I’m an unashamed lover of weepie movies. And even un-weepie movies that have some kind of triumph-over-adversity element (Sister Act being a prime example). Plus, most Disney films (Up‘s opening montage is a killer), black-and-white films ranging from Brief Encounter, to Bette Davis’s entire oeuvre (Dark Victory chief among them) and the “backstage” genre (especially Stage Door and Ziegfeld Girl). Oh, and this one Yellow Pages ad. And then of course, pretty much any film I watch on a plane*. Now, Project GoodCry is crowdsourcing the sadface films that people enjoy the most.
Recent research suggests that the appeal of sad movies is that they actually make us feel better. According to a study reported in Science Daily:
People enjoy watching tragedy movies like “Titanic” because they deliver what may seem to be an unlikely benefit: tragedies actually make people happier in the short-term.
Researchers found that watching a tragedy movie caused people to think about their own close relationships, which in turn boosted their life happiness. The result was that what seems like a negative experience — watching a sad story — made people happier by bringing attention to some positive aspects in their own lives.
“Tragic stories often focus on themes of eternal love, and this leads viewers to think about their loved ones and count their blessings,” said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, lead author of the study and associate professor of communication at Ohio State University.
Weirdly, Titanic does nothing for me. Maybe I’m selectively dead inside. Anyway. With the pathetic fallacy of April’s unending grey rain, it seems to be the perfect time to explore the greatest hits of tearjerkers, helpfully and socially compiled at Project GoodCry. For those needing a quick weep to cheer themselves up (paradoxical, but that’s science, innit), there’s a feed of the most popular tearjerking videoclips, ranging from sad cat YouTubes to the teary classic Beaches. They’re usefully ordered according to sadfacedness, and viewers can vote for the most tragic by clicking the “I Cried” teardrop. Probably NSFW – not in the usual porn way, but in the “don’t want to be crying at my desk if i ever want my colleagues to take me seriously again” way.
*There doesn’t seem to be any science to explain why a normally rational person would cry on a plane at such rubbish films as Dreamgirls or Twilight, for example. You’re in an enclosed space with strangers – and judgey ones at that – which you would think would prevent public weeping, but apparently not. Is it the altitude? The sharp red wine? The loneliness of the long distance traveller? Answers on a postcard, please.