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Tear Jerker: Les Misérables (2012)

  • Hugh Jackman literally sobbing his way through "Valjean's Soliloquy"is perhaps the first big waterworks moment in a movie filled with them. "I am reaching, but I fall..." *sniffle*
  • The end of "Lovely Ladies". The way Anne Hathaway sings the final lines ("Don't they know they're making love to one already dead?") and the look on her face as she goes through with it is heartwrenching.
  • Nothing more needs to be said about Anne Hathaway's performance of "I Dreamed A Dream".
  • When Valjean finds Fantine, she is reduced to an almost animal-like state (the same way the Bishop found him), snarls contempt and spits at his face. Finally, she weakly raises her arms to protect herself as if ready to be hit again. Instead he carries her in his arms and vows to bring her daughter Cosette to her.
  • Fantine's death, even sadder than in the stage musical. As she is dying, Fantine imagines that Cosette is in the room with her and we have these lines as she imagines Cosette disappearing.
    Valjean: Dear Fantine, Cosette will be here soon
    Dear Fantine, she will be by your side.
    Fantine: Come, Cosette, my child, where did you go?
    Valjean: (shushes her, trying to calm her down) Be at peace
    Be at peace evermore.
    • What really does it in is Valjean hugging her when he sings, "Be at peace, be at peace evermore."
  • Watch Éponine's face during "A Heart Full of Love" as she becomes more and crushed and heartbroken and at some points appears to be in or near tears. He is so happy when he takes Cosette's handkerchief. In contrast, Eponine can't bear to look.
  • "On my Own", which rivals "I Dreamed A Dream".
  • The expressions on everyone's faces when Marius threatens to blow up the barricade, as if they all just realised how soon this could all be over. Enjolras, ever the stoic leader, looks genuinely scared, and when he takes the torch away from Marius after the soldiers retreat, it sounds like he's just started breathing again. Courfeyrac's quiet "Christ..." is especially gutwrenching when you remember just how close he and Marius are in the novel. The slightly-mad look in Marius's eyes is the eyes of a man who has nothing to lose any more.
  • The abridged "A Little Fall of Rain" is somehow sadder than the original. The music is just a few bars on piano and Eponine's voice is almost down to a whisper. It sounds like a sad lullaby.
    • Marius to Eponine, realizing she's been hurt.
      "...what have you done?"
    • After the song, we cut to a wide shot to see the bodies of other students, cradled in the arms of their friends.
  • Gavroche's death:
    • All the students scream at him to come back behind the barricade. He keeps retrieving ammo anyway.
    • And immediately afterwards, Courfeyrac running out into the open to retrieve the body, heedless of the very real possibility that he'll be shot down too, and sobbing the entire time.
    • Hell, Courfeyrac almost killing himself to get over the barricade to *stop* Gavroche; the students literally have to wrestle him down.
    • Combeferre in that scene. When he realizes what Gavroche is up to, he doesn't yell, he whispers so he doesn't alert Courfeyrac— and then Courfeyrac sees and literally lunges over the top of the barricade only to be dragged back by Combeferre. And the way Combeferre holds onto a sobbing Courfeyrac later...
  • One of the soldiers shooting at Gavroche laughs while he's doing it. Bastard. But then when Gavroche is shot, the commanding officer looks horrified, and even lets the boy's body be collected without firing.
  • As the students realize they are outnumbered and close to defeat, they bang on the doors of the Parisians and beg to be let inside, but they only close their windows and let the boys get shot.
    • Just the brutality of that scene in general. From the moment the army break out the cannons, the students start dropping like flies while desperately fighting with everything they have (even throwing bottles) until only Enjolras, Courfeyrac, Combeferre and Joly are left alive on the upper floor... and then the army shoot them through the floor and all of them except Enjolras drop dead.
    • One Tumblr post did a rough calculation of the entry angles of the bullets, and concluded that the boys wouldn't have died instantly. Gentle, sweet Combeferre, who's a medical student would have been forced to watch his closest friends dying in horrendous pain and be unable to help them. And one of Enjolras' last views would have been his friends slowly dying on the floor.
    • Killian Donnelly's little whimper just before the guns go off DOES NOT HELP.
  • Enjolras is backed against the upper window of the Cafe Musain, having just watched all of his friends die. Then Grantaire (who could easily have abandoned them all) walks in and takes his place next to Enjolras. The two get gunned down together. Doubles as a shout-out to the book.
