It might be worth pointing out that the term "Woobie" perhaps was first used in the 1980's Michael Keaton movie Mr. Mom
. And incidentally, Kenny, the boy who owned the blanket he called "Woobie", was played by Taliesin Jaffe, who eventually grew up to write and direct numerous Superlative Anime Dubs
, including both TV and OVA versions of Hellsing
. Which means, yes, the boy with the Woobie wrote Jan Valentine's dialogue
As for movies with a character who is
... well, see the examples below.
The Dark Knight Saga
Even for an epic action-superhero film, this saga is not inmune to the woobies
The X-Men Film Series
- Rogue counts as one, especially in the first movie.
- Teenaged Cyclops in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Poor little guy. Awwwwwwww.
- X-Men: First Class:
- Charles, Raven, and especially Erik.
- Hank McCoy; he gets "outed" as a mutant in the most awkward way possible in front of his boss, is teased and disrespected by his fellow mutants even when his inventions help them improve their powers, loses his potential love interest when he can't accept her for her true appearance, and then accidentally enhances his mutation to the point where it becomes impossible for him to hide it!
- X-Men: Days of Future Past:
- Rodan from the Godzilla film series.
- Titanosaurus from Terror Of Mechagodzilla even more so.
- Joseph Brody in Godzilla (2014) - the guy had to manually lock down the Janjira facility with his wife inside, who had followed his suggestion to investigate the facility in the first place. He is overwhelmed with guilt by this, which costs him a stable relationship with his son, much of his sanity, and respect from the scientific community, leaving him to suffer fifteen years of bitter loneliness as he searches for the truth. And when it seems like he could actually save thousands of lives with the knowledge he's attained on the Muto, he dies.
- Some of Gerard Butler's character from the more recent films are this to SOME extent, even if just a little. ie: Gamer, P.S. I love you, The Ugly Truth, Law Abiding Citizen, heck even Stoick from How to Train Your Dragon was slightly woobie-ish when you try to see it from HIS point of view
- Not forgetting the Phantom of the Opera, whose murderous and possessive streak can be explained in that he was paraded as a freak show when he was a kid, and almost everyone has denied him genuine love. He even had a woobie song (which was ironically cut from the film) called "No One Would Listen". Awww.
- Winslow Leach in Phantom of the Paradise. Sweet and woefully na´ve, not only is his precious cantata stolen, but he's also beaten up, framed and sent to life imprisonment, has his teeth extracted, his face mangled by a record press, signs away his soul unwittingly, endures his cantata being mangled by a mediocre pop band, is rejected by his love and loses her to his nemesis, and unsuccessfully tries to kill himself. Then he dies, sacrificing himself for his love.
- Amazingly, Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th is often seen as one. The kid was born disfigured, drowned by bullies, watched his mother killed, and just wants to be left alone. True, he does this by killing anybody who disturbs him, but 90% of Friday the 13th fanfiction involves him being reformed by somebody's Mary Sue.
- Played up intentionally in Freddy vs. Jason. Amazingly, it works. You just want to give the big guy a huge when you see what Freddy does to him.
- Marky from Harry Brown is pretty close to being The Woobie. While he is admittedly a bit of a dick, it seems to be mostly an attempt to blend in with the other chavs, who are far more inclined to savagery than he seems to be. Considering that he gets sexually abused by his uncle, kidnapped and tortured by Harry and then used as bait by Harry before getting shot in the head by one of his own mates, it's hard not to feel at least a little bit sorry for him.
- Cillian Murphy's character from Inception. You will cry when you see him crying over his dying father's accepting last words in Dream Level Three, which is all he ever really wanted. However, since it's quite literally All Just a Dream, he may or may not have gotten that acceptance after all and it may have only been a projection of what he wished his father's final words have been. Poor guy...
- Dom Cobb. I mean, holy crap look at what that poor guy went through. His wife committed suicide because he incepted her into believing the world wasn't real and they needed to wake up, only she was so insane she ended up framing him for murder so he would die with her so they could be together, and thus he has to flee the country and leave his kids behind. Plus the fact that the closest thing the movie has to a real villain is his projection of his own guilt in the form of his wife constantly sabotaging his missions makes it even worse.
- The two leads from Billy Wilder's The Apartment, but most especially C.C. Baxter. He's the sweetest, most good-natured guy you've ever seen (played by Jack Lemmon, natch), and he spends 120 minutes getting kicked around by nearly everyone, but is always there to clean up, put things in order, and even cover up for them when the neighbors complain. The last five minutes or so might make this a case of Earn Your Happy Ending, but for the previous 120 minutes it's a Crapsack World and you mostly just want to give the poor guy a hug. Also sorely in need of a hug is Fran Kubelik, the heroine, who spends half the film wandering around with tears in her eyes and even attempts suicide.
