Some Films That Evoke Intense Emotion – and Why?
I am a film buff, teach film classes, use film in my classes, and am one of those who believes that film is one of the best points of departure for discussion available. So, I offer this list of “films that evoke intense emotion” to you, and encourage you to watch some of them if you are interested in stories with moral lessons. Oh, and I also encourage you to contribute to it. I love it when you take the time to teach me!!! Did I just say "love?"
Every time I watch the film Crash and witness the little Mexican girl shot while attempting to save her father, thus becoming an innocent victim of racism and a symbol of how our children get caught up in the societal pollution we have left for them to breathe, I cry, or attempt to fight back the tears, and then ultimately cry anyway!
Every time I see the classic sports film Brian’s Song, and watch Chicago Bears running back Gail Sayers tell a throng of people how much he loved his best friend and fellow running back Brian Piccolo, who is slowly dying of cancer at a very young age, I cry, or fight the tears!
Every time I see Aunt Sarah in the film Rosewood fall to her knees after being shot, I cry, or have to dig deep to fight back the tears. Then I break down even more when Sylvester, her son, discovers his mother has been shot because she dared to speak the truth about the race of the actual perpetrator of the crime that ultimately contributed to the decimation of that black township of Florida in 1923.
Every time I watch the film Geronimo and witness the epitome of American hypocrisy framed in a way that is inescapable or undeniably poignant I am conflicted about articulating various group’s struggles when, in America, it all takes a back seat to the travesties levied upon Native Americans (the First Americans). The pain of recognizing the magnitude of the losses for the United States indigenous people makes me cry! I can’t win the battle of the tears over this one.
Every time I watch Jody Foster in the Accused, getting raped on a pin ball machine, as a group of young men cheer the rapists on, I imagine that it isn’t Jody, but instead my daughter, or any woman that I love, and I get angry and confused that others didn’t or don’t give the same consideration. In the moment of watching it though I cry, or fight back the tears.
Every time I see Forrest Gump get on the bus (in the film of the same name) and get denied seats by other children who really don’t know why they are even denying him a seat, it really chokes me up. I don’t really know if I cry for Forrest Gump being treated that way, or for the misguided perspectives and possibly dysfunctional role models of the kids treating him that way!
Every time I watch Boys Don’t Cry and witness Teena Brandon (Hilary Swank) getting raped and beaten by two young hoodlums, who befriended her when they thought she was a boy, I feel intense anguish that we haven’t done a better job of teaching our kids about respect for diversity and basic human life. I then cry, intensely!
Every time I watch the film Losing Isaiah and witness little Isaiah hysterically crying himself to sleep in the back of a car as a sheriff takes him away from his White social worker mother to go live with his Black recovering crack abusive mother as the result of a judge’s decision that black kids are better suited to live with black families because of America’s racism, I cry or fight back the tears.
Every time I watch Shindler’s List and Oskar Shindler starts to talk about how much he regrets having not done more to save the lives of even more Jews from the extermination camps, I cry, or fight back the tears trying to convince myself that this is just a movie. Then my logic kicks in and I realize that it is a movie, but based on a true story. I then sob, uncontrollably.
Every time I watch Jeff Bridges as the president of the United States demand that Congress appoint Joan Allen’s character as the first woman vice-president in the film The Contender with the words “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” I cry or fight back the tears. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an endless amount of government officials with that type of vision about fresh voices and breaking old traditions.
Every time I watch a love story about two people that obviously truly loved one another but couldn’t consummate their passion for one another openly and honestly for fear of being ostracized, marginalized, or murdered, accentuated further by one of the lover’s fully realizing his loss by fervently embracing his murdered lover’s shirt, I recall how fortunate we are to live in a time that gay men can have a love story like Brokeback Mountain that unfortunately must chronicle an aspect of their struggles to love one another, and I sigh deeply, cry for the human condition framed by the loss of a vibrant man to a hate crime, and then just cry because not enough of us do that for one another.
Every time I think about watching the film Hotel Rwanda (which I have owned for two years, but not even opened) I decide not to watch it, because I don’t want to cry, or have to fight back the tears.
What are some of the films that you watch that bring you to tears, and why?
I wonder if other men cry as much as I do over films. What do you think?
Is crying a gendered emotion? What is it about crying that makes so many of us feel “less than” when we do it, as opposed to the emotion that is situated on the other extreme, laughter?