Here are a few films that got me a bit teary eyed.
When it comes to movie scenes many invoke an emotional response but it is rare for me to watch a film and be brought to tears. The experience is different for everyone when it comes to emotional reactions. Some films find a way to connect to someone on a more personal level while others find that connection through a broader but less intense means. The films I have chosen found a way to reach me on a personal level or just catch me off guard. If you have not seen these films, beware that there are spoilers below and if you read through, feel free to share films that you had a similar experience with.
5. Up – Ellie and Carl’s relationship timeline
Pixar has a surprising track record for invoking an emotional response to animated characters. But while “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo,” and even “Wall-E” have their moments, nothing is as powerful as the opening scene of “Up.”
It catches you off guard by opening with a love story filled with promise and aspirations. While you’re being taken up (pun intended), emotions are brought into a downward spiral as this happy marriage doesn’t go as planned. Little things that we all deal with like repairs and bills prevent them from taking that one big adventure they had been saving for their entire lives.
As emotions are moving progressively down the trail of sadness and you think you’re at your bottom, it suddenly gets worse. Carl realizes that they never took that trip so he decides to surprise Ellie and buys the tickets. He takes her on a picnic at the top of a hill and as they’re walking, she has a heart attack. His last moments with her are spent by her hospital bed, leaving with the regret that he never fulfilled that one dream they had.
It’s not just the death that brings on the emotions in “Up,” but more so the regret. Despite having a long and loving relationship, they put other things ahead of their love and realized it just a bit too late. Death may sting quite a bit but the burden of regret can hurt even worse. That’s what makes this scene in “Up” so devastating.
4. Field of Dreams – “Hey Dad…You wanna have a catch?”
I’m not a sports guy but there is something poetic about the game of baseball and its history. Many see “Field of Dreams” as a baseball movie but baseball is just a catalyst for Ray’s (Kevin Costner) journey of self discovery.
Throughout the film we hear about his resentment towards his deceased father and his father’s obsession with the game of baseball. Towards the end of this journey we start to see these negative feelings fall away from Ray finally ending with the reconciliation with his father that he never had. Meeting the spirit of his father’s younger self, he comes to an understanding of why his father loved the game so much without this version of his father knowing who Ray is in relation. Finally as John (Ray’s father) is walking towards the field Ray refers to him as Dad and asks to play a game of catch.
I still tear up at this moment and it’s because of everything it represents. The iconic game of catch between a father and son is a physical representation of bonding. Ray, who hates baseball, finds his peace through this simple game and reestablishes that connection with his father that he thought he lost. His initial hatred of baseball represented his hatred of his father but when he asks for that game of catch, it shows that he finally let that hate go. It was a beautiful ending for a film and a fluid metaphor for mending a relationship.