30 Sad Movies on Netflix to Watch When You Just Need to Let It Out

Tap into your emotions.

Updated 10/08/19

 

Oliver Rossi/Getty Images 

There are so many days when we want to do nothing more than laugh, smile, and enjoy all the good things in life, but then there are others where we're just feeling a bit more moody. Maybe it's been a while since we've had a good cry, maybe we're frustrated about a plan gone to pieces, but whatever the cause of our blues may be, feeling sad can happen. When that mood hits you, you can always turn to one of the best sad movies on Netflix.

We scrolled through the Netflix library to zero in on the types of movies that meet this raw emotion. From long-standing classics to new favorites, as well as stories based on true events and tales rooted in fiction, these are the 30 sad movies on Netflix that you should watch when you're feeling blue. They won't exactly cheer you up, but they will let you stay in that melancholy space until you're ready for something new.

Here are our picks for the best sad movies on Netflix right now.

01 of 30

Blue Valentine (2010)

blue valentine

 Netflix

Looking at Ryan Gosling for two hours can't be too sad, right? That's the silver lining of this dramatic indie film, although you're likely to get swept up in his and Michelle Williams's strong performances, too. They play a struggling couple on the verge of divorce who decide to take a short vacation to get away from some stress at home. The story flashes back and forth between their initial courtship and present issues and shows how their hopes for the future eventually panned out. It's a story about love and expectations, as well as harsh realities and disappointments.

Available on: Netflix

02 of 30

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

dallas buyers club

 Netflix

There's a good chance that you might have heard about this movie, which won Matthew McConaughey an Oscar, but you should make time to see it. McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a man who is diagnosed with AIDS in the mid-1980s when the disease lacked societal understanding, medical research, and viable treatments. After he is ostracized from his loved ones and loses his job and home—all while given 30 days to live—he tries to find medicine to save his life. He finds a promising drug with help from a disgraced doctor, but it's illegal in the U.S.,so he decides to smuggle and sell it to other HIV-positive people.

Available on: Netflix

03 of 30

First They Killed My Father (2017)

first they killed my father

 Netflix

This Angelina Jolie–directed film follows Loung Ung's 2000 memoir of the same name, which takes place as the Khmer Rouge captures the capital of Cambodia and rules it from 1975 to 1979. Loung and her family are forced to leave their home and go to a labor camp, where all of their possessions are confiscated from them, and they are told to build their own shelters and work without food. Soon after, Loung's family separates—she sees her father taken away by officials—and she's then recruited to be a soldier for the regime. There's obviously a lot to take in, and it's even more difficult to do so from a child's perspective.

Available on: Netflix

04 of 30

Schindler's List (1993)

schindler's list

 Netflix

This true story, which is often referred to as a Steven Spielberg masterpiece, follows Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson) as he eventually saves the lives of more than 1200 Jews during World War II. At the beginning of the movie, he's a businessman living in Krakow, Poland, and a member of the Nazi party. His connections allow him to open a factory, where he hires Jewish workers. But as the war escalates, he realizes that the factory can be a way to protect them. It's a difficult movie to watch, but its honest look at the horrors of the Holocaust is worth it.

Available on: Netflix

05 of 30

Milk (2008)

milk

 netflix

Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk, the first openly gay public official in California, who helped to galvanize the activist movement in San Francisco during the 1970s. As the movie shows how Milk rose to his level of stature—doing so, in part, with archival footage—it also depicts the tenuous relationship he had with Dan White, the fellow politician who murders him in his office. It's a biopic that gives an accurate look at this electric yet difficult time period, while also showcasing the same human rights debates we're still having today.

Available on: Netflix

06 of 30

Coco (2017)

coco

 Netflix

It's not that hard to be sad at some point during a Pixar movie, but Coco might be the one that really turns on those emotions. The story centers around the revered Mexican holiday El Día de los Muertos, and a boy named Miguel who is trapped in the land of the dead when he decides to become a musician against his family's wishes. Of course, you won't be sad the entire time you watch this movie—the colorful 3D scenery is just one thing that will put a smile on your face—but there will be some details that make you misty.

