I often find that some of the most impactful film memories are those that really tug at the heartstrings. Sometimes, we know the film is shmaltzy or corny but we do not care. We weep anyway. We feel with these characters. Connect with them. And sometimes, those moments affect us every time we see them. The following are a few of those moments that impact me in such a way. That tug at the heartstrings and bring on the water works.
***BE WARNED!! THIS ARTICLE WILL SPOIL CERTAIN MOVIES***
The ending of Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. This movie is a classic. It has that Hallmark feeling but still has a little bite to it. It’s a comforting film but man….that last moment when you don’t know if Shadow, that old codger of a dog with undying faith in his master and the journey, made it home or not and then he comes over the hill. Not running, but limping somewhat because the journey was exausting and difficult and still…he made it home.
The death of Artax from The Neverending Story. You know something bad is gonna happen when the scene takes place in a location called The Swamps of Sadness. Even though we haven’t really seen Atreyu and Artax’s relationship, it resonates in this scene quite clearly that they have been on many adventures and now that friendship is ending, much like the realm of Fantasia.
Rocky Balboa goes the distance. Man, this is such a powerfully and famous scene. Some people don’t seem to understand that Rocky didn’t need to win the belt to win the fight. Just going toe to toe with Apollo Creed and showing the planet that he’s one of the best is victory enough. He proved he was a world class boxer. All he needed was a shot.
The scrapbook scene from UP. This scene is so great. It’ reaffirming yet nostalgic. The music is simply perfect. And the fact that Elle wants Carl to have more adventures after she’s gone is nothing short of inspiring. It’s this strange mixture of sad and happy. A simply incredible moment.
The last 30 minutes of Toy Story 3. Oy. This is a one-two punch. First, there’s the incinerator scene. I was convinced that it could have very well ended right there. It was driven home by having the characters accept that this was it. There was no logical way out. This was the end and Pixar was going to have the biggest cajones EVER for going this route. But then…a literal deus ex machina happens as a hand or in this case, a claw, saves them from certain destruction. It was brilliant. But then it was time to say good-bye to Andy. This is a scene that touched the hearts of many and famously made grown men cry in theaters. Much like UP though, life doesn’t end because someone important in your life has left. I love that message and it is endearing to see such maturity in a film without having to be violent or grotesquely disturbing.
So yeah….that was pretty sad but I still love these movies. I love that they challenged me to think beyond simple happy endings. Life isn’t that way and while it is nice to confide in some escapism, I find it’s even better when that escapism can help you reflect on life by showing emotional parallels like this. It really let’s you appreciate the characters and deepens them.