When you're in the mood for an easy watch, romantic comedies are ideal. But what if it's one of those days where you've been walking with a lump in your throat and just can't seem to let the tears out. You might be more in the mood for something truly moving and relatable (read: heartbreaking). On those occasions, you need something with a little more emotional depth, which is only something a profoundly sad romantic movie can deliver.
To cut down on the work on your end, we rounded up our favorite sad romances to watch when we need to wallow, or need to feel better about our own love lives. Complete with passionate yet dysfunctional relationships and unexpected tragedy, we promise these sad romance films will make you feel all the feels.
Here are our picks for the best sad romantic movies when you need a good cry.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Okay, so this is not only sad, it's straight-up disturbing, which is to be expected from Darren Aronofsky film. It takes us inside the lives of four individuals, all battling different addictions. As reckless as the characters are, they're also so sweet and loveable that you'll be rooting for them, but try not to get too attached. The thematic tragedies are reflected in the heartbreakingly beautiful visuals and intensely amplified auditory effects, which makes will only heighten your sensory experience while watching this film.
The Tearjerker: "It's a reason to lose weight, to fit in the red dress. It's a reason to smile. It makes tomorrow all right. What have I got Harry, hm? Why should I even make the bed, or wash the dishes? I do them, but why should I? I'm alone."
Revolutionary Road (2008)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet just love to break our poor little hearts, don't they? In this critically acclaimed period piece based on the novel by Richard Yates, we witness the potential futility and even violence of the American Dream. It's about a couple who reluctantly join in the march of conformity as it eventually leads to trouble in their marriage. Indeed, Revolutionary Road presents us with a vision of domesticity that is so ugly, catastrophic, destructive that you will probably want to sleep with the windows open. Or at least hold the ones you love just a little closer.
The Tearjerker: "I saw a whole other future. I can't stop seeing it."
Blue Valentine (2010)
The thing that's so devastating about Blue Valentine is its relatability. It addresses how love so deep can burn out and morph into something so much uglier. And it doesn't exactly answer the "how" element of the question, but it does show us what that dissolution looks like. The film traces Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling's relationship as it progresses youthful and loving to a strained, unraveling marriage. You'll be seduced by their genuine connection and steamy chemistry, but try not to get too attached. The many long, brooding silences, sweet serenades, and seriously sexy moments between the two make it an entertaining watch.
The Tearjerker: "How do you trust your feelings when they can just disappear like that?"
Though there is definitely some romance in this film, it goes way beyond the romantic drama genre, grappling with issues of identity formation and belonging, all through the lens of one character's youth. It follows Chiron as he grows up in Miami and navigates his sexuality and finds mentorship and love from unconventional figures in his life. Though there are many moments of heartbreak, Moonlight, which is so aptly named, ultimately triumphs thanks to the small gestures of empathy and revealing representations of all sorts of love, both romantic and sexual, parental and platonic, along with the challenge to establish self-love when we can't seem to find it externally. It'll invite you to exercise deep introspection and empathy, and while extremely emotionally moving, it's also introspective, intimate, evocative, and illuminating.
The Tearjerker: "You ain't got to love me, but you gonna know that I love you."
Remember Me (2010)
This coming-of-age movie is about two young people who fall in love, and their relationship functions as a sort of salvation among the wreck. That is until tragedy strikes again. From the beginning, we get that the sense that the two lovers have been through their share of loss and heartbreak, but given that it's just the start of the movie, there's plenty more to come. It stars Robert Pattinson in his peak heartthrob days, so you'll definitely have your eyes and ears glued to the screen throughout.
The Tearjerker: "You once told me, our fingerprints don't fade from the lives we touch."
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
This is the perfect thing to watch when you're feeling pessimistic about love. As Christopher Orr writes in his review for The Atlantic, "Not a single character in the film is attached, or appears to hold out hope of ever being so. (Even the members of Maggie's repulsive family are all single.) It's as if romantic love has been banished from the world, leaving behind only the bonds of friendship, which are themselves portrayed as almost too complicated to sustain."
The Tearjerker: "It's the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you."
A Star Is Born (2018)
This remake of the classic tale stars Bradley Cooper as an aging rock star with plenty of demons, and Lady Gaga, a star on the rise, and they fall madly in love. Gaga's vocals are so goosebump-inducing and Cooper's signature hand-through-greasy-overgrown-hair move is so knee-bucklingly sexy that there's no way you won't be thoroughly shaken by the heart-wrenching ending.