Available on: Netflix

07 of 30

Room (2015)

room

 Netflix

Based on the 2010 novel of the same name, this movie centers around Brie Larson's character, a woman who has been held captive for seven years. She's had a son in that captivity, a 5-year-old boy, and together they live in a shed they call "room." She makes her son believe that the outside world only exists on TV, but one day the two find a way to escape. It's a story about resilience and imagination, and we won't be too surprised if you ugly cry. 

Available on: Netflix

08 of 30

The Imitation Game (2014)

imitation game

 Netflix

There's a lot about this story that should fill you with pride, but there are also aspects to it that are more than sad. The movie focuses on a secret British intelligence team that's tasked with breaking the Enigma Nazi codes during World War II. At the helm of this seemingly insurmountable task is mathematician Alan Turing, who devises a plan to build a machine that eventually outwits the Enigma. But instead of returning to a quiet life after the war is over—with a few secretly knowing what he did to end it—Alan is arrested for being gay.

Available on: Netflix

09 of 30

P.S. I Love You (2007)

ps i love you

 Netflix

This movie has it all: romance, beautiful Irish scenery, and Gerard Butler. But have tissues handy. Hilary Swank's character loses her husband (Butler) to a brain tumor, and revisits all the places they fell in love. It's impossible to watch with dry eyes.

Available on: Netflix

10 of 30

My Sister's Keeper (2009)

my sisters keeper

 Netflix

This movie covers terminal illness, emancipation, and familial strife, so it'll definitely tug at your heartstrings. Based on the novel by Jodi Picoult, it follows a 13-year-old girl suing her parents for medical emancipation. She learns she was genetically designed (via in vitro fertilization) to donate body parts to her older sister, who is dying from cancer.

Available on: Netflix

11 of 30

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas (2008)

boy in the striped pajamas

 IMDb

Taking place in Poland during World War II, this film follows a young boy who befriends another boy on the other side of the fence. Unbeknownst to him, he's a Jewish prisoner. It's based on John Boyne's 2006 novel of the same name.

Available on: Netflix

12 of 30

To The Bone (2017)

to the bone

 Netflix

Lily Collins stars in this 2017 Netflix original drama, following a 20-year-old girl with anorexia nervosa. She enters various recovery programs, but only gets lighter each time. It's a journey of self-discovery that's oftentimes painful to watch, but so poignant.

Available on: Netflix

13 of 30

Seven Pounds (2008)

seven pounds

Netflix 

This classic Will Smith movie is always a good choice when you just need a good cry. Smith's character, an IRS agent, tries to improve the lives of seven strangers in need of a second chance. Smith delivers a powerful and emotional performance.

Available on: Netflix

14 of 30

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)

sisterhood traveling pants

 Netflix

There's no better choice for a girl's night than this chick flick, starring Blake Lively, America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, and Alexis Bledel. Expect plenty of coming of age struggles, heartbreak, and family drama. (Plus some Blake Lively hair envy).

Available on: Netflix

15 of 30

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

a wrinkle in time

 Netflix

You won't cry throughout the whole movie, but the Disney flick will definitely pull at your heartstrings at times. A young girl travels through time, using the power of love as well as science to find her dad. The movie stars Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Oprah, Chris Pine, and more, giving it an all-star cast.

Available on: Netflix

16 of 30

Brain on Fire (2016)

brain on fire

 Netflix

This movie follows a young New York reporter, played by Chloe Moretz, in search of a diagnosis for her recurring seizures and memory loss. Though doctors are baffled, she's determined to find an answer. It's heartbreaking to watch as this mystery illness devastates her mind and body.

Available on: Netflix

17 of 30

The Theory of Everything (2014)

theory of everything

 netflix

Eddie Redmayne landed the Oscar, Golden Glove, BAFTA, and more for his incredible and touching performance in this film. We watch as Stephen Hawking's body is overtaken by ALS, increasing his dependance on his wife, Felicity Jones.

Available on: Netflix

18 of 30

About Time (2013)

about time

 Netflix

You can always count on a Rachel McAdams movie to make you cry, and this one is no exception. A man travels back in time to win the woman of his dreams, and you will be crying all the tears. When you're in the mood for pure romance, this is it.

