15 Hard-to-Watch Movies That Are So Gripping, You Can’t Turn Them Off

4 years ago

Some people believe that true art is supposed to make us feel really powerful emotions. The movies that do this can shake us and take us way outside of our comfort zone for several hours. These films are especially valuable for their ability to make us feel the emotions we don’t get to experience in real life.

If you are not afraid of crying when watching a movie that takes your breath away, pay attention to these 15 cinema masterpieces. It took a long time here at Bright Side to get ourselves together after we watched these movies.

A Private War, 2018

The movie tells the story of a war correspondent for The Sunday Times, which is a British newspaper. She travels to hotspots all around the world. Despite all the difficulties, constant injuries, and the horror of war conflicts, she regularly writes material from Kosovo, Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and other countries. She has seen the things that politicians and government officials haven’t. She has tried to do all she could to tell the truth as fast as possible and stop the war through the stories of other people.

The film is based on a true story that was first told in the article “Marie Colvin’s Private War” in Vanity Fair, by Marie Brenner in 2012.

  • IMDb rating — 6.7

All the Invisible Children, 2005

This film consists of 7 short movies. Every single one of them tells the story of a child who has a difficult life while the people around just don’t notice. These stories of children from the slums, a gypsy boy, a child soldier, and others, stir up so many problems that people prefer to just not talk about — that it’s hard not to cry. All of us were children once, but many of us have already forgotten that.

This film is part of a worldwide project by UNICEF and the UN World Food Program.

  • IMDb rating — 7.6

Then Came You, 2019

Calvin suffers from hypochondria and he constantly imagines that he has diseases that he actually doesn’t have. He can’t enjoy his life. Skye is the complete opposite — she enjoys her life, even though it will end very soon. After Calvin meets Skye, he finds out that Skye has an eccentric bucket list and they work together to make her dreams come true.

  • IMDb rating — 7.1

Ombline, 2012

Ombline grew up in a dysfunctional family and has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for assaulting someone. After a month in prison, she finds out that she is pregnant and this news changes her outlook of the world. According to the law, she can stay with the baby only until it is 1.5 years old and after that, the child will have to go to a different family or to an orphanage. Ombline realizes that she doesn’t want this to happen and she is going to do all it takes to prove to the judge that she deserves to be a mother after her sentence is over.

  • IMDb rating — 6.8

Amour, 2012

Georges and Anne are music teachers. They are 80 years old and they have spent their entire lives together, they had a daughter who already has her own family. But something bad happens: Anne has a serious health problem — half of her body is paralyzed and she is starting to lose her memory. Will Georges be able to handle this challenge?

  • IMDb rating — 7.9

A Mighty Heart, 2007

This film tells the story of journalist Daniel Pearl who was leading an investigation and was looking for a connection between the terrorist organization “Al-Qaeda” and the special forces of Pakistan. After one of his interviews, Daniel disappeared and his pregnant wife Mariane Pearl started looking for him. She went to the police of Pakistan, the US embassy, and the FBI looking for clues in her letters.

The film is based on a true story and the memoir of Daniel’s wife with the same title, A Mighty Heart.

  • IMDb rating — 6.7

Heaven, 2002

This is a psychological drama with Cate Blanchett as the leading actress. It tells the story of a woman who tries to administer justice with her own hands. Philippa, a teacher, loses her husband and several students to drugs. She thinks that a doctor who’s dealing drugs is guilty, but the police refuse to start an investigation, so the woman decides to do everything by herself. But she doesn’t understand what she’s getting herself into.

  • IMDb rating — 7.1

Goodbye Christopher Robin, 2017

A child who suddenly becomes famous can be broken by such a burden, and Christopher Robin, the son of famous writer Alan Milne, knew this better than anyone. After he returned from the First World War and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, Alan moved to a London suburb where he wants to start writing again. During long walks with his son, Milne makes up and tells stories about Winnie-the-Pooh that become a worldwide hit. So later, Christopher Robin, the main character of these stories needs to deal with the stress that fame makes him feel.

  • IMDb rating — 7.1

The Discovery, 2017

Thomas Harbor shocks the earth’s population with his discovery that people go to a dream world after they die. He even provides solid proof so that nobody can doubt his discovery. After that, the suicide rate becomes insane. The situation is out of control and even Tom’s wife and children consider committing suicide. Tom then tries to come up with an idea of how to prevent millions of deaths and change the situation.

  • IMDb rating — 6.3

5 Flights Up, 2014

Ruth and Alex have been married for more than 50 years. Their love started back when they were students and they are still very much in love with each other. They decide to sell their place and buy a new one because it has become hard for them to climb to the 5th floor every day. But their apartment is so full of memories, that it is really hard to just give it up. At the same time, they find out that their dog is seriously ill and needs expensive back surgery.

Ruth and Alex have to make a lot of difficult decisions, but this is exactly what life is all about.

  • IMDb rating — 6.2

Okuribito, 2008

Cello player Daigo Kobayashi loses his job in the orchestra and doesn’t know how to go on living. He read a newspaper and sees a vacancy at a company that needs a person “to help in traveling.” Daigo is hired right away. He is offered a huge amount of money but he suspects that the words “help” and “traveling” are euphemisms for ceremonial mortuary services. Daigo has to hide what he does from other people because in Japan it is a very low-respected job. Can he keep his family, stay married, and still have friends after everyone finds out what his job is?

  • IMDb rating — 8.1

Shot Caller, 2018

The main character, who is actually a law-abiding citizen, goes to prison because of an accident. The more time he spends there, the more decisions he has to make in order to protect himself: he participates in prison fights, enters a mafia gang, and becomes a big boss. After he does his time, he realizes that it is far more difficult to return to his normal life. And the prison gangsters keep threatening him and his family.

  • IMDb rating — 7.3

Freak Show, 2017

Billy Bloom and his parents move to a small town where Billy goes to a new school. But the school seems so conservative to him. The teachers are unfair and try to impose their opinions on him. So, he decides to protest. Every day, he wears women’s clothing and puts on makeup and soon he even tries to win the local beauty contest.

  • IMDb rating — 6.3

A Moment to Remember, 2004

Kim Su-jin breaks up with a man she’s been in a long relationship with, after she finds out he’s married. She is sure that she just can’t handle this betrayal until she meets Choi Chul-soo who dreams of becoming an architect. They fall in love with each other and get married and now Kim Su-jin is convinced that she will not have any more suffering in her life. But then she is diagnosed with a disease that makes her memories vanish.

  • IMDb rating — 8.2

6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain, 2017

In the past, Eric LeMarque was a famous hockey player and now, after his career is over, he often snowboards for fun. One day he decides to go snowboarding, ignoring the warnings of rescue teams about an upcoming storm. But once he goes downhill, he can’t find his way back because of the storm. So he decides to wait until morning and use his own tracks to get back home, but the tracks are gone. Eric is now surrounded by a snow desert and he has to fight nature in order to survive.

The film is based on a true story that happened to the hockey champion Eric LeMarque.

  • IMDb rating — 5.7

Have you seen any other truly powerful movies that made you cry when you watched them?

Preview photo credit Then came you / BCDF Pictures


I would add The Illusionist to the list.
In turn-of-the-century Vienna, a magician uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing.
I really enjoyed it.
Not a big fan of hard movies, but sometimes I feel that I want to watch something that will give me some food for thoughts.
Will watch Okuribito, seems like a very interesting film

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