As kids, it’s been a regular thing to watch animated films. They’re often light and feel-good, with plots that are simple enough to be digested by our young and innocent minds. But now that we’re almost grown-up, it’s a bit of a shock to realize that your favorite cartoon movies as kids are actually sad animated films that can make you bawl your eyes out, even as adults. The characters may be fictional and imaginary, but their personal narratives heavily resonate with viewers’ issues in real life.
If you rewatch these movies now that you’re a little older and a little wiser, you might shed some tears after discovering certain themes from the movie which you never recognized as a child. Grab a box of tissues and prepare yourself for these animated tearjerkers:
There are plenty of films from Studio Ghilbi that could potentially leave viewers in tears because of its superb animation, but Spirited Away would probably be on the top tier. As a child, I was weirdly afraid of Spirited Away because it had everything my nightmares were made of—scary-looking creatures and getting lost by myself in an unfamiliar place.
The story follows the little girl Chihiro who saw her parents turn into pigs and loses herself in a bizarre new world where spirits and monsters reside. There, she meets a boy named Haku who tries to help her get back to her realm, and in an unexpected turn of events, Chihiro somehow helps Haku, too. Chihiro might remind you of your own childhood and have you shedding some tears in memory of your younger self.
Remember back when you were a kid and this movie would always be part of the regular programming during Halloween? Back then, the idea of an old and scary-looking house eating up people seems unlikely but still spine-chilling. Now that we’re a little older, this animated film seems less scary and a little more insightful. Looking beyond its seasonal theme, Monster House tackles the concept of friendship and family, and will have you shedding a tear or two towards the end.
Where The Wild Things Are
Where The Wild Things Are involves monster-like creatures, but it isn’t exactly entirely animated. The movie is actually a marriage between live-action and CGI. It made use of animatronics to bring its characters to life, but it also tapped actors wearing mascot-like costumes of the characters to perform various scenes.
The film is based on a children’s book about a 9-year-old boy with a vivid imagination who runs away to a place with massive creatures after a disagreement with his mom. While the film revolves around a little boy’s adventure with made-up creatures, their stories reflect real-life themes of family conflict and finding a solution to being “unhappy”, which adults will find really relatable.
At first glance, Happy Feet seems like any typical animated movie with a bunch of penguins doing catchy musical numbers. Sounds simple enough. But beyond the cuteness overload, the film has something much deeper to offer. In fact, it even won several awards, including Best Animated Feature at the Oscars and British Academy Film Awards, among other major feats.
If you’ve ever felt different or been an outcast at any point in your life, you might develop a soft spot for the animated film's protagonist Mumble. And if that isn't enough, here's a gentle reminder that the late Steve Irwin was also a voice actor in this movie.
Klaus is an animated Netflix Original that earned a nomination at the prestigious Academy Awards and several wins in other major awards shows. The movie name implies that it’s a Christmas movie centered on Santa Claus, but the plot is more substantial and infinitely more heartwarming than what you would initially expect.
The film is set up as a storytelling of the narrator’s past experience with a man named Klaus in a town called Smeerensburg. Eventually, you’ll notice that the plot describes how the Christmas legend of Santa Claus and the tradition of kids writing letters to him and doing good deeds to avoid being on his ‘Naughty’ list came to be. You’ll likely find yourself tearing up after realizing that the movie is a version that humanizes the legendary and ever elusive Santa Claus.
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