12 Best Heartbreaking Movies on Hulu Right Now

January 1, 2019
13 min read

Life is not easy. Everyone knows it, but nobody wants to accept it. Sometimes life presents us with such difficult situations that all we want to do is crumble in our bed and cry. Though, crying in itself is not a bad thing at all — in fact it is healing. What is bad is the will to not fight. Cry all you want, but then get up and be ready to fight. That’s how you can carve your way in this tough world.  While we all agree that life is intrinsically unfair, cinema also recreates an identical frame of reference. Thus sad movies somehow pluck the right psychological strings and make us contemplate about our own lives, possibly tragic in their own unique ways. And every once in  a while, we develop cravings for a sad movies for our own reasons — but mostly because we want to cry.

With that in mind, I set out to find the best sad and heartbreaking movies that are available on Hulu. With the emergence of online streaming services, nowadays, people prefer watching movies sitting in the comforts of their home. Netflix, of course, has the lion share of eyeballs, but Hulu is not far behind. So, if you are planning to watch a movie that will make you cry, in the comforts of your bed, this list is especially for you. We have all kind of sad movies on this list: from tear jerkers to sad romantic movies. Again, here’s the list of top sad movies on Hulu.

12. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly starrer ‘Requiem for a Dream’ start the depressing journey for us. This film is a nice piece of work by Darren Aronofsky and the cast gives really commendable performances. The plot of the film deals with addiction and how it plunges people’s lives into darkness. The film starts with Sara Goldfarb played by Ellen. She is a retired widow and feels lonely. her only recluse is a self-help TV show. Sara dreams about being a guest on the show. Harry played by Leto is Sara’s son who is a drug addict. He has big dreams of becoming a successful drug dealer but that dream is far from being achieved. Another character is Marion played by Connelly. She could be a successful fashion designer or artist but she is pulled into Harry’s drug-fueled life. In the meantime, Sara gets crazy about losing weight and starts taking pills. Slowly, she gets addicted to them. The film is really depressing.

11. City of God (2002)

I like films based on true stories. They give a perspective of how the world works. This movie will give you a lot of ideas about Brazil. Though Brazil’s drastically criminal infested societies have improved a lot there are still enough vestiges remaining that cause the people discomfort. But when you watch this movie you will understand what they have faced not so long ago. The movie starts in the city of Rio de Janerio during the 1960s. The movie shows how two people growing up in the same neighborhood can be miles apart in respect to what becomes of them. It shows the will of a person to free himself from the clutches of slum and poverty and free his mind. Rocket is that person. He wants to become a photographer and wants to let the world know of his slum’s poor condition through his clicks. Another person is Li’l Ze who is a gangster. He is a drug lord of that area and has caused much violence over the years. The film shows different time periods through which this lower class area of Rio known as the City of God goes and how much people struggled to live.

10. Anna Karenina (1948)

There’s a 2012 remake of this film starring Keira Knightley. But the version that is on Hulu is the original British film starring the beautiful Vivian Leigh. The film is based on the novel of the same name written by Leo Tolstoy. The story is really sad and has a depressing end. The performances of the cast are really good and kinda make you feel for the characters. The film is essentially a drama and focuses on the main character by the name of Anna Karenina played by Vivian. She is a beautiful woman and is married to a government official named Alexei Karenin. As is with many men Alexei was more interested in his job than his wife and hence her emotional needs were neglected. One night while taking a train to her brother she meets a man named Vronsky who is a cavalry officer. Vronsky develops a liking for Anna. Anna tries to shake him off but doesn’t try too hard rather she kinda lets him woo her. Soon, something of a relationship starts between them which will soon wreak havoc in their social as well as personal lives.

9. Me Before You (2016)

Look, I know Emilia Clarke is a beautiful actress but I was never a fan of her acting skills. I guess she was in some ‘Terminator’ movie and I disliked her performance. But ‘Me Before You’ is one movie in which she does a good enough job. The plot of the story is really nice (though not new) and the performances are good too. The characters have been given enough depth to keep the viewers engaged. The female protagonist is Louisa Clark played by Emilia who had recently lost her job. She takes the job of a companion in which she had to spend time with Will Traynor played by Sam Claflin. Will has been in an accident and has been paralyzed since. At first, the relationship between the two is distant as Will keeps a cold demeanor. But slowly Louisa opens him up and they grow closer. Louisa learns of various suicide attempts by Will and tries to get him to love life. Will she be able to show him?

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8. My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

Cancer is one of the most depressing thing ever. It destroys not only the person involved but also the lives of the family members. This disease has been used as a depressing tool in movies for some time now and it works since we can relate the pain and trouble that the characters go through. In this movie, Kate Fitzgerald is a cancer patient. Her parents use vitro fertilization to conceive Anna who will be a savior sister for Kate. Kate stays in hospital and mingles with other cancer victims. She grows close to a boy and starts a relationship with him. One day he dies and Kate tries to kill herself but is saved. kate’s mother Sara is obsessed with saving her and doesn’t understand her daughter’s feelings. When Kate has renal failure Anna is supposed to provide the kidney required. But Anna backs out and tells that she has a right to choose. Soon a legal battle ensues between Anna and her mother.

