15 Heartbreaking Moments In Hilarious Movies

It’s happened to all of us: one minute, you’re watching a movie and laughing at what’s supposed to be a reprieve from the emotional turbulence that is real life — the next, you’re crying in a theater, blindsided by feelings.

It’s terrible, great, and also sometimes embarrassing. (We're looking at you, and anyone else who’s stifled tears next to a stranger.) Even worse, it’s not something you can keep to yourself. As a person who cried recently while watching Frost/Nixon on TV, the only defense against those few minutes of vulnerability is to laugh at them by telling everybody you know. That way, you get to laugh at yourself before anybody can laugh at you.

Or at least that’s the takeaway after realizing more than a few of us actually cried during Ted.

Here’s our list of all the other sneakily sad movies that destroyed our hearts, minds, and psyches.
Advertisement
1 of 15
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company
Our Idiot Brother

Moment: Ned (Paul Rudd) delivers harsh truths at dinner

As the disaster of the family, we get used to laughing at Ned during the majority of Our Idiot Brother. However, while trying to get his life together, failing, then getting yelled at by his three sisters (who are equally flawed but in different ways) before going back to jail, Ned snaps and reminds them of how selfish and negative they are. Then, he’s taken into custody by an officer who knows how hard Ned’s been trying, and it’s all over. We’re crying. You’re crying. And I’m pretty sure Ned’s sisters cry, too.
2 of 15
Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Knocked Up

Moment: Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) bonds with his new daughter

This we know: Judd Apatow films go for the heart. So really, we shouldn’t have been surprised that following the birth of his daughter — you know, after getting his life together — perpetual man-child Ben Stone holds his daughter, and gently walks her through how he and Allison (played by Katherine Heigl) fell in love. Or more specifically, we shouldn’t have been surprised when we fell apart in the movie theatre watching Ben Stone talk to the tiny baby, only to wonder how this could happen less than five seconds after Jay Baruchel’s character get hilariously traumatized after walking in on the birth.
Advertisement
3 of 15
Major League

Moment: Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes) steals home

In a moment that’s as close to winning the World Series as most of us will ever get, Willie Mays Hayes steals home and cements a victory for the Cleveland Indians while the New York Yankees look on in sorrow/sadness/disbelief. Frankly, the only way it could get more emotional would be if at the very last minute, the movie turned into A League of Their Own.
4 of 15
Four Weddings and a Funeral

Moment: Gareth’s (Simon Callow) funeral

Every movie funeral is sad, but according to us, Gareth’s is one of the saddest because it involves the beautiful John Hannah (who plays Matthew) reading a poem about how much Gareth meant to him. To be honest, how dare this scene happen? The actual four weddings should’ve overshadowed the funeral sadness — instead, it just makes it even sadder.
5 of 15
Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Trainwreck

Moment: Amy (Amy Schumer) eulogizes her dad (Colin Quinn)

In all fairness, they kind of warned us. But despite Amy being tipped off by her dad’s nurse that he’d been hoarding his medication, part of us still hoped it was just a red herring; that maybe he’d have a near-death moment that would bring everyone together. Sadly, we were wrong. And so after Amy’s dad dies (after they fight — so she doesn’t even get to say goodbye to him), she delivers an honest and heart-wrenching eulogy that saw some of us (hello) focus on any other thing in the theatre to avoid any/all tears or displays of emotion. (So on that note: the theatre I was in had 24 people sitting in front of me.)
6 of 15
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures
Juno

Moment: Juno (Ellen Page) breaks down after realizing what she thought was a perfect family is actually far from

Growing up can be terrible, but fortunately Diablo Cody gave us a vessel on which to fully embrace that important life lesson. Enter: Juno, the movie about a teen girl who gets pregnant, wants to believe in love and in family, and is ultimately disappointed — until she learns it’s the people who suck, not necessarily the institutions. This comes, of course, after the man (Jason Bateman) she’s hoping will adopt her baby makes a move on her, leading to the breakdown of his marriage to his wife (Jennifer Garner), and leaving Juno feeling betrayed and crying on the side of the road in her van. Which, as we all know, is how all adults cry from about age 19 onward.
7 of 15
My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Moment: Toula’s (Nia Vardalos) dad presents her with the deed to a house

We thought we were safe. For the entirety of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, we were presented only with the hilarity surrounding Toula’s family-defined life — especially her father’s antics, as he sprayed everything around him with Windex. But no, with only minutes to go until the end, Mr. Portokalos (Michael Constantine) presents Toula and her husband Ian (John Corbett) with a heartfelt speech and the deed to a new house which, according to how much we were all crying, should be named: Waterworks Central.
Advertisement
8 of 15
Bridesmaids

