classic, The Little Prince is a film that takes a beloved story and injects it with modern and powerfully moving emotional depth.
Playing the original tale of the Little Prince himself alongside that of a young girl longing for adventure in a joyless world, this is one of those few films that will make you desperately cry with tears of both sadness and joy.
Its portrayal of pressure on children in the modern day to excel is incredibly powerful, and the reality of a young girl who is deprived of a childhood for the sake of exam grades is heartbreaking to say the least.
But as she finally takes off on a voyage of her own, the film soars with spellbinding joy, celebrating the power of imagination and freedom in stunningly powerful fashion. There are then sadder moments, but most of all it’s those scenes of sky-high elation that touched me to the point of tears – making The Little Prince a genuinely unforgettable experience.