Make me cry
May 2, 2015 1:57 AM   Subscribe

I need a good cry. I've tried sad movies, sad songs, but nothing works any more.

I'm in therapy, dealing with some sexual abuse issues from my childhood and have not had a real weep for several years. I want to cry but I just can't let go.

Does anyone have any good go to tears techniques?
posted by chairish to Health & Fitness (67 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
A good dose of whisky.
posted by mymbleth at 2:17 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Watch the Jurassic Bark episode of Futurama.

Read Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's WE3.
posted by dipping_sauce at 2:31 AM on May 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

Edward Scissorhands, always, forever. Just typing the words.

Unexpectedly, Moon really kicked my butt.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:56 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Read Where the Red Fern Grows. It's a kid's book but it will get you in the feels.

Watch Parenthood (the TV show). I cried at the end of almost every episode once I got invested in the characters.
posted by dawkins_7 at 3:08 AM on May 2, 2015 [6 favorites]

I think about my cat's last days. :-|.
posted by nom de poop at 3:42 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Dear Zachary.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

For reasons that I don't completely understand, Laurie Metcalf's guest appearance on Grey's Anatomy wrecks me every time I see it.
posted by telegraph at 4:07 AM on May 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

The ending of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, where Spock dies and they have his funeral.
It's my Go To Gotta Cry Movie.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 4:11 AM on May 2, 2015

Best answer: Sometimes it can help to have a physical connection so you're not overthinking the crying and keeping it in your head. This FPP made me weep recently. Would it be possible for you to do something similar to the author, like find a soft toy or blanket and hug it, but identify it with the child you were? I know some people cringe at the "inner child" thing but imagine you are comforting that scared child and maybe you'll be able to cry for them, not you, if that makes sense?
posted by billiebee at 4:49 AM on May 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

Seconding Dear Zachary. My gosh.
posted by pearlybob at 5:11 AM on May 2, 2015

Since you ask for techniques and not specific movies or songs, I'll add this: sad stuff doesn't really work for me. What does it for me is listening to certain pieces of music, usually ones that modulate from a minor to a major key to illustrate the text. Something about the move from pessimism to optimism (at least figuratively) gets me every time; I guess it's sort of a concrete signal to me that even under awful circumstances, things can and will change. Ok, I'll give one example: "The People that Walked in Darkness" from Handel's Messiah.
posted by holborne at 5:32 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ponette might be a good option (I cried all the way through, the kind of heaving sobs that leave you with a headache for days).
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:34 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite] Sort via 'best of all time.'
posted by pretentious illiterate at 5:46 AM on May 2, 2015

The only movie that had me release a gigantic whoosh of tears was when Farmer Hoggett sings "If I Had Words to Make a Day for You" when the pig isn't feeling well and Babe is smiling at the end. It's glorious.
posted by kinetic at 5:53 AM on May 2, 2015 [7 favorites]

Things that might break down your resistance:
Getting too tired to resist. Running, using a punching bag, moving furniture around, or doing some hard physical exercise and THEN exposing yourself to cathartic stuff.
Experiencing vastness: Looking up at a star-filled sky in the country, or going to a lonesome spot to look at the sea or ocean. Sometimes feeling tiny and insignificant can be reassuring enough to allow you to let down your defenses.
Practicing self-compassion. I'm a broken record with that recommendation, but it's been so helpful.

I'm not sure if you're saying that movies just won't do it, or just that you may not have found the right material, so here are some movie recs.
Unabashed tear-jerkers:
Terms of Endearment, The Ricky Shroder remake of The Champ.
Making you cry is possibly not THE point, but...:
Midnight Cowboy, Jean de Florette (subtitles)
I cry, but I'm a soft touch:
Fly Away Home, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Run Lola Run(subtitles)
Honorary Mention to that famous twenty minutes in UP, and I also cried at Moon.
posted by hiker U. at 6:04 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's a film you can find in its entirety on YouTube: Threads.

Also, if you can find it, Mon Oncle Antoine.

Neither of these has a shred of sentimentality, and that's what makes them so powerful. If you can be unmoved by either of these, I'm calling you granite.
posted by BostonTerrier at 6:10 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Joyful, redemptive movie endings do it for me:
It's a Wonderful Life
The Last Hurrah
Toy Story III
posted by JimN2TAW at 6:16 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not sure how helpful this is, but one thing that seems to make me a lot more likely to cry at a film is being on an aeroplane (I have a feeling this has come up on MeFi at some point). I'm not sure exactly what the factors are that trigger that, but I think its some combination of tiredness, anonymity, and being (literally) disconnected from my normal environment. Maybe you can simulate some of those factors and see if that helps.
posted by crocomancer at 6:30 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Magnolia. (Whoops, after I posted it occurs to me that two of the characters are a victim of sexual abuse and the abuser. You may not be ready for it, it is an incredibly intense film, but it has never ceased to make me feel a million emotions and sob.)
posted by good lorneing at 6:33 AM on May 2, 2015

Call the Midwife. Every. Frakkin'. Time.
posted by Mogur at 7:05 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Irish ballads do me in.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 7:12 AM on May 2, 2015

1.). Go for a long walk and let your thoughts wander to all the things that make you feel most upset.
2.). Go home and do something comforting for yourself, whether it's hot tea or wrapping yourself in a fuzzy blanket or something else.

