Put These Tearjerkers On Your Spring Movie List If You’re Ready For A Good Cry

by Trish Bendix
Warner Bros. Pictures

Who doesn't love a good cry? And spring is actually the perfect season for shedding tears. Dr. John Sharp writes in Psychology Today that "emotional discomfort and even despair can ... increase during springtime," and encourages having a game plan for this time on what he calls the emotional calendar. If you find crying cathartic, like many people do, then there are some specific release dates you should also add to your emotional calendar this spring: 18 tear-jerking movies guaranteed to make you tear up, weep, or just plain pour.

This March, April, and May are ripe with sad or happy-sad films, from features based on heart-tugging true stories to a documentary about one of the most horrific school shootings in American history. There's a handful of animals, romance-driven dramas, and redemption tales, as well as a new animated offering about chosen family and miraculous recoveries and realizations. Whether you prefer mainstream movies with recognizable faces or smaller indies with grit and dark themes, there all kinds of viewing options in theaters or the comfort of your own home.

Spring 2019 is ready and willing to make you wail. Here is a list of the best tearjerkers to check out in the next three months.


'We Are Columbine'

Four survivors of the Columbine shootings return to their high school and recount personal memories from before, during, and after the horrific attack that took place on April 20, 1999. The documentary is especially poignant as it's directed by Laura Faber, a fellow survivor who was a freshman at Columbine at the time of the shootings.

In theaters now.



This live-action retelling of a Disney classic has Tim Burton at the helm. It's the same plot (a baby elephant with big ears has a secret talent and therefore gets exploited by evil humans), but this time, Colin Farrell and his on-screen children (Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins) are the ones looking out for little big guy, who is computer-generated.

In theaters now.



Mary Kay Place stars as the titular Diane, a 70-year-old woman who stays busy taking care of everyone but herself. But at night, she's left alone with her thoughts, her guilt, and her loneliness. Writer/director Kent Jones has been winning festival awards and accolades for this thrilling drama that keeps viewers wondering what Diane is trying to make up for having done to deserve such a punishing existence.

In theaters now.


'A Vigilante'

Olivia Wilde leads this drama as the eponymous vigilante looking to avenge women who have been abused and violated by torturing their perpetrators. A survivor herself, Wilde's Sadie is simultaneously processing her own trauma while helping other women process theirs.

In theaters now.


'The Best of Enemies'

Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell co-star in this real life story of unlikely friends: a black mother and grassroots activist Ann Atwater and Durham, North Carolina-based KKK leader C.P. Ellis. This retelling has the blessing of friends and family members, so you can feel good about watching the drama unfold.

In theaters April 5.


'Storm Boy'

This Australian drama based on a children's book details the friendship between a young boy and the three orphan pelicans he saves and befriends. In the vein of Old Yeller and Free Willy, the story is about the cycle of life, and is therefore made to make you cry.

In theaters April 5.


'The Public'

Emilio Estevez gathered a group of stars to join him in his film about a group of homeless people who take over a library to get out of a deadly cold front. Estevez and Jena Malone play librarians caught in the crossfire when Michael Kenneth Williams's character stages a sit-in. Alec Baldwin is the detective who attempts to mediate, while Gabrielle Union is a local reporter detailing the struggle from outside. Taylor Schilling, Jacob Vargas, and Jeffrey Wright are also part of the timely drama that comments on race, class, and human decency.

In theaters April 5.



Josh Stewart writes, directs, and stars in this film about opioid abuse in Appalachia. Waylon (Stewart) and his wife (A.J. Cook) lose their daughter in a devastating accident, which leads Waylon into a pain killer addiction he shares with his sisters (Agnes Bruckner). This family story is grounded in the real-life struggle of opiate addiction in West Virginia where Stewart was born and raised.

In theaters April 5.



Mike Leigh's British historical drama tells the story of the Peterloo Massacre that killed 18 people and injured several hundred. The fictionalized version of true events stars Rory Kinnear as Henry Hunt, the leader of the leader of the calvary that infamously charged into a crowd of 60,000–80,000 demanding parliamentary reform in Manchester in 1819.

In theaters April 5.


'Missing Link'

A new animated film from Laika (Coraline, ParaNorman) has big names like Hugh Jackman and Emma Thompson lending their voices to the hunt for Bigfoot's long-lost family. Jackman's Sir Lionel Frost and Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana) joins Bigfoot (a.k.a. Mr. Link, voiced by Zach Galifianakis) for the search, which no one else seems to believe in. Together, the trio find family, love, and support in each other.

In theaters April 12.


'Girls Of The Sun'

Eva Husson directs this French drama based on a true story of Kurdish women who escaped ISIS capture and fight back. Their stories are horrific, but they are heroic.

In theaters April 12.


'Mary Magdalene'

Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix are Mary and Jesus, respectively, in this retelling of a Biblical tale that memorably includes some tragedy.

In theaters April 12.



Based on real events, this movie stars Chrissy Metz and Josh Lucas as the parents of a young teen who falls into a coma after a close-call with broken ice and freezing cold water. The family must look to God, who comes by way of Pastor Jason Noble (Topher Grace) and Tommy Shine (Mike Colter), the first responder who saved their son from what otherwise would have been certain death.

In theaters April 17.


'Bright Ones'

If you love preteens performing like pop stars, Bright Ones is for you. This uplifting, Christian-based film is all about overcoming all challenges and persevering to to share your talents with the world.

In theaters April 22.


'Fearless Faith'

This movie from Atonement Pictures has two white male cops finding their way back to God after questioning his existence due to their daily line of duty.

In theaters May 7.


'A Dog's Journey'

Another dog movie you say? This dog keeps on living and living and living (but also dying and dying and dying, so, as long as you can handle that).

In theaters May 17.


'The Sun Is Also A Star'

Ry-Russo Young directs this adaptation of Everything, Everything author Nicola Yoon's other best-selling YA novel. Natasha (Yara Shahidi) has only 24 hours left in New York City before her family is deported to Jamaica. In a case of either perfect or terrible timing, this is the fateful day she meets Daniel Bae (Charles Melton). Is the universe messing with them, or is it simply planting some seeds?

In theaters May 17.



This Indian-American love story has two strangers connecting over a chance meeting in Mumbai when Rafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) takes Miloni's (Sanya Malhotra) photograph. In an not so unfamiliar plot, Rafi asks if he can pretend Miloni is his girlfriend to please his grandmother. What starts as a ruse builds into a relationship and unlikely romance.

In theaters May 17.

Have your tissues handy this spring, and get ready to feel your feelings.