We all need a good cry sometimes. After a long day of work, a bad breakup, or simply because you’re feeling blue, tearjerkers are a good way to decompress—and you’ll find plenty of sad movies on Hulu when you just need to let it all out.
10 sad movies on Hulu
Get your hanky ready, because Wonder will do a number on your emotions. Based on the popular book, Wonder is about Auggie (Jacob Tremblay), a young boy with a medical condition that causes a facial deformity. After years of homeschooling, Auggie’s parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) send him off to school for fifth grade, where not everyone is so quick to accept Auggie as he is. The movie is a treatise on kindness, and is the kind of movie that will resonate with kids and adults alike. Wonder is an uplifting movie that wants to put good into the world.
2) The Hero
The Hero is primarily a showcase for veteran actor Sam Elliott (The Big Lebowski, We Were Soldiers), who plays an aging Western star coming to terms with his own mortality. As movies about people coming to terms with mortality tend to be, it’s pretty wrenching. Elliot is excellent, and the rest of the ensemble—Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman, Krysten Ritter, and Katherine Ross—do a great job too.
3) Jerry Maguire (with Showtime add-on)
Jerry Maguire has a lot of memorable lines. “Show me the money.” “Help me help you.” “Did you know that the human head weighs 8 pounds?” But I submit to you now that none of the dialog hits quite as hard as “You had me at ‘hello.’” Cuba Gooding Jr. may have won the Oscar, but Jerry Maguire is nothing without the relationship between Cruise’s Maguire and Renée Zellweger’s Dorothy Boyd. Rarely has Cruise had such great romantic chemistry with a co-star, and if this confession of love doesn’t at least kind of melt your heart, you might be made of stone. Yes, director Cameron Crowe is at his most gloriously sentimental here. Don’t fight it. If it’s been awhile, make some time to say “hello” to Jerry Maguire again.
Stronger stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Directed by indie darling David Gordon Green, the film is better than your average inspirational true story. A lot of that is thanks to Gyllenhaal, but just as much of it has to do with Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany, who delivers a powerhouse performance as Bauman’s love interest, Erin Hurley.
Many movies are given infinite resources and still manage to feel so minuscule that they might as well not even exist. Sean Baker’s Tangerine, however, is a testament to how much filmmakers can achieve with little. Shot on an iPhone, the movie cost relative pennies to make, but Tangerine is a hypnotic, extraordinary film about the friendship between two sex workers. That bond is tested over the course of a very long day, and the plot’s simplicity masks its power. After finding out her boyfriend isn’t faithful, Sin-Dee (Kiki Rodriguez) goes off on a quest to locate his mistress. Meanwhile, Alexandra (Mya Taylor) prepares for a performance at a local club. Filmed on a stretch of Santa Monica known as a nexus of prostitution in the city, Tangerine captures the feel of Los Angeles better than any film I’ve ever seen. It’s simultaneously stylish, low-key, and groundbreaking in its authentic depiction of life on the streets. —Nico Lang
Stories of teachers having inappropriate relationships with students are heartbreakingly common on the news, but seldom explored on screen. A Teacher tackles the difficult topic of an adult woman taking advantage of a teenager in her class. From the development of the relationship through its destructive end, A Teacher is an unflinching look at an often overlooked form of child abuse. Lindsay Burdge is brilliant as Mrs. Watts, but Will Brittain’s Eric is the real star, giving life to a confused teen slowly realizing something isn’t right. Devastating and highly recommended. – John-Michael Bond
How could a movie starring comedy luminaries like Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig have found itself relegated to indie theaters? By being a humorous yet haunting meditation on unresolved childhood issues, that’s how. Right as Maggie (Wiig) is about to kill herself she gets a call that her estranged brother Milo (Hader) has cut his wrists. Rushing to visit him in Los Angeles, Maggie suggests Milo move to New York state to live with her and her husband. Wiig and Hader do a remarkable job bringing humor to this pitch-black story but make sure you have a box of tissues the whole time.
Christmas Eve is a perfect time for families to gather together. But Holly’s son Ben isn’t supposed to be standing at her door, he’s supposed to be in rehab. Ben says he was given a pass by his sponsor, so Holly agrees to let him stay for 24 hours provided he can stay clean. Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges give raw soul-rending performances in this crushing story of opioid addiction that will tragically hit home with too many viewers.
Fairy tales might be considered the province of children, but for all their wonder these stories are just as full of tragedy. Border is a modern fairy tale about a woman named Tina with Neanderthal-like features and a supernaturally powerful sense of smell. Working as a customs agent she helps discover everything from drugs to child pornography. One day at work Tina meets a Vore, a mysterious stranger with Neanderthal-like features of his own. Giving away anything more would be a crime, but we promise, you’ve never experienced a fairy tale like this.
10) Colossal (2016)
Genre filmmaking is an incredible vehicle for telling unconventional stories, just ask Colossal, a movie about people fighting their literal inner monsters. Gloria has a drinking problem. Drinking has gotten her evicted from her apartment and dumped by her boyfriend. With her life in shambles, Gloria turns yet again to the bottle and the friends at work. Then one day during a blackout out a monster appears of Seoul, destroying buildings and killing people. Gloria quickly has a horrifying realization. The monster only comes out when she drinks. Anne Hathaway is simply a revelation as Gloria.
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Here are the best thrillers and action movies to get your heart racing, classic movies when you want a blast from the past, sad movies when you need a good cry, and funny movies on Hulu when you need a good laugh.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.