Movies

The Saddest Movies On Netflix Right Now

Last Updated: December 23rd

Sad movies take a lot of forms, but this list of Netflix films hits the big buttons — think movies about star-crossed love, broken friendships, death, and Adam Driver yelling a bunch while punching a wall. Regardless of what gets your tear ducts primed and pumping, there is something on this list of must-watch streaming sobfests that will find your heart’s soft spot. “Enjoy” the 15 saddest movies on Netflix right now.

Related: The Best Dramas On Netflix Right Now

The Unforgivable Sandra Bullock
Netflix

The Unforgivable (2021)

Run Time: 112 min | IMDb: 7.2/10

Sandra Bullock, Viola Davis, and Jon Bernthal star in this crime drama based on a British miniseries about a woman reckoning with the mistakes of her past. Bullock plays Ruth who’s recently been released from prison after serving 20 years for a violent crime. She hopes to reunite with her younger sister, Katie, but the girl has no idea who Ruth is. The parallel tracks their lives take force Ruth and everyone in her orbit to confront their biases as they grieve the lives that could’ve been.

Netflix

Marriage Story (2019)

Run Time: 136 min | IMDb: 8.1/10

Noah Baumbach’s star-studded divorce drama is pure Oscar bait, but in the best way. The film takes a look at messy breakups with Scarlett Johansson playing an actress and mother named Nicole, who is intent on separating from her stage director husband Charlie (Adam Driver). Laura Dern and Ray Liotta play their hard-hitting lawyers, who don’t help in diffusing the tension and resentment building between the pair when Nicole moves herself and their son across the country. It’s an intimate look at the emotional wreckage of a divorce and the struggle to put a family back together again, and it’s carried by some brilliant performances by Driver and Johansson.

Columbia

My Girl (1991)

Run Time: 102 min | IMDb: 6.9/10

You weren’t a 90s kid if you don’t have traumatic childhood memories of this flick (and a bee phobia). Before she’d grace the White House on Veep, Anna Chlumsky played a precocious pre-teen named Vada who took care of her single dad (Dan Akroyd), had a fascination with death, and befriended a nerdy newcomer, Thomas (Macaulay Culkin). We can’t say more without getting verklempt but just know, the people behind this film are seriously disturbed for putting these children through the emotional wringer the way they do.

kate-winslet-titanic.jpg
20th Century Fox

Titanic (1997)

Run Time: 194 min | IMDb: 7.8/10

James Cameron crafted a cinematic masterpiece with this dramatic retelling of a terrible tragedy that stars fresh-faced, future Oscar-winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Before that fateful night when the R.M.S. Titanic struck an iceberg and sank, bringing a majority of its passengers and crew with it, Cameron tells a really beautiful love story between a young aristocrat (Winslet) and the poor artist (DiCaprio) she has no hope of a future with. Some iconic lines, beautiful costumes, and a climactic final act that will leave you in tears make the film’s three-hour runtime more than worth it.

Paramount

The Lovely Bones (2009)

Run Time: 135 min | IMDb: 6.7/10

We don’t know what’s more depressing about this crime drama — the fact that Saoirse Ronan’s character is killed off so early, or that national treasure Stanley Tucci plays the murderous bad guy. Either way, Mark Wahlberg puts in some serious work playing the grief-stricken father of a murdered teenage girl who’s trying to find answers while also holding his family together.

Netflix

Roma (2018)

Run Time: 135 min | IMDb: 8.7/10

Oscar-winning writer/director Alfonso Cuaron delivers what may be his most personal film to date. The stunningly-shot black-and-white film is an ode to Cuaron’s childhood and a love letter to the women who raised him. Following the journey of a domestic worker in Mexico City named Cleo, the movie interweaves tales of personal tragedy and triumph amidst a backdrop of political upheaval and unrest.

Ghost Patrick Swayze Demi Moore
Paramount

Ghost (1990)

Run Time: 127 min | IMDb: 7.1/10

Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg star in this romantic drama about a love that basically defies death. Swayze plays Sam, a young man who’s murdered but whose spirit stays behind to warn his girlfriend (Moore) of impending danger. Goldberg plays the medium he channels through to connect with the world of the living. There’s humor and a bit of mystery involved, but knowing that, no matter the outcome, Patrick Swayze’s character will still be dead at the end of this thing is just so damn sad.

