Saturday, 1 January 2011

Decade in Review, Revisited: 25 Tear Jerking Scenes (Part Two) - Overdue

So, 2011 is here and I still have outstanding posts from 2010. So just because I just have to complete the list I’ll give it now, even though it’s dreadfully overdue. I gave you fifteen runners up a couple of months ago – tear jerking moments of the aughts. Here are the final ten. Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint the actual cause of tears shed vicariously for cinematic creations, but these ten are most salient.

Potentially Heavy Spoilers ahead: Be Warned
#10: Brokeback Mountain: “I Swear” (Guilty Party: Heath Ledger)
The more I see Brokeback Mountain the less I like it, Michelle Williams is still the only thing I find egregiously poor about it – and it’s still a fine film, just not one I’d go crazy over. I’m never even that convinced of the brilliance that is Heath Ledger’s performance in it (I’d probably pick Jake for best in show); well until the last few moments, that is. The older his character grows the better grip Ledger seems to have on himand that line at the end of the film is just a brilliant line reading. It’s sort of an encapsulation of all the things about the film and Heath makes it work brilliantly. Depressingly.

#9: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: “Some People Dance...” (Guilty Party: David Fincher)
The entire closing monologue of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a well handled tearjerker. I’d say it’s prosaic, and I wouldn’t mean it as insult. It’s a bit like a role-call of sorts and seeing all the persons who’ve played a role in Benjamin’s life makes me teary eyed for some reason. And, of course, it’s that final line for Daisy that’s the cinch. Fincher’s epic, of sorts, will continue to be polarising but I’ll continue to be a big fan of it.

#8: Bright Star: Departure (Guilty Party: Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish)
I’ll be honest, sometimes Bright Star is just a lesson in poetic sadness. It’s that much more brilliant because it’s moving even when it’s just being glib about it. The final scene that Ben and Abbie share together comes to mind immediately. The two have had a fairytale romance of sorts (unconsummated) and both know that he’s going to die in Italy. They lie on the bed, their bodies making a heart, and talk about the future that will never happen. I deliberately avoid romances like these, but I don’t what it is that makes Jane Campion’s tale so brilliant – it’s a “you had to be there” experience”. It’s easily the saddest part of the film for me…a relationship heading nowhere, and fast.

#7: Moulin Rouge: The Death (Guilty Party: Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor)
Is there anything more of a killer in 19th century literature than consumption? It’s weird – we already know Satine is dying but Baz distracts us with the elephant medley so that Satine’s death manages to still be surprising and even more ridiculously depressing

#6: The Hours: Crying (Guilty Party: Meryl Streep)
I singled out Clarissa Vaughn as my favourite Streep performance of the past decade. She has many moments of brilliance – a number of them opposite Ed Harris; but it’s a solitary scene opposite Jeff Daniels that fits the bill here. The two are reminiscing about their mutual friend and Clarissa gets too caught up in the pass, it’s an odd moment – and probably difficult to pull off. She moves from lucid to snivelling in almost a split second. Her line reading of “Don’t come any closer” is a favourite of mine. I’ve said it before, I don’t always love Streep but when she impresses me it’s brilliant.

#5: The Constant Gardener: Returning Ghosts (Guilty Party: Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz)
I don’t know if it’s just me, but for some reason Fernando Mereilles’ 2005 tour de force (says me) The Constant Gardener doesn’t seem to get the appreciation it deserves. It’s impeccably helmed by Mereilles and despite occasional snatches of incongruity the brilliant performances of Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz make up for it. The Constant Gardener is many things in one – a love story, a thriller, an espionage tale...on and on. In the final moments of the film we may have realised the “whodunit” of the entire thing but there’s no closure until the ghost of Tessa shows up to lead Justin away. It sounds so very schmaltzy but there’s some honest and wonderful about it. Weisz and Fiennes really work excellently together and that (imagined) reunion is just a fine bit of emotion, well played.

#4: Atonement: Monologue (Guilty Party: Joe Wright)
Why is the end of Atonement so sad? I can’t say; it just is. Unfulfilled dreams are always depressing, and Vanessa Redgrave is all kinds of brilliant (but that’s a given). She only needs a few moments to make me gloomy, and with the camera on her alone for so much of that monologue she delivers completely. Bring on the waterworks.

#3: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings “My Captain” (Guilty Party: Sean Bean Viggo Mortensen)
We see a number of deaths in The Lord of the Rings series, but it’s the first (main) one that I find the most striking. Sean Bean’s Boromir is unfortunately forgotten, but he’s excellent. He has the tough task of playing the anti-Aragorn character and his final moments are probably the most moving part of the first film. It’s when he tells Aragorn, “I would have followed you, my captain” that’s the cinch though. Mortensen’s facial response is golden.

