Unashamedly, I am a rather emotional person. Many things can make me cry given just a moments notice. Films are a big one. I guess as an actor I am quite practiced at allowing myself to be absorbed by a world that isn’t my own, and feeling involved in other people’s stories. But in fact crying at a film is one of my favourite things to do.
There are films which I will put on because I know they are going to make me well up and feel all emotional. I like the fact that I can release my emotions without anything actually happening to me. After 2 hours or so I can step back out into my own world, fresh, released and ready to carry on. Or at the very least I’ve allowed myself to cry about what was really bothering me. Sometimes you just need a good cry, so these are my top films for bringing tears to my eyes.
This Pixar movie tells the story of eleven year old Riley moving from Minnesota to San Francisco and her emotions – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust – trying to help her navigate her new life. We spend most of our time inside Riley’s head with these five characters personifying her emotions,watching how they interact and how their actions affect Riley’s out in the real world. Yes, this is in fact a children’s film, but it is also a brilliant commentary on growing up and even mental illness, to a point.
I love this film. It is funny with its reasoning behind things like getting a song stuck in your head; its really clever putting a story behind the way your mind works and I relate not only to Riley but also to Joy. Joy just wants Riley to be happy all the time (and who wouldn’t want that), and she too has to go on a journey to see things from a more grown-up point of view. She says at the beginning that she doesn’t really know what Sadness’ job is, but ends up learning so much from her and helping Riley to become a much more complex person.
The truth in this film is, I think, what gets me: Joy can’t make Riley happy all the time; no matter how hard she tries, Riley needs sadness to be a proper person; and sometimes you have to let go of the old happy memories to make space for new ones that might be even better.
Beauty and the Beast
The new live action version of the 90s Disney classic came out last month and it was everything I wanted it to be! As a child I wasn’t much of a disney person because I used to get too scared of the villians (Cinderella was a favourite for a long time because there weren’t any scary looking monsters), but I did have a Beauty and the Beast jewellery box which played ‘Tale as Old as Time’ and three year old me used to play it to baby Lucy to make her stop crying. Then I performed in the stage version of the musical as my last show at Beaumont School, so the story now holds a very special place in my mind. To be fair, the reason this film makes me cry is probably very specific, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a mention.
At the cinema, I did not stop crying for the whole film. Happy, nostalgic tears, but still tears non the less. It was all a bit overwhelming to see the story brought to life in a new way. I loved the extra story points adding to the background of the characters because it felt worth making an adaptation but still so true to the original. Alan Menken’s new music fitted in beautifully and the inclusion of the instrumental version of ‘Home’ from the stage production was genius and really tugged at some heart strings. One verse of the new piece “How does a moment last forever” has definitely become a favourite of mine.
This is the Paris of my childhood
These are the boarders of my life.
In this crumbling dusty attic
Where an artist loved his wife
Easy to remember, harder to move on
Knowing that the Paris of my childhood, is gone.
This film tells the story of Will Hayes trying to explain his divorce to his eleven year-old daughter. The majority of the film is spent 20 years prior to this within Will’s story of how he met his soon-to-be ex-wife, with short little jumps back to the present day when Maya objects or asks questions about the characters in his story.
Without giving away too much about the twists and turns of this plot (because my favourite moments in this film come right at the end!), the reason this story hits me, I think, is admiration for Maya. She is eleven years old, watching her parents split up and yet manages to show such empathy and understanding for the situation. She is so selfless; just wanting the people around her to be happy; seeming mature beyond her years. But Abigail Breslin’s portrayal, with the writing and direction given to her, makes the character seem completely inkeeping with the story, rather than showing traits that seemed too adult for an eleven year-old. I love that as a twenty year old I can admire the acts of an eleven year old and her relationship with the adults around her – it restores my faith in humanity a little!
There are many more that I would love to add to this list (Love Actually, My Sister’s Keeper, Never Let Me Go etc etc etc) because I get very into the world of a film. The new Star Wars films will probably always make me cry a little because they have been such a big part of our family life as I’ve been growing up. But these were the ones, off the top of my head, that will be my go-tos for an emotional outlet for at least the near future!