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7. Fences (2016)

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis will make you cry really hard when you watch ‘Fences’. The movie is really good and has a really nice plot and great character work. Denzel Washington is amazing and Viola Davis is superb. The story focuses on a Black Family and their lives. Troy is the man of the family. He works as a garbage collector and is married to his loving wife Rose. They have been married for 18 years now. Troy used to be a baseball star in his prime and was a player in the Negro Leagues. But he didn’t receive the chance to play in the major leagues even though he had the talent. If it had happened, it would have made him the first colored person in the major league. Troy is frustrated at this and this emotion has been bottled up inside him. Troy has a 34-year-old son named Cory from his previous marriage. Cory has prospects of becoming a professional football player but Troy goes out of his way to dissuade him going as far as telling his coach to drop him from the team. ‘Fence’ tells how we build boundaries to keep ourselves while at other times keep others out.

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6. Babel (2006)

The plot of ‘Babel’ seems to connect the lives of different people living in different countries in different continents. The movie feels fresh but the plot can make you really depressed. The casting is good and they give a really powerful performance. We have four separate stories which are strangely linked by a gun. In Morroco, Richard and Susan are on vacation during which they plan to work out the differences prevailing in their marriage. They have left their children at home with a Mexican caretaker, Amelia. Amelia has to attend her son’s marriage. Having no substitute, she takes the children with her in an illegal manner. Meanwhile, in Morroco, a farmer buys a rifle to keep jackals away. But his sons decide to test the weapon and fire at a bus hitting Susan. In Japan, Chieko Wataya is grieving her mother’s death. her mother had killed herself. Chieko has a sexual awakening which is left unfulfilled because of boys rejecting her due to her disability. She starts finding solace in older men. In the meantime, police are searching for her in relation to the rifle whose previous owner was Chieko’s father.

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5. Silverlake Life: The View From Here (1993)

This is a really powerful documentary film. I was really moved by this film’s portrayal of the deadly disease, AIDS. The movie is really touching and will inspire you to live life to the fullest and care for other people. The film is directed by Tom Joslin and Peter Friedman. The movie has been shot with a handheld camera and documents the life of Tom and his partner Mark Massi. Tom and Massi are a gay couple and both of them have been diagnosed with AIDS. The couple decides to document their last moments in detail as they struggle through their daily lives. Tom Joslin was a UCLA film teacher and Peter Friedman was his student. The film shows how the couple tried their best to help each other face this deadly disease which had only one end. I was in tears a couple of times while viewing this movie and I am quite sure many of you will experience something similar. Tom died on July 1st in the year 1990 while Mark died exactly a year after.

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4. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

I like Tim Robbins. He was superb in his role in the movie ‘Shawshank Redemption’. ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ is another movie which showcases his talent as a great actor. The movie is actually a psychological thriller and has also been tagged with the horror genre. But I felt sad at the end of the movie and have met many people with similar views on the movie and thus it ended up being on the list. The movie follows the life of Jacob Singer who seems to be a war veteran who was stationed in Vietnam. He has symptoms of PTSD it seems as he has regular hallucinations of his time in Vietnam and is slowly becoming unstable. His marriage has ended and he lives with his current lover Jezebel. Jacob misses his son Gabe who has died in an accident and Jacob still feels that he is the one responsible for his death. As his life seems to become more and more hectic he cannot distinguish between reality and hallucination. Will he be able to survive this emotional and trauma he is facing?

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3. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

‘Brokeback Mountain’ is a great piece of work by Ang Lee and has two great actors in the lead. The main characters in the movie are Ennis Del Mar played by Heath Ledger and Jack Twist played by Jake Gyllenhaal. They are cowboys who meet in Brokeback Mountain after being appointed as sheepherders. They get to know and enjoy each other’s company. One night they get drunk and that’s the night they truly understand what they actually are to each other. Their romance continues for the summer after which they leave unsure of what to do next. Some four years later both of them have settled and have their own families but their hearts long for each other and they decide to meet again and their romance continues but for how long?

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2. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008)

One of the other things that can be used to make a movie depressing other than cancer is World War II especially Germany’s extermination of Jews. This movie is set during these times and shows the hardships faced by the Jews all the while following the plot of a friendship between a German and  Jewish boy. Bruno is a young German kid and he meets Shmuel who is a Jew in a prison camp meant for extermination. Shmuel wears stripped prison clothes, hence the name, and lives behind an electric fence. One day Shmuel’s father disappears and the duo set out to find him. The movie is really touching and is based on the novel of the same name by Josh Boyne.

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1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Though at first ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ looks like a love story it is much more than that. It teaches you a lot about the struggles of life and old age. It also tells a person how to live their life to the fullest and yeas, it is a beautiful and unique romantic story. Daisy played by Cate Blanchett is now old and is on her deathbed. She asks her daughter Caroline to read her the diary of a close friend named Benjamin Button. Benjamin had a unique disease in which he aged backward and thus was diagnosed with various age-related problems in his childhood. He had little chance of survival but he did survive and lived a unique life. Daisy and Benjamin were quite apart in their age when they first met but as their life progressed both caught up in age and had a beautiful but brief romantic relationship. The plot of the movie is really extraordinary and the performance of Brad and Cate is phenomenal.

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