the unexpected tear-jerker

I have this kind of vague, kind of vivid memory about a conversation I had with a friend back in high school. I think it was the last day of grade 8, or the last day of semester in grade 8 or 9; and I remember this because there weren’t really any classes or, at least, we weren’t doing any learning. Instead, in one class, we watched a movie – something sad and poignant like The Notebook but not that.

In this particular conversation, this friend and I (and perhaps a few other friends who were around) were talking about movies that make you cry. The Notebook was one of her suggestions. As for myself, I’d never been moved to tears by a movie. Some time after this, I got around to watching The Notebook, and I didn’t cry. Don’t think I even felt tears welling up in my eyes. I appreciate the beauty of the story and all, and I’m sure I would’ve felt the emotion of the characters, but… no tears.

Apparently Bambi is another good one to get the tears going, but for one reason or another, I never watched Bambi as a kid (or ever, I’ll admit). I watched The Lion King many, many times growing up. I would probably say it is my most favourite movie ever – if nothing else, it is certainly the sentimental favourite. But I didn’t even cry when Mufasa died.

Sometime during my teenage years, or perhaps moving into early adulthood, I was at home with my mum, and she happened to be watching this movie on SBS called Turn Left, Turn Right. I think we’d just had lunch, and we had started watching it as we finished eating, so I hung around to watch the rest of it with her, out of curiosity. That movie came the closest to making me cry. I didn’t actually cry, but there was some part at the end (or near the end) when I was feeling emotional, and I could feel the tears about to burst out – but I held them back.

I suppose I’m a stoic kind of person; I’m not very outwardly emotional. Since then, I’ve still never cried while watching a movie – until last Saturday.

Last Saturday, I was at a friend’s place, and we were both kind of tired, so I just put on a movie, and she kind of had a nap. I scrolled through the selection of movies they had, not really knowing what I wanted to watch, and, honestly, not recognising most of the titles in their collection. Trying to save myself from my own indecision, I chose a movie at random: St. Vincent.

Believe it or not, St. Vincent was the movie that finally made me cry. I didn’t cry at all during any part of Up, but this one got me.

Ok, let’s be clear on this: I didn’t bawl my eyes out; I just shed a few tears at that last part when Oliver does his presentation about saints, but I suppose it still counts. And even as I was watching it, and as I felt the tears coming, I kept wondering why this, of all things, was what finally broke through. Not to discredit the movie too much – I think it’s a great movie – but it’s pretty predictable and cliched and all that. Even for someone like me who doesn’t “think” much during a movie, and who doesn’t try to guess what’s about to happen next, it was always pretty obvious where the story was going… And yet, it still made me cry.

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