Film as a medium is very powerful in affecting any kind of audience. Movies portraying tragic situations usually have deeper impact than others. The legendary Hollywood treatment of movies increases their intrinsic value and makes them larger than life. Hollywood traditions are very rich in tragic movies that never fail to evoke sadness and foreboding in cine-goers.
Atonement was such a film released in 2007 narrating the story of a country-house romance on the eve of the Second World War between a young woman from a wealthy family and the housekeeper’s son that is rudely interrupted when he is unjustly accused by the woman’s jealous sister of raping a young relative. He goes to prison and then into the army.
Before leaving he meets his love, who has remained true to him and believes in his innocence. However the fact emerges that the meeting was invented as part of a novel written by the now elderly sister, as an act of atonement for her lie. In actual fact the young man died of blood poisoning in the war and his love was drowned in a London subway tunnel that flooded after a German bomb attack.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that came out in 2004 is an epitome of incessant creativity. The movie is a clever appraisal of a story of heartbreak in which two former lovers attempt to remove all memories of their failed relationship. The subject was quite unique and very nicely filmed leaving a deep imprint.
An old classic is Gone with the Wind produced in 1939 and tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara, a Southern belle whose life is riddled with unfortunate events due to American civil war. From the deterioration of her family plantation, to the deaths of multiple close family members, O’Hara’s suffering reflects the decline of the old South. It is a very well-edited film and never fails to attract audiences.
Good Will Hunting was produced in 1997 catapulting the film’s writers and lead actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to Hollywood superstardom. The movie follows Will Hunting, an underachieving genius played by Damon as he attends therapy sessions, tries to put his intellectual gifts to good use, and navigates life with the woman he is falling in love with. The movie’s emotional climax, during which Hunting’s therapist helps him with an emotional breakthrough, rarely leaves a dry eye in the house.
1970 movie Love Story is tragedy personified telling the story of a wealthy Harvard student who meets working-class girl. the rich kid’s father disinherits him when they get married. Couple struggles along while Harvard guy finishes law school. He gets a good job in New York and the two try to have a baby. He learns that his wife is fatally ill with cancer. Though she does not know about it initially but eventually finds out. The painful part is that she dies leaving him desperate.
Another classical tear-jerker is the 1996 film The English Patient told in flashbacks. It is tale of a love affair of a married woman with an aloof man who becomes victim of her husband’s jealously who deliberately downs his airplane into the ground and dies leaving her badly injured. Her lover is forced into collaborating with the Germans before enduring the plane crash that left him badly injured. He finally succumbs to his injuries.
The Remains of the Day released in 1993 is an epic description of the unrequited love of the Butler of a country house who realises very late in life to restore his relationship with a woman who was in love with him but had left owing to his intense self-absorption.
In 1997 Titanic became the ultimate in tragic movies. It was also a cultural landmark, winning 11 Academy Awards and becoming the second-highest grossing movie of all time, worldwide after Avatar made by the same director. The film is still rated to be very successful in evoking tearful emotions of audiences the world-over.
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