It was the last 10 minutes of one of my favorite tear-jerkers Imitation of Life, starring Lana Turner, , , and John Gavin.
I will not bore you with the details of the old-fashioned plot line. If you have never seen this 1959 melodrama, I am sorry for the spoiler. It’s the story of two single mother’s raising their daughters in the 1950’s.
Lana Turner is a struggling actress whose success means she spends less time with her daughter, played by Sandra Dee. Juanita Moore, plays Annie Johnson and her mulatto (fair-skinned) daughter, whose desire to live another life, broke her mother’s heart. The crying start in the last scene of Annie’s (Juanita Moore) funeral makes me cry every time. How can you help yourself?
Get Out Your Tissues
This is a funeral to rival that of JFK and Princess Diana, complete with horse-drawn carriages, teary-eyed mourner, and a Dixieland band. Mahalia Jackson singing a tragic gospel song about dying, Lana Turner and Sandra Dee bawling their eyes out and being comforted by a misty-eyed John Gavin.
Every single person who appeared in the movie is crying like a baby because they loved her so much. But where is Annie’s beloved and ungrateful daughter, Sarah Jane?
Cut to the outside of the church where throngs of people watch Annie’s flower covered coffin being loaded into the hearse. Then, from out of the crowd you hear her. Wearing an old beat up coat and hat, looking downtrodden and bedraggled.
It’s Sarah Jane, coming home at last, but too late to see her long-suffering mother being laid to rest. She pushes her way through the crowd, throws open the back doors of the car and [this is part that always gets me] lays herself across her mother’s coffin to beg her forgiveness.
“Oh mama, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry… John Gavin brings her into the car where Lana Turner comforts her…”Oh Miss Laura, I killed my mother“. (excuse me, I need a minute…Ok, I’m Ok now).
I know, this is schmaltz at it best/worst. But sometimes a girl just needs to cry and they just don’t make sad chick flicks like this any more.
It gave me the idea for this blog. A place for movies that women love. The romantic comedies, the tear-jerkers, the fairytale fantasies, the movie that stars the gorgeous man who comes to your rescue (even though you can rescue yourself). All them in one place.
What do you think? In honor of the many tears I have shed at the movies, here is my list of the saddest chick flicks. Your ideas are welcome. What movies bring a tear to your eyes?
Here is the list of my favorite tear-jerkers. I have also updated the list to include some suggestions from reader comments.
Barbara Stanwick is wonderful as the tacky, but self-sacrificing mother.
2. Imitation of Life
Two mothers from different walks of life struggle to raise their daughters.
3. Madame X
Another Lana Turner movie and more mother’s love.
4. Now, Voyager
Bette Davis goes from old maid to gorgeous and finds love at last.
Bette Davis as a spoiled socialite who falls in love with a country doctor.
A loving tribute to movies and the power of love. A must see for movie lovers.
BFFs Bette Midler and Barbara Hersey meet as children and continue their friendship as adults, going through life’s ups & downs together.
9. My Dog Skip
An only child gets a dog who becomes his best friend. Let me just tell you, I saw this movie one Sunday afternoon a few weeks after having lost my little dog. I cried so hard, I had a headache.
Finally one about fathers and sons. Tim Burton’s fantasy still brings a tear to my eye. The great British actor Albert Finney stars with Billy Crudup.
11. The Notebook (added by Amanda)*
The novels of Nicholas Sparks are always to be read with a box of tissue. The say can be said for his movies. Although the book Message in a Bottle was better than the movie, it is still worth renting. The Notebook is the all-time most romantic tearjerker ever. Starring Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Gena Rowlands and James Garner.
12. Terms of Endearment *
The relationship between a mother and daughter is put to the test.
13. Mr. Holland’s Opus*
Richard Dryfuss stars as a music teacher who learns that his life really does have meaning.
14. Bridges of Madison County
Meryl Streep as a lonely Midwestern housewife who falls for Clint Eastwood. The scene in the car at the red light…that’s all I’m going to say.
Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece about a Swedish industrialist attempt to save factory workers in Nazi Germany. Not a chick flick., but you will shed a tear when you seen the little girl in the red coat.
This one always makse men cry. “Oh yeah…you’re not crying, you just have something in your eye.”
17. Notting Hill (added by Diane Lee)
You know how I feel about Julia Roberts.
18. Moulin Rouge (added by Windy)
It is a sad chick flick, not to mention the fact that it is a musical. But is not one of my favorites. Although the song “Come What May” at the end of the movie is worth it.
19. Bambi (added by Gwen)
Does anyone in a Disney movie ever have both parents?
See #9. You know this one will send me reaching for the Advil.
21. Where The Red Fern Grows (added by Gwen)
22. Romeo & Juliet (1968 Zeffirelli version)
I saw this movie with a large group of friends, including my weepy cousin Gloria. She cried so loud, I thought she was having a seizure. She did the same thing for Love Story.
Kramer vs. Kramer
24. The Color Purple
25. Legends of the Fall
27. Steele Magnolias
28. Life Is Beautiful