My teenage son and I, as we are wont to do, were having a conversation about the very saddest things we have ever seen in animated movies (I like cathartic crying, okay?). This is a kid who, after watching the opening sequence of Finding Nemo, announced in a tiny, horrified voice that carried to the farthest reaches of the theater, “I don’t think this is a very good movie for children.” Because, you know. MASS FISHIE MURDER! So anyway, now he’s a big 16 year old guy and he found this list on the internet that neither of us agreed with, so we made our own Top 5 Saddest Moments In Animated Movies:
Bambi’s mother gets shot.
Apparently when my own parents took me to see this in the theater (and yes, I’m aware of how old that makes me – bite me), I became hysterical with grief at this point and had to be removed from the premises. My son hasn’t even seen this movie because he’s a millennial child and has “a hard time watching any movies made before 2000.” But he watched that scene and cried.
2. The Land Before Time
Littlefoot’s mother dies.
This one I saw before I even had kids. I had chosen it as a treat to watch with a group of first and second grade girls (I was their daycamp counselor). Needless to say, it was a sobfest. I also had to have a quite a few “talks” with parents later because their kids might have some questions. Good times. Did this stop me from showing it to my sweet little boy and traumatizing him? No.
3. Monsters, Inc.
Sully says goodbye to Boo (“Kitty has to go.”)
Another one from my son’s childhood. We recently rewatched this with his little sister, who is 8, and although we remembered this part being sad, I think it affected both of us much more this time around. My son adores his sister – they’re 8 years apart, so he’s sort of a combination third parent-playmate-loyal manservant. Things involving little girls being heartbroken KILL him.
Carl looks through Ellie’s scrapbook.
If this doesn’t make you cry, you are dead inside. Good luck with your life, you heartless zombie.
5. The Iron Giant
The Iron Giant saves the town from the missile.
Yes, even a movie about giant robots and the Cold War Era can wrench your heart from your chest and stomp on it.
Matthew would like me to add here that the end of Toy Story 3 would probably make this list, but neither of us have seen it because we are sure it would destroy us. “Especially because it’s about a boy who grows up and goes away to college and gives all his stuff to a little girl,” he said, clearly thinking of his sister. I gasped and clutched my stomach. “Oh my god.” Just thinking about that made me cry. I mean, right then. Right when he said that. Nose running, tears streaming down my face crying. I will be a straight up basket case in two years.
What are your own saddest moments from animated kids’ movies? I want to know, if only to avoid them. Or at the very least, to save them up for when I have a quart of ice cream and need an emotional cleanse.