Sometimes that alone would help the tears along. The contrast between all the awful things that happened and the small things I could do to comfort myself was stark: enough to finally make me feel sorry for myself after usually trying to pretend everything was fine.

Not sure if you're still wanting suggestions for movies and/or music, but anything Elliot Smith (especially "Condor Avenue") tends to let open the floodgates when I'm feeling that way.
posted by sevenofspades at 7:19 AM on May 2, 2015

I never cry, but the movie Hachi had me bawling. You have to be a dog person, though.

I also think that if you really need to cry, getting drunk or something might just help it come out.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:24 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

This song/scene from Toy Story 2.
posted by jbickers at 7:31 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Well, I had to change the channel whenever the infamous Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial aired.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:43 AM on May 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

Big Fish was the last film that did this to me, to the point where I'm not sure I'll ever be able to bring myself to watch it again.
posted by usonian at 7:54 AM on May 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

This short documentary (6 minutes) about a dog who has to be put to sleep works on me.
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:56 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Seconding doing a long run if you are a runner; if it pushes you beyond what you're used to doing it can result in some weird emotional fall-out afterwards. YMMV (/notallrunners)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:20 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

The Fault in Our Stars turned me into a soggy mess.
posted by bunderful at 8:57 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I would look for clips from Jim Henson's Memorial. The tribute delivered by Frank Oz gets me every time (I had to check the clip with the sound off just now and it's still getting to me), but Big Bird singing 'It's Not Easy Being Green' is a close second, and there are others.

To expand that into a technique, I guess the thing that makes this affect me is seeing such raw, open sorrow in other human beings - especially about a loss was painful to me in the first place. I was a sopping mess watching Michael Jackson's memorial, too. If these specific events don't get to you in the same way, maybe there are others in the same vein that could work for you?
posted by DingoMutt at 9:12 AM on May 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care is very nice--an important message, though also a mild tearjerker.
Welcome Home: Surprise Military Homecomings has gotten to me in the past, even though I have no connection to military life.
Hope for Paws: Official Rescue Channel is an overwhelming tearjerker--so much crying.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:17 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Plague Dogs, the animated film based on a rather dry yet still pretty sad book, is the ultimate animal lover tearjerker.
posted by zinful at 9:39 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Some really, really strong mint shampoo or bodyrub, the sort that gets right up your nose. Wipe some on your cheeks and don't blink. This can help me physically start to cry sometimes, and then it turns into 'real' tears,
posted by Braeburn at 10:12 AM on May 2, 2015

There was an FPP a few years ago where some guy wrote about his epic love for his dog that he'd had to put down the day before and i can't search for it because i am already halfway to blubbering just writing this. But yeah, anything about pet loss is an immediate snot explosion.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:20 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein always works for me.
posted by Laura in Canada at 10:38 AM on May 2, 2015

Even reading through this associated thread had me a bit weepy, I think I am easily affected by descriptions of men being emotional caregivers (the apr├ęs Balrog scene in LotR ruins me). The thread also has a bunch of links to stuff that people were strongly affected by.
posted by Iteki at 10:40 AM on May 2, 2015

Volunteer someplace for a cause that hits a nerve for you?

Chop onions?

I like watching movies based on real life events or reading true stories, not fictional.
posted by Michele in California at 10:44 AM on May 2, 2015

Sarah Thyre and Susan Orlean have a podcast called Crybabies that's all about crying and its triggers.
posted by glhaynes at 10:53 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

If this short YouTube video doesn't work then I suspect nothing will: The Moth Presents Anthony Griffith.
posted by sockpup at 11:35 AM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Watching the news out of Baltimore does it for me.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:54 AM on May 2, 2015

This documentary that showed up on the blue a couple of weeks ago had me sobbing uncontrollably. It was very difficult to watch a child in pain, and I was moved by his bravery and strength.
posted by Mouse Army at 12:17 PM on May 2, 2015

YMMV, but whiskey and Hook do it for me. My lost childhood! How did I let myself grow up??!

Lately, though, the news can do it often enough. Thousands dead in Nepal, black kids being murdered by police every day, rich white men dictating what women can do with their bodies, ISIL destroying some of the most precious artifacts on earth, etc.
posted by cmoj at 12:36 PM on May 2, 2015


The Lovely Bones. (Trigger warning: rape and murder of a child.)


Video for Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt."

