The Cry-terion Collection: 5 Movies To Make You Cry

The cry-terion collection refers to the movies and TV show episodes that are essential for a good cry.

The Theory of Everything

This biopic centers on the life of the late physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) during his time at University, onward. For many of us who grew up on The Science Channel, Hawking was an integral part of helping our young minds unlock the mysteries of the Universe. The movie, based on the memoir of Hawking’s first wife, takes us on a journey from the highest highs to a black pit of sadness. The Theory of Everything shows us how Stephen and Jane first met, Hawking’s diagnosis of ALS, and his eventual climb to world recognition as one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. But this film also reminds us that no matter how smart someone is, it’s hard being a human.

Saving Mr. Banks

A movie based on real life, Saving Mr. Banks tells the story of Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) attempts to secure the movie rights of Mary Poppins (Emma Thompson) from the author of the book, P.L. Travers. The film is surprisingly dark and truthful for a Disney production. --The movie also tells the story behind the real-life Mary Poppins that inspired Travers to write the book. The movie flip flops between the 1960’s where Disney and Travers battle over the production of Mary Poppins, and Travers’ life growing up with an alcoholic father. Several interactions between Disney and Travers as well as Travers and her limousine driver (Paul Giamatti) show that she is a hard woman with a soft spot. The flashbacks show what made her this way and why she feels the way she does about the Mary Poppins story.


Once again, a movie that can be found in the “movies based on real life” category. This film follows the story of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) as he accepts his own homosexuality and rises to be the first openly gay candidate elected to an office in the United States. Clocking in at just over two hours, it is lengthy, but doesn’t contain any filler. Each moment, some happy, but most sad, serve to drive the movie forward. You’re never stuck checking to see how much longer until the Milk ends, instead each moment moves seamlessly into one another as you slowly learn who Harvey is and why he fights so hard for his movement. The story does not have a fair or happy ending, but the heaviness and truth of the Harvey Milk story is why it deserves to be seen.

The Perfect Storm

And here we have another nonfiction story on the list. Made in 2000, the movie was based on a book that came out in 1997, which was written about events that took place in 1991. The movie is star studded, award worthy, and controversial. The Perfect Storm depicts the events surrounding the disappearance of the Andrea Gail fishing vessel that was lost at sea during Hurricane Gail in 1991. The film as a whole was not well received by critics, citing a lack of compelling storytelling, however the special effects and sound editing did receive Oscar nods. There were also lawsuits brought against those responsible for the film due to several people’s unhappiness with the portrayal of themselves or loved ones. All of the lawsuits were thrown out. All of this falls to the wayside when viewing one of the last scenes of the movie. As the crew of the Andrea Gail come to terms with their impending death, it is hard not to empathize and weep for the characters making peace with this world.

The Wrestler

As a lifelong wrestling fan, The Wrestler shows why I have such respect for the people involved in the world of professional wrestling. The Wrestler was released in 2008 and garnered much acclaim from critics and wrestling fans alike. Randy “The Ram” Robinson, played by Mickey Rourke, is a retired professional wrestler who has fallen from grace. Instead of working in front of a sold out crowd every night, he works at a deli at the local supermarket. On the weekends, he’s reminded of his past success when he wrestles in front of 20 people at a small VFW hall. While the story is fictional, Randy The Ram represents every wrestler over the age of 50. He put his body on the line every night and he has nothing to show for it but broken relationships and broken body.