Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Top 6 Tearjerkers of 2009

If you know me well enough, or spend enough time reading my blog, you know that I'm a big crybaby when it comes to movies (I even cried during Star Trek. Several times). It doesn't take much to get my waterworks going, and in 2009 there were quite a few films that really got to me. Here are six films from 2009 that that made me cry.

1
CAPTAIN ABU RAED
Amin Matalqa's tender tale of redemption about a lonely old man who is mistaken for an airline pilot by local children got to me like no other film this year. Raed's journey from curmudgeon to unlikely hero, and the profound effect he has on one troubled young boy's life, is the stuff great storytelling is made of. It left me in tears all the way through the end credits.

2
THE COVE
By the time we reach the climactic, real life dolphin slaughter in Louis Psihoyos' acclaimed documentary exposing brutal Japanese dolphin hunting tactics, even the most hard-hearted anti-environmentalists would be hard pressed to hold back a tear.

3
UP
Pixar can always be relied upon for making mature animated features infused with great wit and heart, but Up's themes of infertility and mortality make it one of the studio's most grown up and heartwrenching efforts.

4

STILL WALKINGA family drama about missed opportunities with one's parents in the best tradition of Yasujiro Ozu. I've always been a sucker for stuff like this, but Still Walking captures a profound truth in its depiction of a family gathering on the 15th anniversary of the tragic death of the eldest son. It is a gentle reminder to love and appreciate your parents while you still have them, and if in the end it makes you want to go home and hug your mother, well then so much the better.

5
MARY AND MAX
The tale of two unlikely friends, an obese middle aged man with Asperger's syndrome, and a plain, lonely little girl in Australia, who become pen pals and find solace in each other's letters is either an uplifting celebration of the importance of frienship, or unrelentingly depressing, depending on how you look at it. Either way, Mary and Max is a deeply affecting film that finds light amidst the darkness, and packs one big emotional sucker punch.

6
DEPARTURES

Last year's Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film was probably the weakest of the five nominees, but that doesn't mean it's not a shameless tear jerker. It's been accused of being sentimental and manipulative, and it is. But it works. Its tale of a young man coming to terms with the importance of the job he hates, preparing bodies for burial, is the kind of emotional journey the Academy loves. And deserved winner or not, its final impact is hard to ignore.

2 comments:

Tom said...

what about "Everybody's Fine"? That one got me.

Cal said...

Tell me 'bout it. I cried like a baby during The Cove.... and then the sadness turned to anger.