WGF Summer of Screenplays: Our Six Fave Tearjerkers

In this week's Summer of Screenplays post, Library Intern Denise Curtis, recommends six films and their scripts to give your tear-producing glands a workout: Eyes puffing up. Nose sniffling. Lump in your throat. Weird hiccup breathing thing that makes you look like a child. There’s nothing like a film that brings you to tears. I tend to be a stoic person, so it’s quite noteworthy when I connect to a film’s story and characters so much that I’m forced to fast-walk out of the theater to my car before anyone notices my smeared makeup and bloodshot eyes.

Because I am usually composed during movies, I found it difficult to compose this list of recommendations, but here are my top six. The order of the list goes from one to six with one being “Alright, cool, I only cried for 5 minutes” to six being a film where I cried so hard, I thought my eyes were going to pop due to high blood pressure. So, if you’re in the mood for a good sob session, you can read all of these screenplays in the WGF Library.


A Walk to Remember - Screenplay by Karen Janszen; Based on the Novel by Nicholas Sparks

This movie feels scientifically engineered to make you cry. It’s about a troubled teenage boy and a quiet teenage girl crossing paths and falling in love, complete with a heartbreaking secret that puts their relationship to the test. This is a textbook example of a tearjerker in the sense that it's built to make you weep and it delivers.


The Pursuit of Happyness - Written by Steven Conrad

The Pursuit of Happyness tells the true story of Chris Gardner, a homeless single father, who fights to provide for his son by taking a competitive unpaid stockbroker internship in which one of twenty candidates will receive a job at the end. Chris and his son Chris Jr. have such a loving and pure bond, it catapults the viewer into a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute you ugly cry, the next minute you cry of pure happiness.


Titanic - Written by James Cameron

Every time you hear that weepy Irish music, it’s your cue to start crying. Now, this is a tear-jerker that is carefully constructed to make you sob (and even though you try not to because you are aware of this fact, you do anyway). Titanic tells the tale of a young aristocrat falling in love with a poor artist on the ill-fated R.M.S Titanic. Even though I’ve seen this film so many times, there are several scenes that convey so much despair, it’s hard not to weep. The writing is just iconic. It’s got to be on the list.


Never Let Me Go - Screenplay by Alex Garland; Based on the Novel by Kazuo Ishiguro

Warning: This film will give you such a shocking and terribly sad ending that it will feel like you got pistol-whipped in the face. Never Let Me Go follows the lives of three friends from being children in a boarding school to their adulthood, facing the challenges of love and the haunting pre-determined future that is planned for them. The film is so beautifully written and creative, it burns itself into your mind and sticks with you for days.


Les Miserables - Screenplay by William Nicholson & Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg & Herbert Kretzmer; From the stage musical Les Miserables Based on the Novel by Victor Hugo

When I first saw this movie, every time a character opened their mouth to sing, the audience was treated to my lightly sobbing in the back of the theater. I promise, every time a song springs forth you’ll have to hold back tears. It’s an amazing workout. Just see it. Unless you hate musicals, then maybe stay away from this one.


Twelve Years A Slave - Screenplay by John Ridley; Based on Twelve Years a Slave by Soloman Northup

This film was the saddest film I’ve ever seen. Just thinking about the movie for this post makes me want to cry. This film conveys so much pain and suffering. It’s the saddest movie experience I’ve had to date. I have no words to describe it. Just see it for yourself.

That's all she wept!  - Denise