    • In the ending, they are standing side by side, just like how they died.
  • A combination of blink-and-you'll-miss-it and Tom Hooper's use of Back Story Horror in regards to Enjolras' death. The Army Officer basically was forced to murder his own best friend.
    • Made even more horrible by the realization that Hadley Fraser (who plays the officer) also played Grantaire in the 25th anniversary performance of Les Mis. Now think of Grantaire being forced to murder Enjolras.
    • There's a brief shot of him openly crying.
  • Javert walking among the bodies of those killed at the barricade. The soldiers who fought and died defeating the revolutionaries have all been left where they fell, scattered around and on top of each other. The revolutionaries are neatly laid out, side by side.
    • Also, Éponine and Gavroche lying side-by-side.
      • And the fact that nobody closed Gavroche's eyes.
    • Then he takes his medal and places it on Gavroche's body, acknowledging the boy's bravery.
      • As the melody of 'Bring Him Home' plays softly in the background. "He's like the son I might have known / If God had granted me a son..."
  • Javert's death in the film is horrifying, because at the point where he jumps, there's a series of three man-made waterfalls in the river, and punctuating the orchestral accompaniment is the sickening crack! of his body as it hits the rock or wall over the falls. This was about the point where tearing up became full-on heartbroken sobbing.
    • Say whatever you want about Russell Crowe's performance as Javert but watching at the beginning of "Javert's Suicide", you could clearly see tears in his eyes as he walks towards the bridge, contemplating whether he should arrest the ex-convict who saved him before. He jumps off.
    • And even without that, just Javert's internal dilemma. He was after a man for so long, a man who had broken the law, a man who had to be punished...and a man that saved his life. He literally couldn't get his mind around that, a man that could've shot him and walked away without consequence, yet refused to do so, followed by Javert's own failure to shoot Valjean as he left to take Marius to the hospital. His entire life has been dedicated to unwavering enforcement of the law, and now his own conscience betrays him, lets the criminal slip from his clutches, and he can't bring himself to resume chase, as he knows he has failed. So he takes the only other option available. Few better examples of Alas, Poor Villain.
    • The way he falls into the Seine... it's not a jump, but like a statue toppling over. Even at his final moment, he is still a statue, an implacable, rigid creature of the law.
  • The ladies of Paris quietly cleaning the blood from the streets after the revolution, whispering, completely stunned, as they realize that all these men they watched die for their beliefs had once been little children, cradled and comforted by their mothers.
  • "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables". All of it.
  • The "A Heart Full Of Love" reprise where Cosette sings "We'll be together everyday" and she looks at Valjean, not knowing he's leaving her.
  • Valjean leaving near the end of the movie to ensure that Cosette is not disgraced by her adoptive father's past. He stops to lift his trunk into the carriage but stumbles, and has to sit down to rest. Compare him now to the man who was able to lift a carriage off a man. It's a sign of how old he's become, and it's heartbreaking.
    • And Cosette's reaction to her father's departure, sung to the tune of "Suddenly":
    Where's he gone
    Without a word?
    That wouldn't be his way to go
    Why so sudden?
    Why so strange?
    Did he say how long he'll be gone?

    He can't leave us now
    Oh, how he breaks my heart...
    • A minor tearjerker related to this, Cosette looking sadly out the window at her wedding, as if she's waiting for Valjean to turn up. After all, who wouldn't be sad to not have their father at their wedding?
  • Valjean's death, of course, but doubly so as instead of Fantine and Eponine appearing to take Valjean to heaven, the film has Fantine and the Bishop of Digne... who's played by Colm Wilkinson, the original Valjean.
    • If Cosette tearfully pleading her father not to die doesn't make you weep, nothing will.
    You will live, Papa, you're going to live! It's too soon, too soon to say goodbye...
    • "Its the story of one who turned from hating. A man who only learned to love when you were in his keeping."
  • At the start of "Do You Hear the People Sing (Reprise)", do you see Marius's gaze shifting briefly into a Thousand-Yard Stare as he was hugging Cosette? That's because, according to Word of God, he can hear them singing in his ears. That's right. Marius Pontmercy, sole survivor of the barricade, is one foot in the real world, the other in the afterlife with his dead friends.
    • Cosette can hear them, too. "Do You Hear The People Sing?" takes on a whole new meaning.
  • The finale of course, where everyone who died sings together on a giant barricade.