Not that I wish to conform to anything that may be considered a sexist stereotype, but it’s widely recognised amongst human culture than men don’t cry. Main reason being (among) many that it’s considered a sign of weakness and men don’t like to appear weak before their peers. I could go into a whole analytical reason for this – but we’d be here all day and probably bore you all to tears.
Speaking for myself, and at the risk of losing some credibility amongst my male readers, I do cry at movies, TV and sometimes books and I’m not ashamed to admit that. If there is truly emotion in a scene, whether it’s a character death, a sad moment, etc, I have been known to shed tears on more than one occasion. I’m of the belief that crying isn’t a sign of weakness at all, but a natural reaction to a sad moment. Tears signify emotional hurt and I honestly think that if you try and bottle it up, then it can come back in negative ways. Therefore, I actually do not think it’s a bad thing for men to cry at all.
Now I personally know a lot of men who aren’t ashamed to cry. I once worked with this guy who was this big, tough biker who looked quite intimidating and scary (but actually was a really nice chap) and when his father died he cried for weeks afterwards. So my feeling is that if someone like that can accept his feelings, then it’s ok for guys to shed a tear now and then.
By the same token, and again this is not a stereotype that I wish to conform to, it can also be said that women like to enjoy a nice weepy film now and then. Well, I’m going to turn that them on its head today and list my Top Five films that can reduce MEN to tears. These are five films that I think men can enjoy and shed a tear without fear of reprisal. That being said, I am sure that women can enjoy these films just as much – but I’m using men as an example here to show that they don’t always have to keep their feelings bottled up.
So guys, bring out your tissues and wipe that tear away from your eyes – here are my own personal pick of 5 films (in no particular order) that can make even the toughest man weep manly tears.
1. E.T. The Extraterrestrial
I’m just going to get this one out the way right now because it’s pretty obvious this was going to make the list.
What can I say about this one that hasn’t been said a million times before? It’s E.T! This is the film that reduces anyone to a gibbering wreck of tears and emotion. It’s a film that brings out the child in all of us. The relationship and connection between E.T and Elliott is so strong that we feel their pain as much as they feel each others. Also, E.T isn’t a threat to anyone; he’s just lost and wants to go home. Elliot understands that and wants to help him – but at the same time he’s connected to him and they build a friendship that can never be broken.
E.T is one of those films that I’ve made a pledge to watch without crying at some point. Well, I’ve seen the film 10-11 times now (usually around Christmas) and I STILL haven’t succeeded. Even though I know what’s coming, I still end up reaching for the tissues. Maybe it’s the emotional film score, the brilliant acting, or the sad fact that E.T is lost in a world he doesn’t understand and it takes the kindest of a child to show him the ropes, as it where.
Interesting enough, there are a lot of religious contexts within the film. In many ways the story is an updated retelling of the story of Jesus Christ – to the point where E.T is even standing in a robe. I’m not sure if that was intentionally, but it’s a clever way of telling the story in a unique way.
E.T is one of those films that men love, but won’t admit it, due to the fact it’s known for bringing out tears. Some consider it a guilty pleasure, but I don’t. It’s a wonderful film about friendship and it brings out the child in us all (after all, who wouldn’t want to meet an alien). It’s an iconic film that is often imitated (and usually parodied) but never bettered. If anyone can watch this film without crying, I salute you!
2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
This one might seem an odd choice as many don’t really consider Lord of the Rings (note, when I refer to Lord of the Rings in this post, I refer to the trilogy as a whole rather than indivdual films) to be a tearjerker. But actually, if you look at it, there is a LOT of depressing moments in this trilogy. Over the course of the journey to destroy the ring, Frodo and his friends meet up with all manners of obstacles and terrors.
How about the despair that the team felt when Gandalf fell during his fight with the Balrog, or the heroic death that Boromir suffered whilst trying to defend the hobbits (which I mentioned in my Top Five Memorable Death Scenes post). Then there is the character of Gollum, who in himself is a tragic character due to his corruption by the ring, and the torment and utter hopelessness of their journey that Frodo and Sam feel on their journey to Mount Doom. Then there are the battle scenes which seem utterly hopeless and unwinnable – until of course the deux ex machina arrives to save the day. Then there is the sad farewell as Frodo says goodbye to his friends in the (one of many) ending.
Overall, Lord of the Rings has more than one emotional moment and the characters do portray this very well. We do feel the suffering of them all as we watch them fight and truly hope for the best. It has great action and story, but great drama and we can weep for that because we truly feel the emotion that the characters portray.
If Lord of the Rings teaches us anything it’s that Fantasy can have emotion and that the characters don’t always have to conform to the usual archetypes. It’s a great trilogy, brilliantly directed by Mr Jackson. I just hope that The Hobbit is done just as well.
3. Schindler’s List
This is a film that I’m not going to spend a huge amount of time talking about as I know the subject matter is very touchy. But I will say this – this WILL make you shed tears.