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RSVP Films

The Sky Is Pink (2019)

Run Time: 143 min | IMDb: 7.5/10

Priyanka Chopra stars in this absolute tearjerker from Indian director Shonali Bose, playing a woman named Aditi whose epic love story is told in the past and present tense by her daughter. Spanning decades, we see Aditi’s relationship with her husband play out from the eyes of her spunky teenage daughter who was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. It’s devastating yet hopeful — the perfect combo to get those tear ducts working.

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Netflix

Pieces Of A Woman (2021)

Run Time: 126 min | IMDb: 7.1/10

Be warned: this film is basically two hours’ worth of emotional terrorism. You should still watch it, mostly because Vanessa Kirby delivers a star-making performance as Martha, a young woman who experiences a terrible loss and goes on a year-long journey to cope with it. Shia LaBeouf plays her husband, who kind of crumbles under his own grief, and Ellen Burstyn plays Martha’s overbearing mom. The sad bits never really let up, but then again, that’s what you’re here for, right?

Paramount

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7.8/10

Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio star in this heartbreaking family drama about a young man struggling to care for his disabled brother and morbidly obese mother. Depp plays the titular Gilbert Grape, a kid with plenty of dreams and even more responsibilities keeping him from pursuing them. DiCaprio plays his mentally challenged younger brother Arnie who relies on Gilbert and their mother — a woman whose weight threatens her health — for everything. It’s a tearjerker for sure, but it’s also brilliantly acted and painfully relatable.

Netflix

The Fundamentals Of Caring (2016)

Run Time: 97 min | IMDb: 7.3/10

Paul Rudd is at his most charming and charismatic here. He plays a newly trained caregiver to a distant teenager with muscular dystrophy named Trevor. After some icebreaking, the two set out on a trip to see some of the most boring roadside attractions middle America has to offer. It’s a bit more optimistic and feel-good than others on this list but don’t let Paul Rudd’s cuddly vibes fool you — there will be tears.

A24

The Florida Project (2017)

Run Time: 111 min | IMDb: 7.6/10

Willen Dafoe lends his name to this little indie that generated plenty of buzz during awards season just a few years ago. It follows the story of six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) who lives with her mother in a run-down motel near Walt Disney World. Moonee, along with a couple of kids also living at the motel, gets into all sorts of mischief while her mom works first as an exotic dancer, then resorts to prostitution when things get rough. Poor and neglected, Moonee still finds joy in her unforgiving environment and though things end on a bittersweet note, this feels like one of the more hopeful movies on this list.

Warner Brothers

Mystic River (2003)

Run Time: 138 min | IMDb: 7.9/10

Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Tim Robbins star in this heartbreaking drama about a group of high school friends whose lives are shattered following a terrible family tragedy. The men have reunited after years apart after the daughter of one, Jimmy (Penn) is murdered and another member of the group, Dave (Robbins) is suspected of the killing. Sean (Bacon) is a detective investigating the case as the story takes unpredictable, often frustrating twists and turns before revealing the truth of what happened.

Netflix

Extremis (2016)

Run Time: 24 min | IMDb: 7.3/10

Clocking in at 24 minutes, the Oscar-nominated Extremis really would only work as a short, as its subject matter is almost unbearably heavy. Following terminal patients, their families, and their doctors, the tearjerker zeros in on the decision that many people are forced to make: whether to end a life or keep struggling to hold on. Netflix’s first foray into short documentary, it’s raw insight that can be rough for anyone who has been in similar shoes or spent any time facing dire choices in a hospital.

Universal

Les Miserables (2012)

Run Time: 158 min | IMDb: 7.6/10

Before he gave us the truly horrifying theatrical interpretation of Cats, director Tom Hooper helmed another stage-to-screen adaptation, this one centering on revolutionary-era France. Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, and Eddie Redmayne lead the cast of this star-powered vehicle which took home three Oscars and tells the tragic story of Fantine (Hathaway), a prostitute who gives up her daughter and Jean Valjean (Jackman) a man hounded by a dogged policeman. Their lives connect in interesting ways over the years but be prepared, Hathaway’s performance will break your soul.

Recent Updates Through December 2021:
Added: Titanic, Ghost, The Unforgivable
Removed: The Pianist, Fruitvale Station, Million Dollar Baby

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