If you love dogs:

Where the Red Fern Grows.
posted by blue suede stockings at 12:36 PM on May 2, 2015

The Art of Racing in the Rain (book -- also for dog lovers).
posted by AwkwardPause at 12:39 PM on May 2, 2015

Read the poem The Rainbow Bridge, I'd link it but I have a ton of shit to do today and it takes me from repressed to sobbing snot bubbles every time. I've got dust in my eyes just thinking about it.
posted by mibo at 12:40 PM on May 2, 2015

Rescue many horses netherlands 2006. Superb mash-up of random video -- most of it one long telescopic shot -- and well-chosen background music. The empathy of this effort -- the apex of the ethos of animal husbandry -- and the spirit of the horses as their herd instincts kick in and they realize they're going to escape their misery -- gets me every time. I try not to watch it too often, to preserve its power.
posted by dhartung at 12:40 PM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Witnessing or reading about acts of kindness always brings me to tears. This was true even back when I didn't cry very easily.

And apparently it's not just me; when this compilation video of Russian drivers helping people out was posted here on Metafilter, it brought many MeFites to tears, including me.

(By the way, the video in the old MeFi post is now a deadlink, so I had to go looking for a new one on Youtube. I watched the first minute or so of this one to make sure it was the right one, and I can confirm it still works on me....)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:45 PM on May 2, 2015

Bambi or Dumbo. Despicable Me. How the Grinch Stole Xmas (animated version.) Love Actually.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:57 PM on May 2, 2015

The end of Cinema Paradiso made me ugly cry.
posted by killy willy at 2:12 PM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Dancer in the Dark. I cried from about 5 minutes in until the end. Also seconding Grave of the Fireflies, I cried through the last 3 quarters. Love Story, the movie from the 70s (I think), based on the book.
posted by Blitz at 2:14 PM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I use this performance from Ukraine's Got Talent for similar purposes.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 3:00 PM on May 2, 2015

I was also coming in to say Dancer in the Dark. For me they were angry tears though.

Also for some reason the song O Mio Babbino Caro makes me cry no matter the context. But especially this scene from Very Annie Mary.

And yes I am crying right now. I couldn't just find the link and post it, no... I had to watch.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:27 PM on May 2, 2015

there's an entire youtube genre of soldiers being greeted by their dogs on their return home that just absolutely slays me, as do videos of returning soldiers surprising their loved ones in various ways. Something about the surprise joy in both situations gets the tears flowing for me.
posted by animalrainbow at 3:35 PM on May 2, 2015


Especially this scene.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:45 PM on May 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

Very most definitely, as mentioned above, Dear Zachary. Holy cow, that one.
Agreement also to these surefire criers: Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias, The Champ (with a wee Ricky Schroeder), The Green Mile

Other stuff that made me cry but that is also certifiably over-the-top chick flick territory, here in their own list so you can disregard it outright if needed: Beaches, The Notebook, The Time-Traveler's Wife, Fried Green Tomatoes, A Walk on the Moon

If a dog person:
Beau poem, by Jimmy Stewart
Dukey's Last Day
The Last Will and Testament of Silverdene Emblem O'Neill
posted by Glinn at 4:33 PM on May 2, 2015

Do you ever cry tears of joy? I don't have specific suggestions, but perhaps movies that are unbearably inspiring might be a potential avenue for you to explore.
posted by sam_harms at 4:46 PM on May 2, 2015

elle fanning's performance in phoebe in wonderland is amazing and a total tearjerker.
posted by colorproof at 7:10 PM on May 2, 2015

My vote is for The Iron Giant.

posted by Aleyn at 7:39 PM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Savasana at the end of yoga. Or the episode of MASH when Henry Blake leaves. Jim Croce's "Operator." Maybe try writing a letter to your future children (if applicable or hypothetically applicable) about something - not necessarily the abuse directly, but your hopes for them that may be the opposite of what you've experienced. That might get moisture flowing
posted by Pax at 8:06 PM on May 2, 2015

I *just* finished watching 'Interstellar.' Goddammit- highly effective. Blubber away, as I did
posted by JulesER at 8:22 PM on May 2, 2015

Watch Amour. This movie is guaranteed to make you cry.
posted by onecircleaday at 9:39 PM on May 2, 2015

Trying to sing along to this song starts me crying. Every time. It's my go-to-song in the car if I need a cry..... probably not the best place to do that though.....
posted by jacanj at 6:03 AM on May 3, 2015

Listen to the Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast that corresponds with your abuse. Sexual abuse is really f'n sad on it's own, cry for yourself (what did it for me is seeing a child of the same age I was and imagining myself that age, then thinking "How could a monster hurt a child like that??") or the guest on the podcast with a similar situation.

posted by Kestrelxo at 10:51 AM on May 3, 2015

reading the Little Prince does it to me every time. something about the innocent way it describes the misery that grownups get themselves into.
posted by monologish at 11:44 AM on May 3, 2015

I pretty much never cry watching movies, but the documentary Pina hit me a certain way at one point and I just lost it. It's not even supposed to be sad- it's mostly dancing. If you like watching dance at all, turn the lights off, make a cup of herbal tea, and watch it.
posted by wondermouse at 10:11 PM on May 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow! Thank you everyone for all of these ideas. I'm working my way through and looking at some of them.
posted by chairish at 12:07 AM on May 7, 2015

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