Available on: Netflix

19 of 30

Nights in Rodanthe (2008)

nights in rodanthe

 Netflix

It wouldn't be a sad movies list without a Nicholas Sparks adapted flick on it. This one follows Diane Lane and Richard Gere, who are stranded in coastal North Carolina following a hurricane. Expect romance—and lots of tears.

Available on: Netflix

20 of 30

Now and Then (1995)

now and then

 Netflix

Your favorite 90's film has finally come to Netflix, and it's just as good as you remember it. The coming of age film is a hefty dose of nostalgia as four girlfriends recall a past summer they spent together in 1970. Get ready for the best of seventies music, fashion, and definitely a few tears.

Available on: Netflix

21 of 30

Little Women (1994)

little women

 Netflix

The classic novel is just as tear-jerking as a movie as it was as a book. Before Greta Gerwig's new adaptation, starring Emma Watson and Saorsie Ronan, hits theaters in 2019, revisit the classic flick on Netflix. The original version even earned Winona Ryder an Oscar nomination for her performance.

Available on: Netflix

22 of 30

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

saving mr banks

 Netflix

This film is the story of how Walt Disney obtained the rights to the book, Mary Poppins. Tom Hanks delivers another flawless performance, while Emma Thompson is touching as author P.L. Travers. Expect nostalgia and heartwarming Disney magic—the kind that always stirs up a tear or two.

Available on: Netflix

23 of 30

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)

guernsey movie

 Netflix

A Netflix original film, this movie follows a London writer, Lily James, who travels to the island of Guernsey, learning about the book club a few friends there formed during the WWII German occupation. It's a story of romance, friendship, and history, and you'll definitely be shedding some tears.

Available on: Netflix

24 of 30

What a Girl Wants (2003)

what a girl wants

 Netflix

This Amanda Bynes film is a typical chick flick, but that doesn't mean you won't get emotional, particularly towards the end. The coming of age film follows a young girl getting to know the father she's never met. There's also Colin Firth, and plenty of London scenery to inspire your wanderlust.

Available on: Netflix

25 of 30

Irreplaceable You (2018)

Irreplaceable You

Netflix 

When a girl is diagnosed with cancer, she decides to find a new love for her fiancé and best friend since childhood. She finds that focusing on what comes next makes her miss out on the "now." It's a little bit humorous in parts, but for the most part: Cue the waterworks.

Available on: Netflix

26 of 30

The Spectacular Now (2013)

spectacular now

 Netflix

This film, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, is about a high school romance between an unlikely couple. He's hard-partying, she's driven and focused. It the story of a first love, and is heartfelt, emotional, and inspiring.

Available on: Netflix

27 of 30

Eat Pray Love (2010)

eat pray love

 Netflix

There's plenty to laugh about in this Julia Roberts movie, in addition to major food and travel envy, but the real-life tale will also spur on some tears. It's a movie about finding yourself, spirituality, and love, set in Rome, India, and Bali.

Available on: Netflix

28 of 30

Then Came You (2019)

then came you

 Netflix

See Maisie Williams step outside of Game of Thrones in this quirky comedy about a terminally ill teen girl (Wiliams) enlisting the help of a hypochondriac to help her complete her bucket list. You'll cry, you'll laugh—basically, you'll feel all the feels.

Available on: Netflix

29 of 30

The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

fundamentals of caring

 Netflix

Paul Rudd takes on a heavier role, starring in this dark comedy with Selena Gomez. Rudd stars as a caregiver to a young boy suffering from muscular dystrophy, and the two take a road trip together. It's an inspirational story of friendship, and it'll have you weeping.

Available on: Netflix

30 of 30

Mamma Mia (2008)

mamma mia

 Netflix

When you want to laugh, cry, sing, and dance—go with Mamma Mia. It's filled with music, gorgeous Greek scenery, some of your favorite actors (Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, and Pierce Brosnan, among others), and there will definitely be a few tears by the end. Warning: It'll make you want to hug your mom.

Available on: Netflix

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