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E.C. Henry

Admittedly, I'm not much of a "cryer," BUT I think I did well-up towards the end of "Atonement" (2007: James McAvoy/Keira Knightly). And I know for a fact that the older lady to my left in the theatre I was at was crying.

I don't know why this is, but in the specs I've penned I find it much easier to feel my character's pain, rather than their joy. And the current spec I'm working on (hopefully) will be a real tear jerker.

No shame in crying at the movies. THAT just means those who put the thing together achieved high art; a.k.a. enough to solicit your tears. That's saying something.

BUT in today's rom-com landscape it's all about light-hearted fare. Lone exception, "500 Days of Summer" which really got into the heartache of the male protagonist.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA


Philadelphia gets me every time. My Girl too.


E.C. Feeling your character's pain is an interesting thing. You've given them life and they're giving you back your feelings. Agreed on 500 Days...

Martin: Good ones. "Unearned suffering borne with grace" seems to be the through-line.

Daniel Smith


My father cried during King Ralph during the scene where he gave up the crown precisely because he gave it up of his own freewill. He knew he was a lousy king and there was someone else that had a better claim. He did the right thing and it came at personal cost even though he was happy with his chosen woman afterward.

If the Shawshank Redemption ever made me cry (I honestly don't remember), then it was probably the tragedy and injustice of it all. Not merely a man sent to prison but an innocent man under those conditions and sent for murdering his wife. Ghost with Patrick Swayze also strikes a chord in the scene when he's screaming "I had a life!" among others.

So, life-changing choices? Personal sacrifice/tragedy/injustice? It's about the choices we make with their consequences and the consequences we endure when others make choices that affect us. Personally, I hate seeing injustice most.

Skye Leith

We took our 9 year old daughter to see Lion King which recently re-released in 3D. Mufasa's death, Simba's guilt, Simba's rediscovering of his sweetheart, his power and his purpose kept my faucet wide open for fully the last half of the film. Great post, Mr. Mernit.

Debra Montoya

I just cried yesterday watching Dance with Me for the 10th time. Now you're making me think, why? Hmm. For me, musicals often reduce me to tears - something to do with the music and lyrics and actions all coming together in a perfect "moment" of truth and beauty. Especially when love is involved - and the lovers finally realize it. Ah, yes.


Daniel: "...the consequences we endure when others make choices that affect us." Nicely put. Thank you for this comment - great food for thought.

Thanks, Skye: Interesting that we cry both for the "sad" (death, etc.) and the inspiring ("power and purpose"). A lot of tears get shed for what keeps powering people in SPITE of death and other adversities, I'm thinking...

Debra: Totally with you there - thanks for articulating this "tears at the realization of love" idea. That's great.

Mike M.

Billy...enjoyed your classes at what looks like the last CS Expo. Movies that get me in the tear ducts, huh? From years back, Brian's Song does it every time. The bond shared by Sayers and Piccolo was a beautiful thing especially in the late 60's. Speaking of personal bonds, I lose it every time the flowers come back to life in E.T. I am lucky enough to still have both my parents alive but the end of Field Of Dreams always makes me want to have a catch with my dad. Finally, the innocence and joy of Christmas brings tears to my eyes when Ralphie finally gets his Red Ryder BB gun. Not only do I love the joy in Ralphie's face but also the way his father is taken back to his childhood when he is telling Ralphie how to load the BB's. Again...enjoyed the two classes and, now, catching up on your blog.


I know i'm not really a guy, but thought i'd toss in mine anyway-

the few movies that have made me cry were usually if someone died when it wasn't really their time- being separated from people they should have had more time with (parents, lovers, siblings, children) or before they could really be together. Movies such as City of Angels, Titanic, the Lion King, P.S. I Love You, and Beyond Borders (the only movie that ever made me cry in public).

Then movies where the death was tragic: The Green Mile, American History X

I know that happy parts of movies make me get a bit teary eyed, but for some reason i can't recall which movies... but I can say that what gets me will probably be things like people who are supposed to be enemies do something compassionate for the other because they make a human connection or people are reunited etc etc


Thanks, Mike: "Brian's Song" definitely strikes a chord with the male audience, big-time, and your fathers and sons thoughts make sense to me.

LCG: Unexpected compassion! That's a huge one for me - gets me every time.

לחץ כאן

I managed to pull this off, although weak in the knees, I waited earn points for my faux-stoic maturity.


"It's a Wonderful Life" makes me cry every year when Harry Bailey says, "A toast, to my big brother, George -- the richest man in town!" Can relate to a lot of what George has gone through as far as unfulfilled dreams and financial struggles go, and to see his wife, family and the town rally around him ... floodgates.


Butch: You're not alone, dude - "It's a Wonderful Life" opens the floodgates for all (both genders). I think what packs a charge in your example is the idea of people helping each other, with such a selfless love... Ah, if it were more often the case in real life...!

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