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Grab the Kleenex! Everyone needs a good cry now and then. To get the tears flowing, Oprah.com's Screening Room recalls nine movies (in no particular order) that shift the waterworks into overdrive.
In the ultimate chick flick, Bette Midler
and Barbara Hershey play unlikely best friends—a gregarious performer and a conservative socialite. Their 30-year friendship survives every test, including the requisite fight over a man, but it's their final summer together (set to the sobber's anthem "Wind Beneath My Wings") that had us weeping.
Sure, it's for kids. And yes, it's animated. Still, whose heartstrings aren't tugged when a young deer's mother gets shot? Bambi was released in 1942, but its circle-of-life story and ability to jump-start the tears is timeless.
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Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook jumps between a young couple's steamy-but-stormy 1940s romance and an elderly husband and wife struggling to stay together in a modern-day nursing home. The chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams' has us smitten from the get-go, while the gentle romance between the older couple (James Garner and Gena Rowlands) as they fight dementia and the looming threat of separation is so real it almost hurts to watch. We won't give too much away, but trust us when we say you'll need tissues nearby.
It's the movie that makes even the toughest guy cry, and it set the standard for the many heartfelt sports movies that would follow (despite being originally made for TV). The fierce bond between Chicago Bears teammates Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) and Brian Piccolo (James Caan) is an unlikely one—they're competing for the same position and defying a race barrier still prevalent in the film's 1960s setting. But when Brian is diagnosed with terminal cancer, we see how strong, and vulnerable, real men can be.
Tales of untimely deaths are inevitably heart-wrenching, but throw in a baby and a video camera, and our eyes will be puffy for weeks. In My Life, Michael Keaton plays a soon-to-be father who's been diagnosed with kidney cancer. With a few months to live, he documents his final days and compiles his acquired wisdom on videotapes to pass onto his son. Though we know the end from the beginning, there's no stopping the sobfest.
It starts off harmlessly enough—Southern gals gossip in the beauty parlor, talking wedding colors (remember blush and bashful?) and armadillo groom's cakes. But when Julia Roberts
' diabetic character takes a turn for the worse and her no-nonsense mother—Sally Field
at her best—fights to save her, this light fare turns into a multihanky must-see.
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL
Don't let the subtitles deter you from this Italian film—the language of love is universal. Guido, played by Roberto Benigni, wins the heart of his soul mate, played by Roberto's real-life wife, Nicoletta Braschi. But when the film jumps ahead five years, the family is torn apart by a Nazi concentration camp. To protect his young son, Guido makes up a game with a bittersweet ending that will have you buried in tissues.
Childhood love is innocent and pure and should be left untainted. So when the friendship between 11-year-olds Vada and Thomas J. is cut unbearably short (by a swarm of bees no less), it's a hard lesson in life's-not-fair—for Vada and for us. My Girl is one of those coming-of-age tales that every woman can relate to, and it's a reminder of why we're thankful adolescence is short-lived.
TERMS OF ENDEARMENT
Perhaps no relationship is more loaded than that of a mother and daughter. Maybe that's why Oscar® winner Terms of Endearment
, about the love-hate relationship between Debra Winger's and Shirley MacLaine
's characters, is widely accepted as the
tearjerker of all time. From Shirley's unforgettable "Give my daughter the shot!" tirade to Debra's final reassurance to her son that "I know that you love me," the tears start early and they just don't stop. Watch it when you're in that Friday night, stay-in-bed, pint-of-ice-cream-and-box-of-tissues kind of mood.
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