A Year in Tears: 13 Weep-Worthy Movies of 2013

We laughed, we cried...but mostly we cried

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D. Stevens / Legendary Pictures Productions LLC / Warner Bros.

Confession: lots of the movies that came out in the last twelve months made me cry. I wept with joy; I howled (quietly, with respect for my fellow moviegoers) with sadness. This doesn’t make 2013 a particularly special year—no recent movie can even hold a crying candle to Whale Rider, the only movie ever to make me hyperventilate in a multiplex parking lot—but as we begin a brand new year full of reasons to bring a hankie to the movies (because wiping your eyes with a popcorn-greasy paper napkin is a rookie mistake), here’s an extremely subjective list of 13 of last year’s most tear-duct-exploiting movies.

(MORE: Richard Corliss’ Top 10 Movies of 2013)

This is not a list of the saddest or most moving movies of the year, and it’s not scientific. For example, 12 Years a Slave is not on the list, due to containing more of the mouth-hanging-open-in-shock kind of pain and sadness than the weeping-in-a-movie-theater kind—but if you cried at it, we understand.

In 2013, we whipped out the Kleenex for:

Movie: World War Z

Why cry: Post-apocalyptic family reunion

Movie: The Spectacular Now

Why cry: Pre-apocalyptic family falling apart

Movie: The Sapphires

Why cry: The conquering of adversity, over the course of many rehearsal sessions

Movie: 42

Why cry: The conquering of adversity, over the course of many innings

Movie: The Butler

Why cry: The conquering of adversity, over the course of many Presidential administrations

Movie: Short Term 12

Why cry: Sad kids

Movie: Winnie Mandela

Why cry: Sad Jennifer Hudson

Movie: About Time

Why cry: The part where the father and son walk on the beach; the part where they get married; the ephemeral nature of human life; ugh, so many tears

Movie: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Why cry: Realization that Rue will never get a chance to grow up

Movie: Frozen

Why cry: Realization that you are a grown-up

Movie: Dallas Buyers Club

Why cry: Real-life struggles; Jennifer Garner, causing wet eyes ever since Alias

Movie: Saving Mr. Banks

Why cry: Real-life struggles; Emma Thompson, causing wet eyes ever since Love Actually

Movie: The Best Man Holiday

Why cry: Pretty sure that’s the point of the movie

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