I believe the Holocaust to be one of the most horrific events in history and given that Steven Spielberg himself is Jewish, this must have been really painful for him. In fact I actually read that after doing this film, he never wanted to include Nazi’s in his films again.
In a country where the Jews were persecuted and even tortured – and usually killed – Schindler was a man that gave the Jews a chance to live by letting them work in his factory. Whilst not entirely a saint (he was a bit of a womaniser), he did at least do a good deed and tried to help as many as he could. This film not only details his attempts to help the Jewish people, but also shows us the plight of the Jewish during this time. The scenes in the concentration camps are horrific and usually unbearable to watch. There is even a brilliant scene where a child in a red jacket (remember this film is shot in black and white so this is the only instance of colour in the film, aside from the ending) runs across during a massacre, symbolising the innocent blood that has been shed.
Film based on true accounts make us realise that human beings are capable of cruelty as much as they kindness and this is a great example. I dare anyone to watch this film without feeling a hint of remorse or pain for the suffering that they went through.
4. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Another film that got a mention in my Top Five Memorable Death Scenes post. Arguably considered one of the best sequels of all time, it’s also considered one of the best “guys” films of all time. And why not? It has a lot of explosions, special effects, a fast paced story – and the king of actions movies himself – Arnold!
I actually love this movie, it’s my favourite out of all the Terminator films. But I think the scene I remember the most from watching this the first time was the ending, where the Terminator decides to destroy himself for the sake of mankind, whilst John Connor tearfully begs him not to.
This scene for me is filled with emotion and makes me, and other guys, weep manly tears. The whole film, the Terminator has become like the father that John Connor never had, willing to protect him even at the cost of his own life. The two have formed an inseparable bond and the fact that he’s going to kill himself is something that wrenches at our hearts. But at the same time, the Terminator is making a sacrifice for the sake of humanity, because he has now come to understand human feelings and emotions – becoming the exact opposite of what a Terminator should be.
Many accuse Arnie of not being a good actor (and that’s not without just cause), but I think his understated acting works well in this film and in particular this scene. Even though he’s incapable of showing emotion (he is a machine after all), he now is able to feel it. And the fact that he appears so cold and straight faced during this scene make it all the more harder to bear. It also makes this scene that much more powerful because the Terminator meets his death with no fear – something we all wish we could do.
Terminator 2 has it all, action, great special effects and great drama. What more could you ask for? And I am sure that most guys, whilst they won’t admit it, will shed a little tear at the end.
Hands down, this is my favourite Pixar movie of all time. It’s a fun, entertaining ride that has real heart and soul to it. It follows the adventures of an old man, whose wife had always hoped to be an explorer. When she dies, he makes a promise to himself to fulfil her wish of having a house near Paradise Falls. So, inflating numerous balloons, he pilots the house (it’s a Pixar film – go with it) towards Paradise falls to fulfil his wish to his dead wife. Along the way he picks up a couple more allies and high jinks insures.
Up is a Pixar film that touches on a subject that not many other Pixar films deal with – the feeling of loss and death. Ok, so death hasn’t been completely left out of Pixar films – Finding Nemo began with Marlin losing his wife and most of his children (hence his overprotective nature of Nemo) and Ice Age has a scene where Manny remembers his family getting slaughtered. But in Up, it’s central to the story. The main character (Carl) is doing these things to honour his dead wife and the lengths he goes to do it shows how much he loved his wife. It’s a true testament to the love of one another even in death, so this will certainly make tears fall in more than one occasion.
I also like the idea that, unlike most animated films that have a young protagonist, Carl is a guy in the twilight of his years – so if anything he’s also trying to recapture his lost youth and make sure this promise comes to happen before he passes on. It also adds to a lot of the humour of the piece as he isn’t as much a spring chicken as he was before, so his old age does come into play more than once.
Also, I can’t remember the last time I ever had emotional attachments to a house! But that’s what happens when you watch this film. The house is as much a character in this story as Carl or the others, due to the memories it holds for him. And if all this doesn’t make you want to cry, the ending certainly will make you cry tears of heart warming joy.
Definitely Pixar’s strongest work by far, an animation that is touching, emotional, but also hilariously funny. Even though it’s more intended for families, I know a lot of guys love Pixar so I know that they would love this film. If you haven’t seen it, then I strongly urge that you do.
There you are guys, five films that you can watch if you fancy a good cry. But the above films are amazing in their own right, so I recommend you watch them anyway.
Now, I have a feeling that some female readers may feel a little left out by this post – and if that is the case then I apologise. But fear not, ladies – I’ll make it up to you next week. For next Saturday, I’ll have a Top Five just for you!
Until then, have a great weekend! Please feel free to comment about any of the films listed above, or if there was a film that SHOULD be on this list. I will say that this list is based purely on films that I myself have seen - so please feel free to comment about any other movie that I may have missed out.
All images above are copyright of their respective owners. I claim no ownership of any of them and use them purely for the purpose of this Top Five.