The Tearjerker: "I just wanted to take another look at you."
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) meet one summer when they herd sheep together in the rural Wyoming mountains. They realize they have romantic feelings for one another and act on them, which evolves into a secret love affair. Throughout the years they meet up and go on adventures in the wilderness, which disrupts both of their marriages in different ways. To Jack and Ennis, Brokeback Mountain was the only place in the world they felt safe enough to actually love each other. But they only spent that one summer there, which is devastating. When Jack tells Ennis, "I wish I could quit you," it's clear we cannot choose who we love, and it also means we're going to need more tissues.
The Tearjerker: "If you can't fix it, Jack, you gotta stand it."
Truly one of the most moving and beautiful love stories ever portrayed in cinema, Amour is going to bring on all the feels. We're invited to witness a couple's relationship right when one of them suffers from a stroke. Awe-inspiring doesn't even begin to describe the bond between the elderly couple at the center of this film.
The Tearjerker: "I don't remember. I don't remember the film either. But I remember the feeling. That I was ashamed of crying, but that telling him the story made all my feelings and tears come back, almost more powerfully than when I was actually watching the film, and that I just couldn't stop."
Monster's Ball (2011)
Here's a complicated and award-winning film with a ton of moving parts to keep track of. We're talking death row and an unexpected love affair between two very sexy actors (Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thorton) who fall hopelessly in love amidst the drama and heartbreak. It presents the stark reality and ethical battles of the incarceration and criminal justice system, so it's definitely worth watching for that reason alone. The tense social backdrop and personal desperation for connection and intimacy just make the love story even more gripping, albeit dark.
The Tearjerker: "Make me feel good."
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
In this fantasy, a couple, Clementine (Kate Winslet) and Joel (Jim Carrey), undergo a medical procedure to erase their memories of each other post-breakup. What happens when you erase the memory of an entire relationship? In this movie, they not only forget about each other, but they also lose the parts of themselves that grew and evolved, thanks to the relationship. This sad but seductive movie will teach you that no matter how much grief you feel in the aftermath of a breakup, you can't just will away the memory of an ex-lover.
The Tearjerker: "Come back and make up a goodbye at least. Let's pretend we had one."
The Danish Girl (2015)
Follow Greta (Alicia Vikander) and Einar (Eddie Redmayne) as they navigate his gender identity, revealing the transcendent power of love. This film completely contests the accepted notion of a "successful" marriage as they ultimately find other partners, all the while loving one another unconditionally. So it's not exactly sad in the way the other movies are in this list—it's more bittersweet and ultimately inspiring. In fact, the only thing more inspiring than this film is the true relationship it was based on between Lili Elbe and Gerda Gottlieb.
The Tearjerker: "I've only liked a handful of people in my life, and you've been two of them."
Most us know a little too well how scary a ghost can be when it comes to love and dating, but this pre-dating app flick takes it to a whole new level. In this fantasy thriller, Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly (Demi Moore) are madly in love, only to have their relationship cut short by a murderer. Sam's spirit then roams the earth trying to protect the grieving Molly and make things right. There's also a good amount kitschiness to the film, which makes it a little easier on the heart.
The Tearjerker: "It's amazing, Molly. The love inside, you take it with you."
What sad romance movie roundup is complete without Titanic? It practically defined the genre. In case you don't know the tale, it's about Rose (Kate Winslet) and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), who cross paths while on the Titanic voyaging from Europe to New York City. She's a young socialite engaged to a wealthy man of similar rank when she falls in love with the free-spirited Jack and realizes that she doesn't want to lead a vapid, elitist existence. It's another take on the classic tale of forbidden love, as well as the immortal nature of love itself.
The Tearjerker: "I'll never let go, Jack."
Cate Blanchett plays the namesake woman of this period film, which begins as she is doing some Christmas shopping at the department store where Rooney Mara's character, Therese, works. They have an instant attraction, and when Carol accidentally leaves her gloves on a display counter, Therese finds her address to return them. This begins their secret affair, which includes attempts to hide it from Carol's ex-husband as he fights her for custody of their daughter. Things, of course, don't go as planned, but you'll enjoy the beautiful cinematography, costumes, and performances all the same.