Moment: Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Lillian (Maya Rudolph) share one last “I got you, girl” stare

Oh boy. Granted, if you watch Bridesmaids on a particularly emotional day, you’ll lose it when Annie painstakingly makes a cupcake to eat alone. You’ll cry when she makes an apology cake for Officer Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd) that he doesn’t eat. You’ll tear up when she hugs her mom (Jill Clayburgh). But nothing will make you cry like her “It’ll be okay” look after Lillian gets married. Because yes, they’ll always be friends, but we also know how friendship changes when marriages and moving happens.
9 of 15
Little Miss Sunshine

Moment: The Hoovers join Olive (Abigail Breslin) onstage to dance to “Super Freak”

As part of the Little Miss Sunshine pageant, Olive chooses to dance to “Super Freak.” Having learned the moves from her late grandfather (Alan Arkin), she’s oblivious to their, er, “adult” connotations — until the crowd begins shaming and trying to remove her from the stage. That’s when the rest of her family steps up and joins her, taking it from a heartwarming to tear-inducing moment as quickly as it takes you to say “Rick James.”
10 of 15
The Nutty Professor

Moment: Sherman (Eddie Murphy) is fat-shamed by a comic (Dave Chappelle)

I mean, look: we know The Nutty Professor revolves around Eddie Murphy wearing a fat suit. But it was still awful to watch Reggie Warrington fat-shame Sherman in front of everybody. It was also surprisingly heart wrenching when Sherman admits at the end that he was trying to be somebody else. Feelings, you guys. Like Pokémon, we are catching them all.
11 of 15
Ted

Moment: Ted (Seth Macfarlane as a CGI bear) almost dies

The thing about surprise-crying is that only sometimes it happens. Like this: when Ted (the CGI bear, lest we forget) is ripped in half, dies, and returns only after Lori (Mila Kunis) makes a wish on a star. It’s a lot to deal with, okay? Just like when John (Mark Wahlberg) almost dies in the sequel.
12 of 15
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures
Kissing Jessica Stein

Moment: Jessica’s (Jennifer Westfeldt) mom, (Tovah Feldshuh) accepts her same-sex relationship

Granted, a movie about a woman’s hidden same-sex relationship probably should’ve been an indicator that at one point, we’d tear up. But alas, let’s document this emotional moment in case you were surprised by your own weeping. In a moment between Jessica and her mom Judy, she tells Jessica that she knows about her girlfriend, Helen (Heather Juergensen) and thinks “she is a very nice girl.” Which is ultimately the opposite of what Jessica thought would happen if her mother knew. So: acceptance, approval, openness, and a mother-daughter revelation. Maybe I’m crying even typing this sentence. (Maybe you’re crying reading it?)
Advertisement
13 of 15
Click

Moment: Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) fast-forwards his life and dies alone

I mean, yes, this is a movie about a magical remote control that allows you to fast-forward through the future. And yes, the remote control is given to bored suburban dad, Michael, by Christopher Walken (Morty) at a Bed, Bath, and Beyond. But still, when Michael starts forwarding through his life, he skips everything important — and becomes an absentee father and divorced person in the process. And then he dies. And so this is the story of how I cried in a drive-in movie theatre nine summers ago.
14 of 15
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Grumpy Old Men

Moment: Max (Walter Matthau) finds John (Jack Lemmon) having a heart attack in the snow

Honestly, if you didn’t weep during this scene, you don’t deserve to watch movies ever again. After a fight between perpetual odd couple Max and John, Max finds John in the snow on the side of the road, having suffered a heart attack while trying to walk home. Max then lists himself as John’s family, and the rest of us cry even harder, remembering that in real life, they totally were.
15 of 15
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Moment: Neal (John Candy) delivers the “I like me” speech

Here’s how to miss John Candy more than words: watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and appreciate his ability to make you laugh-cry via “The Mess Around” — and then the ability to make you cry-cry via the revelation that his wife died years ago and he has nowhere to go for Thanksgiving. But that’s not even the surprise sad part: while the movie is sold as a control freak Neal Page (Steve Martin) bunking and traveling with the laid-back Del Griffith (Candy), it’s actually about self-acceptance. Steve Martin’s character hates Del at first — and instead of trying to change, Del gives him the “I like me” speech, which is all that really matters.

Also we’re very sorry for making you weep at your desk.
Advertisement