Cry Baby

Today I was eating lunch at a friend’s house and the television was on.  The Fellowship of the Ring happened to be playing and if you know me slightly well you probably know that I adore J.R.R. Tolkien’s books and Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films.  So while we cooked and ate our meal we watched along between the Fellowship’s arrival at Lothlórien and the breaking of the Fellowship.  If you’re familiar with the story from the film you know about a significant event that took place within that time period (which in the book actually took place at the beginning of The Two Towers, after the breaking of the Fellowship).

If you haven’t seen the films and you don’t know what happened this will be a spoiler: Boromir is killed.  Casting Sean Bean to play Boromir probably automatically gave American audiences a negative prejudice against the character (he being the antagonist in many films including but not limited to: The Island, The Hitcher, GoldenEye, and National Treasure [the only one I’ve actually seen]), which is further fueled by a general lack of Boromir’s strong positive qualities presented in the film (unless you watch the Extended Edition, which I highly recommend).  But if you’ve read the books you probably have a much higher view of Boromir, and his glorious final scene can be very emotional when you consider the honor and valor that Boromir demonstrated in his short lifetime.  I remembered that this scene really got to me emotionally, especially Boromir’s final utterance toward Aragorn, “My king.”  My eyes welled up with tears, like in The Two Towers film when Gandalf, Éomer, and the Riders of the Rohan appear at sunrise to defeat Saruman’s Uruk-hai army at Helm’s Deep.

I got to thinking about the subject and I made a short list of films that similarly moved me to tears, after which I asked myself, “Why?”  I discovered some interesting patterns that linked various films on the list:

Many of these categories can carry over into others (i.e. LOVE is tied to KINSHIP and TRIUMPH, etc.), but in general I see that these distinct themes appeal to what makes me human, or at least human in a broken yet hopeful state.  While looking at the list above I see the Gospel calling out to me, and the same can be said of a list of books, music, or visual art that has appealed to our emotions.

From tearful heartbreak to tearful elation the Gospel has radically given us a schema with which we can understand the universe and our place in it, and it is not simply a cold, purely logical grid to look at the world (which probably kept me from crying when Mr. Spock died in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan).  Through Christ we’ve the opportunity to come to God with our brokenness and to be able to experience true kinship and love as we inhabit a broken yet redeemed world.  Because of what God has accomplished throughout history we also have a hope for the undoing of this brokenness and a time when injustice is eliminated.  Tears of joy will most assuredly follow.

What films have made you cry and what is the underlying meaning of your tears?

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About Elijah

My name is Elijah. My interests include life in active community, writing, performing and partaking of music, collecting vinyl records, hiking/outdoors, urban exploration, Celtic FC and the Detroit Tigers.

4 responses to “Cry Baby”

  1. Andrew Faris says :

    I cry more consistently watching Field of Dreams than any other. This is probably in part because it captures the nostalgia of baseball so well for this baseball fanatic. But what makes it is the way that Ray gets his chance to redeem his relationship with his father after he’d spent so much time slandering him. Their only connection in the movie is their mutual love of baseball, so the ultimate healing moment is the simplicity of going out and doing such a typical father-son thing: having a catch. And all that after Ray Sr. gets to see Ray Jr.’s wife and daughter. Beautiful stuff.

    Great post, Eli.

    Andrew Faris
    Christians in Context

  2. Mark says :

    I get “touched” by many movies, and like you it is mostly when people die. Beth in Little Women, Jenny and Bubba in Forrest Gump, and also like you William Wallace in Braveheart. I don’t know what’s behind it other than general sadness at death… that and a very moving score in the background.

  3. Doctor Bailor says :

    I don’t mean to be a stickler, but as something of a Trekkie i felt the need to tell you that it’s Mr. Spock, not Dr. Spock.

    While I don’t cry, I get emotional at the end of Big Fish for all the same reasons, as well as at various points in the movie Garden State, or in Cast Away when Wilson falls off the raft and Tom Hanks tries to swim after him. There’s also the ending to the movie Star Trek: Generations, when Captain Kirk dies. And, like everyone with a heart, the scene in Armageddon when the little kid sees his dad getting on the shuttle but doesn’t realize it really is his dad and yells for his mother (who, incidentally, played April O’Neal in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie) and says, “Mommy, look. That salesman’s on t.v.!” Gets me every time.

  4. Elijah says :


    I’m glad you caught my “Dr.” fudge-up, and I should have known better. Thank you for setting the record straight and thank you for your contribution.

    P.S. The Wilson Castaway scene was going to be on my list, but I figured it was too absurd for my point.

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