Let it all out! The sappiest holiday of the year is the perfect opportunity to indulge in some melodrama. Us Weekly rounded up some films that are guaranteed to get you sobbing ahead of Valentine’s Day. Grab those tissues and watch our compilation of the best tearjerkers above!
1. The Notebook
The 2004 adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel by the same name ensured that romantics everywhere gained a newfound appreciation for making out in the rain. As World War II–era star-crossed lovers, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams offer emotional performances, which may have been helped by the fact that their real-life relationship was fiery from the start: Gosling tried to order McAdams off the set, but the two began dating after the shoot was finished, ultimately parting ways in 2007.
Our hearts could not go on after watching this 1997 heartbreaker about Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet), who fall in love while aboard the doomed ship. Of course, they didn’t make it in the long run since that wooden panel would only support the weight of one person when the ship went down (though the show Mythbusters disagrees with this logic). The real-life actors remain friends, however, and costarred again in 2008’s Revolutionary Road.
3. Dear John
Sparks can always be relied upon for inspiring a cathartic sob session. This adaptation of his 2006 novel by the same name follows John (Channing Tatum) and Savannah (Amanda Seyfried), a couple who keep their love alive through letters while John serves in the military post–9/11. She ends up dumping him in one of her notes — harsh — but as with any good romance, that’s not the end of the story.
4. Love Story
If you haven’t heard of it, ask your mom about this 1970 film. No doubt she can rattle off the famous tagline: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) and Jennifer (Ali MacGraw) meet as students at Harvard University and Radcliffe College, respectively. Once they marry and try to conceive, they discover the tragic reason why they can’t have kids. We won’t spoil it for you — just grab the tissues and prepare to bawl.
Everyone knows the famous pottery wheel scene that’s been spoofed a million times over, but this 1990 film about a woman (Demi Moore) who’s followed by the poltergeist of her murdered lover (Patrick Swayze) is an especially devastating meditation on grieving. Just check out the scene where the ghost, via a medium played by Whoopi Goldberg, offers his love a penny for good luck.
6. Brokeback Mountain
The tender performances of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who play two cowboys fighting their love for each other in the conservative 1960s and ’70s Midwest, earned both actors Oscar nominations (Ledger for best actor and Gyllenhaal for best supporting actor) in 2006.
7. The Way We Were
Opposites attract, but can they make it work long-term? That’s the dilemma for strident political activist Katie (Barbra Streisand) and charming, lackadaisical screenwriter Hubbell (Robert Redford) in this 1973 drama. Though initially drawn to each other’s differences, the couple’s dynamic threatens to tear them apart as they marry and have a daughter. In the end, all that’s left is Streisand’s title song, which many a brokenhearted soul has bawled over.
8. When Harry Met Sally
Crying with laughter can be just as therapeutic as watching the other weepers on this list. The 1989 comedy about two friends (Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal) who flirt with their romantic connection over many years is both hilarious (that fake orgasm scene!) and so sweet that you can’t help but root for them to get together. We’ll have what they’re having!
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