Why We Love Movies and Books That Make Us Cry

We all pay loads of money every year to read books or watch movies that will inevitably make us cry. We go in knowing full well that this will be the result. Why do we put ourselves through that? Read below to find out a few reasons why I believe we continue going back for more tears.

By Jennifer Meseck

You know the feeling? The feeling of getting home and just needing a good cry session, so you throw yourself on the couch and turn on The Notebook or something like that. We consistently binge on sad shows, books, and movies. But why are we so addicted to these tearjerkers?

Watching or reading things that make us cry is healthy, it’s therapeutic in a sense. We can purge ourselves of the built-up emotions caused by our daily lives. Think about it! What other ways can you come up with to let go of your feelings that are as healthy and simplistic as this? Not many. We can worry less about dropping our emotions on our friends through adapting to this healthy medium. By popping a movie in, we can rid ourselves of toxic emotions and feel better throughout the day.

Additionally, media that makes us feel sadness can make us appreciate our lives more. I don’t mean in a way of comparison such as ‘Damn, their life really sucks. Mine is way better compared to theirs’. Instead, I’m meaning this in more of a revelation kind of way. For example, you may find a character or a situation that you deeply relate to on a personal level. When something happens to them, you feel moved and get overwhelmed with emotions. Due to feelings of familiarity, you may begin to reflect on your life and what you have in it. This causes us to walk away feeling a deeper appreciation for those around us or something that previously occurred in our lives.

Another reason is that movies give us the ability to broaden our ranges of empathy and understanding. Yes, we all know that movies aren’t real, BUT they do give us insight as to how certain real life situations can go. Beautiful Boy is a movie I watched recently that tore my heart out. Until I saw it, I had never really given much thought to how someone struggling with drug addiction may live or how they see things. After watching the film, I have a heightened understanding and am more compassionate hearing about others dealing with similar things. Movies and books with sad stories, although not completely accurate all the time, can help to grow your awareness and sensitivity.

That last point may not be relatable to everyone in explaining why we watch what we watch (completely understandable), but it is true for me. I don’t like feeling as if I can’t engage in a conversation about something; therefore, if there’s something I don’t understand, I’m sure as hell going to read or watch something (no matter the degree of sadness) to grow my understanding.

So, there you have it. We continuously engage with tear provoking media because its therapeutic, makes us more appreciative, and broadens our perspectives. It’s nice to get out of your head and just hear someone else’s story. Take some time to try it out, and don’t forget the popcorn!