Jynelle's Top Ten Heartbreaking Moments in Movies, TV, and Literature
For those of you that are feeling bitter on Valentine's Day, here's a list of my top ten broken heart moments in film, television, and books to help you wallow in your sadness. Oh, spoiler alerts may be in order for some of these.
10.) Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, Romeo + Juliet
A lot can be said about this play, and whether you think Romeo and Juliet are soul mates, or just a couple of hormone-filled dumb kids acting out in the absence of their parents, you have to admit that shit escalated to unnecessarily heart breaking proportions.
Which moment was the most heartbreaking? Mercutio's death? Tybalt's? Romeo's? Juliet's? In my opinion it was the scene where Juliet wakes up from her fake death only to find her beloved dead by her side. Their happy ending was so close, and a simple misunderstanding killed them both. Sometimes a lack of communication really can kill. If you’ve ever seen Baz Luhrman's stylized take on the star crossed lovers, then you know that great acting can really turn the intensity of that tragedy from a few sniffles to chest wracking sobs in public. Speaking of which, do you remember when Claire Dane's Juliet wakes up, and she locks eyes with Leo DiCaprio's Romeo just as the poison he drank takes effect... it was like someone ripped my heart straight from my chest.
9.) Holden Caulfield, Catcher in the Rye
The entire novel is... what's the word? Depressing? I just wish I could hug Holden.
8.) Katniss Everdeen and Rue, The Hunger Games
Book or movie, dammit all, this was a tear jerker. The whole point of the Games is to name ONE champion, but didn't we all hope the 74th Games wouldn't be the same? It wasn't in the end, but Rue didn't make it anyway. Katniss fails to protect her, but she gives her such a humane send-off even in the midst of one of the most inhumane things conceivable. That made it all the more tragic.
7.) Gene and Finny, A Separate Peace
208 pages of genius American literature later, and I had fallen absolutely in love with Finny. The events that transpired in the novel, the writing, the setting, and the characters, all add up to fifteen year old me crying in bed underneath the sheets with a flashlight. Ten years later, tears still well up in my eyes at the memory of reading this book. I highly recommend you check this out at your local library, or download it on your Kindle, or go to your local bookstore and purchase it.
6.) Simba and Mufasa, The Lion King
A couple of years ago, Disney re-released The Lion King in theaters. Being born in the late 80s, of course I just HAD to go and watch it. It was Friday night, maybe 8 or 9 o'clock. I walked into the theater with my boyfriend and realized it was a full house. Not only that, everyone in there was between the ages of 22 and 28. There was an excited buzz in the room.
Once the movie started, the excitement transcended from chatter and buzz to a silent hum of delight. Everyone in there felt the same way; that feeling of kindred spirits all uniting. It was like I was watching the movie with 150 close friends. We all laughed at the comedic parts with gusto, and basked in the delight of experiencing I Just Can’t Wait to be King together. When the fatal and inevitable scene of Mufasa’s death began to play on screen, all of that ecstatic energy morphed into this heavy, airless cloud that sat on all of us in the theater, forcing us to breathe shallow. Then, when it happened, it was dead silent save for the small sniffling sounds spread across the room. It was 150 hearts breaking at the same time, and not for the first time for that reason. I think that pretty much sums up how big this heart break was and why it's number six.
5.) Dr. Robert Neville and Sam, I Am Legend
Sam, Neville's one and only companion in the form of a German Shepherd dog, saves his life. Unfortunately, she is infected and though Neville tries to save her, it is to no avail. He has to choke her to death as she mutates from a loyal, beloved friend, to one of the zombified, vampiric monsters that he is so desperately trying to cure. His slow descent to madness during the film was crafted in cinematic artistry. That made it even harder for me to watch Sam die. It was just layers of loneliness and hopelessness rolling out in front of me on a forty foot projection screen.
4.) Ellie and Carl Fredricksen, Up
You know exactly what I'm talking about. Just hearing a handful of notes from that song is enough to have me reaching for the Kleenex box. When I watched this movie in theaters, I didn’t expect this scene. Did you? There’s no talking, and literally in under 5 minutes Pixar told me one of the greatest love stories I'd ever come across.
3.) Andy and Woody, Toy Story 3
Woody loved Andy so much! And Andy loved Woody so much! And they both made the ultimate sacrifice and let each other go because Woody and his love was needed somewhere else more. Are you starting to cry, too just thinking about it? Well go ahead and re-watch that scene like I did and bawl your eyes out completely. That moment when the little girl reaches for Woody and Andy flinches backwards, but then decides that she should take care of Woody after all, simultaneously breaks my heart and mends it. At least Woody and Andy got to play together one last time. Randy Newman's music frames this nostalgic, innocent heartbreak perfectly, and helps it crack the top three in our list.
2.) Harry Potter and Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I'm talking about the book. I'm talking about growing up with Harry. I'm talking about sharing his hopes, dreams, and fears. I'm talking about Harry finding someone that loves him and wants to take him in so he doesn’t have to live with people that hate him anymore. I'm talking about the scene where Harry yells at Dumbledore and breaks all the beautiful tools in his office because his heart is so broken. I’m talking about such heartbreak that I cried for weeks after, and in fact as I type this and relive it, I’m tearing up, and my chest feels heavy like an anvil were set upon it. You know, I wrote J.K. Rowling a letter and asked her to somehow undo Sirius' death because I was so heartbroken. That's why it’s number two.
1.) Rose and the Doctor, Doctor Who Season 2 Finale "Doomsday"
That final scene at Bad Wolf Bay was heart wrenching. He "[burned] up a sun just to say goodbye" to Rose... my boyfriend can't even take my car to get an oil change for me! I know the Doctor has two hearts, and I believe they both broke at this moment.
Why is it our number one heartbreak? The Doctor is both the kindest and loneliest being in the entire universe, in all of time, both backwards and forwards, and he finally finds his soul mate. Sure she'll age and die like a human being in a few short years anyways, but they can’t even have the rest of her life to spend together because she’s trapped in another universe that he can't get to. The next time I think my life sucks, I'm going to go ahead and remember this and shut up about it.
You know what I realized after making this list? That none of these heart breaks are break ups. They're all truly hopeless situations. So the next time a girl cries like her life is over because some jerk dumped her, or blew her off, or cheated on her, I think I'll have her take a look at this list so she can see what real heartbreak is.
Did you cry while reading this list? Which heartbreak in this list do you think deserves the top spot? Let us know in the comments section below!