Saving Private Ryan
From the opening sequence, this is a heartbreaking film. The scene featuring the mother in her Midwestern farmhouse, watching as the army car advances up her long driveway, bringing the priest to deliver the devastating news of the death of her three sons would bring a tear to anyone’s eye. We then follow the epic journey of the men, under the charge of the quietly heroic Captain John Miller, on their unwelcome rescue mission for the remaining Ryan brother, growing to feel a true sense of brotherhood with them along the way. The incredibly moving and emotionally charged final scene, with the much older, surviving James Francis Ryan paying tribute to his fallen brothers in arms was a perfect and deeply moving ending to a wonderful film.
I feel there is no need for me to even comment on why this is one of the saddest films you will ever watch. The portrayal of the sheer evil and cruelty of the Nazi regime is expertly depicted, and is even more compelling for it’s being shot in black and white. This brings a gravitas to the film, insofar as it is not mere “entertainment”, it is in fact a documentary of a bleak and tragic period in human history.
Ah sweet mother of god where do I begin?! I find the true story of the unjust imprisonment of the boxer Ruben Carter for nearly twenty years and his fight for justice heartbreaking. The fact that an innocent man was deprived of his freedom for so many years, with all the loss that is associated with that situation leaves me incredibly sad and angry. The tears I cry at the end of this film are always a mixture of rage and deep sadness.
*it was with genuine sadness that I learned of his recent death today. I’m so glad he did get to enjoy his remaining years as a free man.
The Notebook (obviously!)
Unless you have been living under a rock since 2004, when this Nicholas Sparks book was adapted into a film, the phrase, “you’ve been notebooked” will be familiar to you. The highly melodramatic tale of star crossed lovers Noah and Allie is a very entertaining love story in itself, but it is the accompanying storyline of an old man reading to an old woman in a nursing home that really tests even the hardest of hearts.
If you haven’t watched it yet I will say no more, other than this… Stock up on tissues.
The sad tale of Dean and Cindy follows their relationship from the heady falling in love stage to the mundane drudgery of everyday married life. Disappointed and frustrated by Dean’s lack of drive and ambition, Cindy feels trapped in a marriage with a man she sees is not living up to his potential. Their opposing values eventually result in an irreconcilable situation. The reason I chose this film is that I found the portrayal of the demise of their loving relationship very realistic and the ending, with Dean walking away from his house and little girl was moving in it’s simplicity.
The Bridges of Madison County
When I watched this film I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest at one point.
The lonely farmers wife Francesca is left at home while her family visit a state fair when National Geographic photographer Robert drives up and asks her for directions. Over the course of four days, we watch her come out of her shell and the two strangers fall in love. The point when she chooses to remain with her family, despite the boredom and isolation she feels was my breaking point. Her secret love was hers alone until her death, when her adult children discover the journals she kept about the short lived affair. Their realisation of the sacrifices she made for her children is something we all eventually come to realise. Our parents are more than simply our parents, they had their own dreams and hopes and desires, just the way do.
Another film depicting the slow painful death of a marriage. Perhaps it is because I am married and have, as we all do, struggled with a shared life that I find these films so very sad. But Frank and April’s story is particularly hard to watch, because we watch their youthful optimism and ambitions get smothered by everyday life. Attempts to rekindle their abandoned dreams are scuppered by April’s unwelcome pregnancy, which ultimately results in true tragedy. Leonardo’s broken and crumpled face will always stay with me!
If you can sit through the opening montage of Up with dry eyes I would question your humanity! Thank heavens it evolves into a genuinely funny and touching tale about following ones dreams and making beautiful friendships along the way.
The Way We Were
Another breaking up film! I don’t really need to say anything new in this section. It’s the age old girl meets boy, boys leaves, girl and boy reunite, marry, tensions lead to divorce. Oh how badly I wanted them to stay together! But it was not to be.
The Fox and The Hound
No. Can’t even go there. Just no. Too sad. The end.
I hope you found this list of my personal saddest movies interesting.
I’d love to hear if you agree or disagree with anything on it.
I will start working on a list of my happiest films now because, to be perfectly frank, I’m feeling a bit blue now after that!