Are we masochistic, subjecting ourselves to the depressing, soul-crushing dramas? Why do we feel compelled to do it? I think it’s because we want to remember compassion and remind ourselves of empathy. That’s just me, though.
1. Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies is an animated Japanese drama that depicts the life of two siblings that have survived the firebombing of Kobe. The story is recounted through spirit of Seita, a 14-year-old boy who has to take care of his younger sister after their mother dies from the air raid.
Level of onions: I need to leave the room. Give me an hour.
2. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Kuenne’s close friend Andrew Bagby was murdered by Shirley Jane Turner after Bagby ended their tumultuous relationship. Shortly after she was arrested, she announced she was pregnant with Bagby’s child, a boy she named Zachary. Kuenne decided to interview numerous relatives, friends, and associates of Andrew Bagby and incorporate their loving remembrances into a film that would serve as a cinematic scrapbook for the son who never knew him. As events unfold, the film becomes a sort of true-crime documentary.
Level of onions: I’m sad and angry; I don’t know what to do with myself except sit at my desk and look at the wall.
3. Life is Beautiful
Life is Beautiful is an Italian comedy-drama starring Roberto Benigni, who plays Guido Orefice. Orefice must use his imagination to protect his son and family from the horrors of the Nazi concentration camp.
Level of onions: There’s this lump in my throat and my eyes are burning, I can feel the snot coming out.
4. Dancer in the Dark
Directed by none other than Lars von Trier, this musical drama will claw at every heartstring you have in your body. Be prepared. Just a heads up: Bjork plays a woman who is going blind.
Level of onions: I’m snotting, why? WHY? SHE WAS JUST DOING WHAT SHE HAD TO DO!
5. The Road
The post-apocalyptic movie does Cormac McCarthy’s novel some justice. It’s super bleak and super gut-wrenching.
Level of onions: At the end of the movie, I was curled up in a ball, tears flowing freely from my face, asking, “WHY?” over and over again.
6. My Girl
My Girl is a 1991 American drama film directed by Howard Zieff and written by Laurice Elehwany. The film depicts the coming-of-age of a young girl who faces many different emotional highs and lows and stars Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis, who also previously starred together in 1983’s Trading Places. The film also stars Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky in her feature film debut.
Level of onions: Close your hands into a fist and bite your lips, but the tears won’t stop coming.
7. The Pianist
When I say I cried after this movie, people give me weird looks. I thought about living in WWII and how I’d be persecuted and thought about how I would’ve handled my life in that situation. It. Was. Never. Happy.
Level of onions: Lying in bed, looking at the ceiling, feeling thankful yet full of sorrow that you’re in this time period.
Who ever thought that a movie about technology will make you hold on to your pillow and cry for Haley Joel Osment?
Level of onions: Sobbing while trying to wipe away the Cheetos crumbs from your face that you transferred from your hand while wiping your tears away.
9. The Wrestler
A man doing what he loves and it’s his downfall.
Level of onions: I’m not crying mom, I promise, OMG stop, something went in my eye.
10. Marley and Me
You follow the life of a really energetic dog that you just can’t help falling in love with. And all good things come to an end.
Level of onions: I had a dog and I cried for hours when he abruptly left my life. Marley did the same. I’ll never be the same again.
11. The Bubble
An Israeli and a Palestinian are in love, but they can’t be together, for obvious reasons. The ending is poetic and heartwrenching.
Level of onions: WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN? WHY CAN’T I SEE A HAPPY MOVIE?
The first 15 minutes was absolutely terrifying because you just knew what was coming and then…onions.
Level of onions: I held my bag of Cheetos and cried into it. Happy now?