#2: Revolutionary Road: Running (Guilty Party: Leonardo DiCaprio)
Revolutionary Road would definitely easily make it on any list of most depressing films of the aughts, well ever to be honest. Depressing, though it is (really, this was one of the most emotionally draining films of the aughts for me), I still can’t help admiring it. It’s a tug-of-war as to who comes out on top – Kate or Leo. They both do excellent work and Kate’s final scenes already make you a little tearful, but as far as tear jerking goes it’s all Leo. When he finds out about April death’s it’s the film’s most harrowing moment (and that’s saying a lot). It all culminates in him running (and crying), from the hospital, from April from the mistakes. It’s a nice bit of direction from Mendes and it’s a brilliant moment for Leo.

#1: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Credits (Guilty Party: Peter Jackson)
The biggest tearjerker of the decade for me wasn’t even any singular moment of sadness – it was just the culmination of hours upon hours of epic fantasy. I was never a big fan of Frodo (Tolkien’s Frodo or Jackson’s) but the final moments of the film as he makes his way away from the Shire as Sam makes his way back works well in its simplicity. But it’s when Annie Lennox’s “Into the West” comes on that the sadness really sinks in. I’m not sure if it’s sadness per se but it’s something akin – okay, maybe it was exhaustion. Still, it’s definitely the biggest reason for waterworks this past decade, for me.
So, it’s terribly late – but am I the only who went teary at these moments of cinematic sadness?


MovieNut14 said...

YES on Brokeback Mountain (also felt pangs of emotions when Ennis and Jack reunite). That scene in Revolutionary Road is much more effective in the book, IMHO.

M. Hufstader said...

Great list! Brokeback Mountain DEFINITELY killed my heart more than once, possibly because I saw it for the first time in the gay center of NY and it was the best movie viewing experience ever (with guys in the back shouting: "You can ride me, Jack!"). And I agree with LOTR--it was on TV the other night and I fell back in love all over again. It's the epic trilogy of this generation--it's pure fucking brilliance.

Simon said...

When Fanny finds out about John's death, I nearly lost it.

And then, there's the entirety of Dancer in the Dark.

Stevee Taylor said...

Benjamin Button's ending gets me every single time. Along with Frank running home in Revolutionary Road. Geez, I'm a wreck when I watch those movies.

Robert said...

Oh what a perfect number 1. LOTR makes me tear up like crazy. Of course, the Bright Star and Brokeback Mountain scenes are simply heartbreaking as well.

5plitreel said...

I've never sobbed as much as when Boromir died. I've done it in every adaption, tv, theatre, film, book. I just related to him I guess? Great writing in that scene, and reading. Viggo.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

anna really? i don't know, leo and the direction just really sell it for me.

m. hufstader "pure fucking brilliance" - worthy of being framed :)

simon yeah, that moment with john's list is on the other portion of the list. abbie is all sorts of brilliant there.

stevee and, honestly. i can't account for the ending of benjamin button getting to me as much, but lord knows it does.

robert glad i'm not alone.

5piltreel yeah, i like boromir....and i especially love sean bean in the role.

Runs Like A Gay said...

Agree with most of your choices.

In BBM I was in tears from the moment he went to Ennis Parents home (read the book, knew what was going to happen) and had to be walked to the car, still bawling, by then boyfriend.

The end of The Return of the King didn't do it for me though, sure welled up on the side of Mount Doom and a single tear trickled down my face when hobbits are told they don't need to knee but there were so may trick ending I became awfully cynical by the time the credits rolled.

Nigel Maruva Chikukwa said...

I love the fact that Vanessa Regrave returned to your blog again!

Anyway, that scene always makes me cry. Not because of the obvious grief/regrets involved but because I feel so bad for Briony. Guilt is just such a strong sentiment to bear. To me its the most venomous, psychologically speaking.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

runs like a gay i don't know, the "trick endings" never got me with LotR - the book is something else. but that ending of brokeback mountain WAS a cincher.

nigeli do feel sorry for briony, but i love how vanessa doesn't beg for sympathy.

rtm said...

Agree with a lot of these... I'm a crier anyway but some of these got me practically bawling. I thought the LOTR ending was kinda overdone and way too long, but totally agree with Boromir's death... waaa!! And seeing Christian sobbing on top of Satine's lifeless body always gets me. Nice list, Andrew!

Yojimbo_5 said...

I cry when dogs die in movies.

And nice to see that I'm not the only one for whom Brokeback has ever-diminishing returns. That last scene, though. Wow. You guys on the Right Coast haven't seen too many cowboys, so, let me assure you that Ledger is pretty damn amazing and got it pitch-perfect.