Requiem for a Dream (2000)
The Movie: Adaptation of the novel by Hubert Selby Jr, directed by Darren Aronosfky.
Four characters each battle their addictions, escaping into their own delusional internal worlds.
The Misery: Practically every frame of Aronofky’s flick oozes misery. If it’s not Sara’s EST, it’s Marion Silver prostituting herself.
Seriously, don’t watch this if you’re having a bad day.
Tissues Out: Hooked on amphetamines, Sara is committed to a mental institution.
The Movie: Not the ‘80s horror, though that’s pretty miserable as well. Here, Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie tell the true life story of Christine Collins, whose son goes missing.
When the police inform her that he has been found, they bring her a complete stranger.
The Misery: The film’s main point seems to be: how many different ways can a woman say “that’s not my son!” before somebody starts believing her? It’s a depressing reminder of the patriarchal ‘20s.
Tissues Out: David Clay is found alive and tells his story, in which Collins learns the fate of her son.
Angela's Ashes (1999)
The Movie: Alan Parker directs Emma Watson and Robert Carlyle in this Oscar nommed adap of Frank McCourt’s memoirs.
During the ‘30s, young Frank and his family are forced to return to Ireland thanks to their lack of means.
The Misery: Living in a poverty stricken pre-war Limerick, Frank’s father searches for work in the Republic but is unable to find any. When he does manage to scrape together the pennies, he drinks it all away...
Tissues Out: It starts as it means to go on; with the tragic death of Angela's baby girl.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
The Movie: Three servicemen return home after fighting in the Second World War.
But as they try to pick up the lives that they left behind, they discover it’s not going to be as easy as all that.
The Misery: Arguably one of mainstream Hollywood’s first and finest attempts to tackle how men are affected by war. Homer lost his hands, Al turns to drink and Fred suffers terrible night terrors.
Tissues Out: Homer pushes his fiancée away because he doesn’t want to be a burden... Godammit, don’t be such a hero!
The Movie: Harrowing ‘80s-set drama adapted from the book ‘Push’ by Sapphire, the fictional story of abused teenager Claireece Precious Jones. It’s based on real life.
The Misery: If ever you’re feeling a little down about your life, spare a moment for Precious.
She’s victim to horrific domestic abuse, is chucked out of school, and has a child by her own father. Oh, and she’s pregnant with a second.
Tissues Out: Precious’s mother makes a surprise trip to see Ms Weiss, and the revelations come tumbling out.
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
The Movie: Five-time Oscar winner directed by David Lean. Originally lasting a staggering 220 minutes, it’s the story of married doctor and poet Zhivago, who falls in love with Lara, the wife of a political campaigner.
The Misery: As the First World War draws to a close, Zhivago finds himself faced with the Bolshevik Revolution. His former life of freedom and happiness is all but buried as the new social order makes its demands on him.
Tissues Out: When Zhivago is on the tram in Moscow, he sees Lara in the street. Running toward her, he has a heart attack and dies without her even noticing.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
The Movie: Ang Lee adapts Annie Proulx’s moving short story, which tells of the doomed romance between two cowboys who meet in 1963.
Struggling with their own issues of masculinity and duty, the pair see each other over the years, but can never be together.
The Misery: They tagged it a ‘gay romance’.
Really it’s just a heartbreaking, deeply affecting love story, burning with unrequited desire.
Tissues Out: All we’re gonna say is: shirt sniffing.
Old Yeller (1957)
The Movie: Living in post-Civil War Texas, the Coates family are beyond poor.
The eldest son, Travis, strikes up a friendship with a dog, Yeller, when it appears on the family’s lot. A bond quickly forms between the two.
The Misery: Gosh, hasn’t Disney changed since the ‘50s? Poverty, death, disease, pig attacks... It all comes to a head with a climax that has us screaming “then end! the end!” just like Phoebe in Friends .
Tissues Out: Travis takes out his gun and becomes a man...
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
The Movie: Aspiring boxer Maggie convinces an old trainer, Frankie Dunn, to take her on and train her up.
The Misery: Maggie’s life ain’t no bed of roses.
Her family are ungrateful and spiteful. When Maggie buys them a house, her mother flies off the handle, worried that her welfare scam will be ruined.
Tissues Out: Just this one shot will break your hearts – the overhead of Maggie lying in bed, a broken figure. Even Clint cries.
The Green Mile (1999)
The Movie: Frank Darabont tackles another one of Stephen King’s works, adapting the 1930s tale of John Coffey, a man convicted of murder and put on death row.
Corrections officer Paul forms a bond with the man, who turns out to be a total softie.
The Misery: “Do you leave a light on after bedtime? Because I get a little scared in the dark sometimes. If it's a strange place,” says John, breaking a million hearts in one fell swoop. This man shouldn’t be on death row!
Tissues Out: The gut-wrenching climax. You know what we’re talking about.
The Movie: Liza Minnelli cemented her status as an icon with this, the 1972 film loosely based on the stage show. Set in Berlin in 1931, stage performer Sally gains a roommate in Brian, who may or may not be gay.
The Misery: It’s all about the gradual Nazi occupation of Germany, so misery is pretty rife here, undulating through most of the film. The most miserable moment is the film’s end, in which a young boy sings ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me’.
Tissues Out: Brian and Sally go their separate ways after she has an abortion.
The Movie: The BFI have Kes in their list of top ten British films. Proof that the British hate themselves?
Dunno, but Ken Loach’s tale of Billy Casper, a boy bullied at school who finds an unlikely companion in a wild kestrel, is pretty bloomin’ bleak.
The Misery: Just look at Billy’s life. His half-brother hates him, people at school bully him, and he has a pretty grim dead cert future down the mines.
Tissues Out: The famous ending, in which Billy’s half-brother kills his only friend, will have even the hardiest blubbing.
To Joy (Till gldje) (1950)
The Movie: “Even I think my films are depressing,” Ingmar Bergman once admitted. We couldn’t agree more.
The granddaddy of Swedish filmmaking made this tragedy in 1950, in which soloist Stig joins an orchestra and ends up marrying fellow musician Martha.
The Misery: They’re not even married yet when Stig and Martha hit their first hiccup: she’s pregnant, he thinks a child would ruin their life. They quarrel constantly, he has an affair.
Tissues Out: When the paraffin oven in the kitchen explodes, Stig loses his wife and his daughter. His young son sees the whole thing...
Sophies Choice (1982)
The Movie: Polish immigrant Sophie and her lover Nathan arrive in Brooklyn and move in with Stingo. But Nathan is insanely jealous and is convinced that Sophie has cheated on him.
The Misery: Yep, it’s those Nazis again.
As Nathan is revealed to be dangerously unhinged, Sophie reveals to Stingo that she was imprisoned in Auschwitz, where she lost her daughter.
Tissues Out: Obviously, the eponymous ‘choice’, which results in the death of Sophie’s daughter at Auschwitz.