The movies that make you want to cry and why

A lot of people are expressing their emotions over the final installment of “Avengers.” People have reported crying uncontrollably because of the emotional attachment they feel to the Avengers universe. Why do we have this response? Well, we humans tend to respond emotionally whenever we have invested our identity into something. This is the reason why sports fans cry when their hometown team wins a Championship; because they have identified with a city, and therefore a team, and when that team wins it’s as if their identity is being affirmed. This same thing can happen with music we grew up with, or movies we loved throughout adolescence. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with any of this, but I would simply point out for Christians that when we come to faith in Christ now our identity is rooted firmly in Him, and so our emotions should change as our affections for the Gospel increase. So, whereas we may become emotional at our favorite childhood band’s concert, we as Christians grow in having our emotions transformed by Christ and what Christ loves and hates– so we begin to rejoice at seeing faith lived out, and we sometimes cry when contemplating the Gospel, and we are moved by a worship service or sermon, and we are angry at sin, and deeply saddened by the effects of sin on earth.

Movies, like the “Avengers,” can be powerful stories that spark emotions in us due to nostalgia, but also because some cause us to think critically and bring to bear the truth of God’s Word on our current world reality as we are “in exile” away from our home in heaven, and purposely living on earth. Here are 5 movies that have either caused me to cry, or have at least made me want to cry.

  1. Old Yeller: It’s amazing that a dog can teach a human being so much about loyalty and friendship. When Old Yeller got rabies and needed to be shot it was absolutely gut-wrenching. This movie makes us contemplate the truth that disease is a direct result of the fall of humanity, because before the fall of man there was no disease or death. So, when Old Yeller dies and “man’s best friend” is taken away it should actually remind us that sin has deeply infected the entirety of the created order, and it points out the need for restoration in God.
  2. Click: People laugh at me when I say this movie made me cry. But seriously think about it… The movie is about a man who selfishly desired to control everything in his life, and it led him to fast-forward through all of the precious moments of fatherhood. His kids grew up to hate their absent father and he realizes his mistake. There is a scene in the movie when Adam Sandler’s character is dying and his Son comes to see him and he wants so badly to tell his son that he loves him and he is sorry, but his voice literally doesn’t work due to his illeness. He stands up and fights his way towards his son, and as rain pours and his son is walking to his car, Adam Sandler’s character crawls out to reach his son, but his son can’t hear him. There are a million lessons for us to learn from this and it is incredibly emotion invoking! The greatest lesson from Click is to be present with people who matter/should matter to you. Because of his own selfish pride, Adam Sandler’s character missed his only chance to be there for and with his family and he had to deal with the consequences.
  3. Hardball: You remember this Keanu Reeves classic? He begrudgingly becomes the coach of an inner-city youth baseball team where he meets a kid named G-Baby. Keanu, and all of us who saw the movie, fall in love with this big-hearted young kid… In the most famous G-Baby scene he sings Notorious B.I.G. lyrics and teaches his out of touch baseball coach to sing along…. One day, G-Baby goes to his home in the projects and winds up being shot and killed by a stray bullet in a gang fight. His brother hugs him and holds him shouting “You’re gonna be ok!” But, clearly G-Baby was not OK and he died; the heart and soul of the youth baseball team was ripped out. This is another movie that shows us the harsh reality of living in a world broken by sin. Poverty, gang violence, racism, and all of the issues highlighted in Hardball are all an effect of the fall, and so a Christian watches a movie like “Hardball” and should rightly be moved to emotion over the brokenness of the world this movie shines light on.
  4. A Star is Born: I saw this movie with my wife last year and I was deeply effected by the tragedy. Right when you think the main character overcomes his alcohol addiction he becomes deeply sorrowful and remorseful for embarrassing the woman he loves, because of his past sins. Some of you may not have seen this movie yet, so I won’t spoil the ending, but it is a tragic end for a man wrestling with deep rooted issues. This movie caused me to examine my own heart, to take inventory of my own shortcomings, and it honestly caused me to cling to Jesus as my only hope.
  5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Don Draper famously said, “Nostalgia- it’s delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek ‘nostalgia’ literally means ‘the pain from an old wound.’ It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone.” No movie in my lifetime has ever brought me nostalgia quite like “The Force Awakens.” For context, I grew up on Star Wars, so when I saw Leia, Han, and Chewy in the Millennium Falcon, I was flooded with childhood nostalgia. The moment when Harrison Ford walks onto the Millennium Falcon and says “Chewy, we’re home,” was one of my favorite moments from any movie ever. It is a moment that showed me the power of childhood memories, family, and a sense of belonging.

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