The Saddest Movies You Can Stream on Netflix This Weekend

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Richard Evans
·6 min read
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Let's face it: There's nothing like a good cry. If you're looking for something to watch on Netflix this weekend, why not settle in with a movie guaranteed to make you sob into your blanket? We've put together a list of the most emotional films streaming on the site, from tragic romances to bittersweet coming-of-age stories to moving depictions of loss. There's something for everyone, as long as you've got tissues by your side. Read on for our picks of the saddest movies on Netflix, and for more ways to pass the time, check out these 16 Netflix Shows You Can Watch From Start to Finish This Weekend.

1

About Time

The romantic comedy-drama About Time will catch you off-guard. As always, writer-director Richard Curtis knows how to charm—not to mention stars Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson—but that doesn't mean the poignant depiction of loss won't make you weep.

2

Roma

This former Best Picture nominee is a stunning portrait of the life of a live-in housekeeper in 1970s Mexico City, inspired by writer-director Alfonso Cuarón's upbringing. The restrained style and tone give way to an emotional climax that will take your breath away.

3

Marriage Story

Another Oscar nominee—and a film that earned Laura Dern her first Academy Award—Marriage Story is a sometimes funny, sometimes brutal look at divorce. While it's not sad all the way through, the sheer potency of the emotions on display will provoke some tears.

4

Remember Me

At this point, Remember Me is probably best known for its controversial twist ending. We won't reveal it here if you don't know—we'll simply say that this is a romance without a happily ever after, and the tragedy hits you hard, even if you think it's a little exploitative.

5

Pieces of a Woman

You'll have to wait a bit longer to find out if Vanessa Kirby picks up an Oscar for her performance in Pieces of a Woman, but you can watch the movie now and see why she's earned so many accolades, playing a mother dealing with the grief of losing her baby.

6

The Theory of Everything

Although The Theory of Everything showcases the real-life romance between Stephen Hawking (played by Eddie Redmayne) and Jane Hawking (played by Felicity Jones), it also depicts Hawking's struggle to continue his work while battling a degenerative disease, making it a powerful story of resilience.

7

A Single Man

Tom Ford's stylish adaptation of the Christopher Isherwood novel A Single Man stars Colin Firth as an English professor grieving the loss of his longtime partner and pondering his own death. It's gorgeous to look at, but its themes carry a heavy weight. And for more great adaptations, check out these 23 Amazing Books That Made Even Better Movies.

8

Tell Me Who I Am

While many of the films on this list are based on true stories, Tell Me Who I Am is a documentary featuring the actual people, which makes it a bit more challenging to endure. The film focuses on twin brothers—one of whom lost his memory in an accident—coming to terms with their traumatic childhood.

9

Philomena

Another film nominated for multiple Oscars, Philomena recounts the true story of journalist Martin Sixsmith (played by Steve Coogan) helping Philomena Lee (played by Judi Dencb) find out what happened to the son she was forced to give up. What they uncover is heartbreaking, but the movie is filled with warmth and compassion.

10

What's Eating Gilbert Grape

A young Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio star in this 1993 film about the trials and tribulations of an Iowa family. There is plenty of humor and heart, but there is also an undercurrent of melancholy as the characters struggle to overcome their circumstances. And for more movie recommendations delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

11

If Anything Happens I Love You

Got 12 minutes to spare? That's how long it will take you to watch this short animated film about parents dealing with the loss of their child from gun violence. Warning: It will stick with you long past the 12-minute mark.

12

Brokeback Mountain

The doomed love between Heath Ledger's Ennis Del Mar and Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack Twist has turned Brokeback Mountain into a modern classic tearjerker romance. Even knowing what's coming doesn't prepare you for the devastation of that last scene. And for more love stories that will make you cry, revisit The Most Heartbreaking Movie Couples of All Time.

13

The Pianist

Because it's based on the Holocaust autobiography of the titular pianist, Władysław Szpilman, you know that Adrien Brody's character will survive the film. That doesn't make up for the horrors he and his fellow inmates endure, making The Pianist at times unbearably painful to watch.

14

Milk

Anyone who knows about Harvey Milk knows that his life ended in tragedy. Gus Van Sant's biopic—which earned star Sean Penn an Academy Award—is about so much more than Milk's assassination, but that inevitability haunts the film, and it's depicted with stunning pathos.

15

Nights in Rodanthe

If a movie is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, it's a safe assumption that one of the characters isn't going to make it to the end. Predictable or not, the man is the king of weepy romances for a reason, and Richard Gere and Diane Lane sell this love story cut short. And for more emotional moments, relive The Saddest TV Deaths of All Time.

16

The Zookeeper's Wife

Now streaming on Netflix, The Zookeeper's Wife is another adaptation of a true Holocaust story, with Jessica Chastain and Johan Heldenbergh starring as a couple who saved hundreds of Polish Jews from the Nazis. The focus on the humanity of its characters amid the horrors surrounding them packs a powerful punch.

17

Into the Wild

As in so many of the films on this list, you know Into the Wild will end tragically, given the sad fate of its lead character, Christopher McCandless. Still, the movie and star Emile Hirsch do a wonderful job of making you feel for Chris, not to mention the sister he leaves behind. And for some lighter fare to stream, check out The 50 Best Netflix Shows Ever, According to Critics.

18

Before I Fall

There have been countless iterations of the Groundhog Day story in which a character has to keep repeating the same day over and over again, but this somber teen drama—grounded by star Zoey Deutch's performance—is surprisingly effective in its portrayal of a girl trying to outrun fate.

19

Caught by a Wave

A romance between two young people where one is suffering from a degenerative disease is certainly nothing new—but this one is Italian! If you're looking for some soapy teen melodrama, you could do a lot worse than this moving recent release. And if you're looking for more reasons to cry, check out The Saddest Movie Deaths of All Time.