Makes Me Cry

Dressed for a funeral, at the wake of a mate who lived on property outside Wagga Wagga.
Dressed for a funeral, at the wake of a mate who lived on property outside Wagga Wagga.

It’s late at night and I’ve just been watching the film, “The Sum Of Us”, and once again I found it a teary affair. There’s one scene, in particular, that gets me every time I watch this film. And it got me wondering if this was a normal reaction? Well of course it is, as it’s a very moving scene, but sometimes I wonder if I cry a little too much. So I began thinking about what else from the worlds of film, music, and literature have brought me to tears in recent years. Here’s the first ten I could think of…

1/…”The Boy from Oz – I’ve watched the original television documentary, have seen Hugh Jackman perform live and I’ve seen the original production in Melbourne. The television documentary was very sad, especially when friends like Bette Midler remembered the life of Peter Allen. I also vividly remember the original production in Melbourne when Peter’s partner sang, “I Love You, I Honestly Love You”.

2/…”Tenterfield Saddler” – related to the previous, there’s the Peter Allen song about growing up in a small country town and moving away. Still remembering his roots, though conceding he can never go back he declares “There’s no place for George and his library or the son with a gun to belong, except in this song”. Other tragic lines include “it’s easier to drink than go crazy”.

3/…”Muriel’s Wedding” – I love this movie on so many levels, especially as “Porpoise Spit” was exactly the kind of town in which I grew up. The killer scene for me is when Joanie tells Muriel that her mother has committed suicide… “It’s mum, she’s dead, she took pills”.

4/…”The Winner Takes It All” – the ABBA song is incredibly sad from start to finish. Agnetha, resigned to the divorce, sings “seeing me so tense, no self-confidence”. Although the line has sometimes been mocked due to its perhaps uncomfortable rhyme, it’s the way she delivers the line that tells you she’s incredibly fragile. And I won’t begin to tell the story of hearing it on the PA system at Coles Redfern at about 9pm on the Tuesday night in the week after my ex and I broke up.

5/…”Brokback Mountain” – I don’t remember the exact moment I started crying, but I think it was probably when Ennis (the character played by Heath Ledger) delivers this line: “Because of you, Jack, that I’m like this. I’m nothing… and nowhere.” In the last half hour or so of the movie I cried several times. There’s something about this movie that touched some of those essential human frailties associated with denial and regret that plague most of us at some point.

6/…”Holding the Man” (book and play) – It was sometime in 1995, though I’m not exactly sure when, when I bought and read the book in an all-night session. In such a short period of time I had never experienced so much laughter and tears. And then late last year, I saw the play. By the play’s end I was also in tears.

7/…”Blue Sky Mining” – What I remember most about the first time I saw “Lemon Tart” was their spectacular version of “Blue Sky Mining”, a fairly big hit for “Midnight Oil” in the 1990s. On this night, in particular, Genevieve transformed what I thought was a fairly typical Midnight Oil rock and roll protest song about corporate intransigence into a beautiful ballad. I’d never really listened to the lyrics until Genevieve brought them to life. The killer line for me is… “And the company takes what the company wants, and nothing’s as precious, as a hole in the ground…”

8/…”Diana’s Funeral” – just one word… the card labelled “Mummy”.

9/…”Day In The Death Of Joe Egg” – Last week I went to see this terrific play which concerns the life of an English couple who have a teenage daughter with a severe disability. Partially because of a similar situation in my own family, I was at times quite teary, as the couple dealt with an incredibly difficult situation both with humour and humanity

10/…”The Sum Of Us” – There’s a couple of sad scenes in this movie, but in particular, it’s the scene where the two older women are separated, with one going into a nursing home, which makes me cry every time.

…and before all that there was “Beaches” and “Terms Of Endearment”.

Pathetic really, isn’t it? I dare you, dear reader, to ‘fess up about the films, books, music etc, that make you cry.

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