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Published on August 11th, 2013 | by Becky Castle Miller

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(Blog) Little Women and Tissue Boxes

As Amy discusses in her Life & Fiction column Grieving Through Fiction, movies and books can be cathartic for us, giving us a healthy release for emotions we don’t completely understand.

The first time I cried at a movie was Sesame Street’s Follow That Bird. I was four years old, and my mom took me to the movie theater for a special treat. I bawled my eyes out because Big Bird’s homesickness overwhelmed me. Little did I know how telling that would be for my future

The next time I remember really crying during a movie was the death of Beth in the 1994 Little Women. I felt odd crying for fictional characters. I hadn’t lost anyone in my family, so I wasn’t sure why I identified with this loss enough to cry over it.

Now I welcome crying over fictional characters. Sometimes I have trouble giving myself permission to cry over my real-life losses, and it’s a relief to let the tears out as expert screenwriters guide me through grief and then back out again. Recently it was the death of my favorite “squintern” on Bones and the loss of my favorite companion on Doctor Who.

The latter moment I got to share with my six-year-old daughter, Katherine. When Rose and the Doctor were separated by time and reality, she reached her hand up under her glasses to wipe her cheeks, and looked at me, truly puzzled about her tears. “It’s okay to cry about TV shows,” I told her. “I’m crying too.”

What’s a movie, book, or TV show that made you cry, and what was your reaction to your reaction?


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About the Author

Becky Castle Miller

is the Managing Editor of Wyn Magazine. She is an American expat in the Netherlands, a writer/reader/editor focused on helping women make better lives.



  • Nichole

    The first movies I cried at was Bambi (when the mother died) and then Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (when the ant died). I didn’t think anything of my reaction. I just remember the grief being overwhelming. After I got made fun of for crying about the ant, I stopped crying at movies — that is, until recently. When I started crying at appropriate moments in movies (or books), I knew I had overcome a hurdle in expressing my emotions. The next step was applying expression to my own life without the guide of fiction.

  • http://sojensparks.blogspot.com/ Jen

    Chalk me up as another who cries when Beth dies. you’d think i’d be used to it by now. Confession: I cried in Aladdin. No joke. Genie’s willingness to sacrifice his own freedom for Aladdin & Jasmine to be together… Oh my heart.

    I’ve ALWAYS cried in movies. I find that I place myself in the predicament if the characters, or imagine how I would feel in the scenario. I ugly cried in Good Will Hunting, I Am Sam and Deathly Hallows 2. To name a few. I’ve sobbed during Bones, Ally MacBeal, Cold Feet, Picket Fences… The list goes on and on and on.

    Books are even worse. I cry when Zachary dies in Goodnight Mr Tom every. single. time. When baby Joyce dies in Anne’s house of Dreams. Pretty well every Harry Potter.

    Sometimes I wonder if I allow myself to feel (and therefore express) more for fictional experiences than I do real ones. Like it’s more acceptable, or something.

  • Ascenath

    Tears well up in my eyes at surprising moments, but I know they are not particularly for the moment at hand, but for my own inner feelings over grief that normally lies quietly in my heart. Grief over the loss of my dad and grief over loss of family music are predominant sad themes in my life.

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