25 of the Saddest Movies on Netflix, From “Marriage Story” to “Irreplaceable You”
Sometimes, you just need to have a good cry, and few things will motivate your tear ducts faster than a sad movie. Whether you’re into heartbreaking romances or medical melodramas, there’s something very cathartic about spending two hours bawling your eyes out in front of your laptop or TV. Thankfully, there are plenty of sad movies on Netflix that will keep you sniffling from start to finish.
From weepy Netflix originals about doomed love to soul-crushing films based on tragic true stories and throwback favorites, Netflix has an ever-growing number of sad movies that will absolutely destroy you, emotionally speaking. Worried about someone walking in during your Netflix and cry session? Don’t be, crying can actually help you release pent-up tension and get those emotions out; so go ahead and queue up a sad movie and let the tears fall.
If you’re in the mood to watch a flick that will make you cry, then we recommend watching one of these super-sad movies on Netflix. Just be warned, these movies are for when you need a seriously good cry, so don’t forget to stock up on tissues (and maybe chocolate, too) before you settle in to stream these films that are sure to leave you feeling all of your emotions by the time the end credits roll. Ahead, here are 25 of the saddest movies on Netflix.
– Additional reporting by Kalyn Womack and Sabienna Bowman.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Marriage Story"
This drama stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a New York City theater director and his wife, a former teen actress turned stage performer. Charlie and Nicole’s already rocky marriage comes apart after Nicole accepts a starring role in a TV pilot and moves to Los Angeles with their son, and the movie follows the subsequent unraveling of their lives together. If you need a good ugly-cry, this one is for you.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Roma"
Set in the early 1970s in Mexico City, “Roma” is a semibiographical take on the life of Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón (who also produced, coedited, and shot the film), following a formative year in the life of a middle-class family and their live-in housekeeper. It’s not only a gorgeous film – it’s also a total heartbreaker.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Irreplaceable You"
When a young woman, Abbie, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she decides to make it her mission to find a new lover for her best friend since childhood and fiancé, Sam. The cast is insanely good, including the beautiful Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Michiel Huisman, and their onscreen chemistry is just as beautiful as it is devastating.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Atlantics"
This French-language romance takes place in Dakar, Senegal, where 17-year-old Ada falls in love with a young construction worker named Souleiman, who’s forced to leave her behind when his team relocates (and subsequently gets lost at sea). Little does she know that Souleiman will later return – and of course, it’s on the same day she’s supposed to marry someone else.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "All the Bright Places"
Based on Jennifer Niven’s YA novel of the same name, this drama romance stars Elle Fanning and Justice Smith as two small-town teenagers, Violet and Finch, who are brought together by fate after Finch talks Violet off the ledge of a bridge before she takes her life. Finch then helps Violet move past her sister’s death, and spoiler alert: the ending feels like a punch to the gut.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "6 Balloons"
In this incredibly dark flick, Abbi Jacobson stars as a burdened big sister who spends a night driving around LA with her heroin-addicted brother (played by Dave Franco) and his 2-year-old daughter. Oh, yeah, and she’s also trying to make it back in time for her boyfriend’s surprise birthday party, where her friends and family are anxiously awaiting her arrival.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Lost Girls"
Based on the book of the same name by Robert Kolker, this drama tells the true story of a mother who relentlessly pushed law enforcement agents to search for her missing daughter. In the process, she also uncovered a series of unsolved murders, where the victims were all young female sex workers on Long Island.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "To the Bone"
Lily Collins stars in “To the Bone” as Ellen, a 20-year-old struggling to cope with anorexia, despite years spent in recovery programs. This one definitely isn’t easy to watch, but that’s exactly what makes it so powerful.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind"
Based on the true story of William Kamkwamba and his book written with Bryan Mealer, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope”, this film follows a 13-year-old boy who discovered a way to save his Malawi village from famine. It is the directorial debut for “12 Years a Slave” actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, as well as the first starring role for newcomer Maxwell Simba, who plays William, and it’s a total tearjerker.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"
Based on the 2008 historical novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows by the same name, a London author (played by Lily James) bonds with the residents of Guernsey Island in the aftermath of World War II and begins to exchange letters with them. Through her correspondence, she learns what life was like during the German occupation, which changes her perspective on everything.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Paddleton"
Starring “Everybody Loves Raymond” actor Ray Romano and “The League”‘s Mark Duplass (who also served as writer and director), this Sundance drama follows two neighbors who form an unlikely bond after Duplass’s character is diagnosed with terminal cancer. It’s a slow burn, but it definitely pays off in a big way.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "My Best Friend Anne Frank"
This Dutch drama is based on the book “Memories of Anne Frank: Reflections of a Childhood Friend” by Alison Leslie Gold. The movie chronicles the friendship between Anne Frank and Hanneli Goslar, as told from Hanneli’s perspective. From the early days of their friendship in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam to their eventual reunion in a concentration camp, this harrowing movie is the very definition of a tearjerker.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "If Anything Happens, I Love You"
A movie doesn’t have to be long to absolutely shatter your heart. Case in point: the animated short film “If Anything Happens, I Love You.” Over the course of just 12 minutes, two grieving parents navigate the pain of losing their daughter even as they feel they’re worlds apart from each other.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Brain on Fire"
A young journalist’s entire life is thrown off course when she begins to hear voices in her head and experience seizures. Doctors are baffled as her condition continues to deteriorate. Soon her physicians are in a race against time to figure out what’s causing this formerly healthy young woman’s brain to turn against her.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Tick, Tick... Boom!"
Don’t let the boppy musical numbers fool you, “Tick, Tick… Boom!” is a searing portrait of a young man dealing with anxiety and self doubt even as he pens plays that touch people’s hearts. Based on the true story of playwright Jonathan Larson, the movie is ultimately the story of a creative talent who comes to regret sacrificing his personal relationships as he throws himself into his career.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "18 Presents"
A pregnant mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer in this movie that’s all about finding a way to be a part of your family’s life even after you’re gone. Knowing that she’ll never live to see her child grow up, the expectant mother sets out to put together 18 special gifts for her unborn daughter, so each year on her birthday, she’ll know how much her mother loved her.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Notes For My Son"
“Notes For My Son” is another film about a mother facing a terminal diagnosis. In this one, the mom, Maria, uses her sense of humor and optimism to write letters to her young son that will help him know his mother’s love even after she’s gone.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "The Swimmers"
“The Swimmers” tells the harrowing true story of sisters Nathalie Issa and Manal Issa, who swam alongside a Syrian refugee dingy to prevent it from sinking. The movie chronicles their story as one of the sisters goes on to swim in the Olympics, while the others work to help refugees find a safe place to live and ultimately ends up facing criminal charges for her selfless work.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "A Monster Calls"
A young boy named Conor whose mother is dying of cancer encounters a talking tree in this heart-wrenching tale. Struggling with nightmares and terrified of his mother’s death, Conor and the monster embark on a journey of storytelling and destruction as he attempts to cope with his mother’s illness and fears about his future.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Call Me by Your Name"
If you’re looking to sob, look no further than “Call Me by Your Name.” This heartbreaker starts out as an idyllic summertime fable set in the Italian countryside, but by the time it ends, you’ll be sobbing into the fireplace. In his breakout role, Timothée Chalamet stars as a boy who spends the summer with his family in Italy and finds himself drawn to an older man (Armie Hammer), and beauty and tears ensue.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Paper Lives"
Set in an impoverished neighborhood in Istanbul, “Paper Lives” follows a man named Mehmet, who runs a solid waste warehouse and does his best to help the unhoused people in his neighborhood. But when he meets an 8-year-old boy with no home, his life will be forever changed by the bond they form.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "All Together Now"
A bright high schooler named Amber appears to have everything going for her. But the truth is she’s harboring a sad secret in “All Together Now.” What no one knows is that she’s living in a bus, but as she learns to open up and accept help from the people around her, Amber’s life begins to change for the better in this life-affirming film.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Blue Jay"
High-school sweethearts reunite after 20 years and take a trip down memory lane to their shared past in this emotional film about going home again. When Jim and Amanda bump into one another at a grocery store in their small hometown, it feels like no time has passed. But in truth, their lives are completely different: Jim recently lost his mother, and Amanda is in town to support her pregnant sister. At first their reunion is a dream come true, but once they return to Jim’s mom’s house, memories of the past come flooding back.
Sad Movies on Netflix: "Pieces of a Woman"
Vanessa Kirby gives an astonishing performance in this devastating film about parents attempting to process a pregnancy loss after their homebirth ends in tragedy. As the couple looks for someone to blame, their own inner turmoil begins to tear them apart. Once they begin court proceedings against their midwife, they’re forced to face their grief with surprising and heartbreaking results.