- Terri, who comes across as both cute and sad in her desperation for what essentially amounts to friendship and/or love, from Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth.
- Rosencrantz from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He goes throughout the movie totally confused as to what the heck is going on. He is being manipulated by forces he cannot understand and keeps having his inventions and scientific breakthroughs torn down by the only person who cares for him. He doesn't do anything wrong and yet his fate is already sealed. This troper couldn't watch the scene where Guildenstern makes him cry without wanting to give Rosencrantz a big hug. Yes, ladies and gentleman, Gary Oldman, is playing a woobie, and oh so well.
- Rudy from Horton Hears a Who!. It's really must suck being stuck to a Jerk Ass mother.
- Tron and Quorra in TRON: Legacy. Tron got rectified into becoming The Dragon for Big Bad Clu. Quorra is the last of her kind, an breed of emergent AIs who were deemed "imperfect" by Clu and dealt with. Kevin Flynn rescued her from one of Clu's extermination squads.
- Heck, Kevin Flynn too. All he wanted to do was help improve/make a better world, but ends up trapped in it for what was essentially thousands of years, while his old partner-program Clu took over and majestically buggered up Flynn's work. To make it even worse, he thought TRON died helping him escape, and was stuck with the knowledge that he'd probably never see his son again.
- Mr. Tumnus in the movie of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He was plenty of one in the book, but the movie really ramps it up with James McAvoy's performance. There's also the matter of an added scene in which he meets Edmund in the White Witch's prison and it's made rather clear that he's being starved and beaten. Even then, his only concern is that Lucy is safe. Oh, and when the Witch gleefully tells him he's only there because Edmund ratted him out, the look on his face is heartbreaking.
- Even more so considering the Witch technically lies; Edmund had no idea he was turning Tumnus in, only mentioning his name as a side comment when exlpaining how he arrived in Narnia.
- George VI in The King's Speech. As he tells Lionel after the death of George V; the reason he stammers is because of an abusive nanny, an teasing older brother who was egged on by his father, the brother that he was closest to died young, and was forced to wear painful splints to treat his knock knees.
- Micky in The Fighter. He's the family's unfavorite, his mother mismanages his boxing career (even nearly getting him killed so his family can get paid), his crackhead brother is usually getting him into trouble, his ex-wife treats him like a failure and when he becomes happy by finding a new girlfriend, his family tries to take that away from him. This guy seriously needs a hug.
- Carla Jean Moss (Kelly Macdonald) in No Country for Old Men. That Anton Chigurh was able to just kill her like that shows how much of a monster he really is.
- Poor little Danny from Zathura.
- Alex Russo, in the first half of the Wizards of Waverly Place movie. Though she's usually a Jerk Ass throughout most of the series, it's easy to relate to her situation-she just wanted to go to a party, and just when it looks like she's about to finally make her mother change her mind, Theresa discovers Alex's plan, and fed up with her refusal to give up, grounds her for two months, which leads Alex to cast a spell that accidentally threatens her family's existence. The fact that Alex wanted to go to that party so badly but couldn't make amends does make you feel sorry for her. At the end of the movie after everything is resolved, she finally agrees to let Alex go for a little while, but Alex, having realized how important her family is, decides to stick with them, and the movie ends with the five family members together.
- Baby Doll from Sucker Punch. Just watch the first five minutes of the movie. Things go downhill and in the ending she finally reaches "enlightenment'' in the creepiest way possible. Lobotomized!
- Seita and his little sister Setsuko, in the animated film Grave of the Fireflies. The two young children, living in WWII Japan, lose their father to battle and their mother to the Kobe firebombings. Their aunt takes them in until, unable to scrounge enough food to feed them and her own children, she turns them out, and their problems really begin. Nothing good befalls those poor kids until after they both starve to death. Perhaps the worst aspect is that it's based on real events; the movie is an adaptation of a semi-autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka.
- Dr. Loomis from the Halloween series. Never mind that he is one of the few characters who doesn't get horribly murdered, does anything good ever happen to him? The final scene in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers cements his woobie status, making everyone watching the film want to wrap him in a big hug and tell him everything's going to be ok.
- Su-in from Dead Friend. Poor, poor Su-in.
- "Heroin" Bob from SLC Punk!. Although he doesn't get as much attention in the movie as Stevo, his story unfolds piece by piece until the end. When he and Stevo were kids, they were both geeks, getting picked on. However, while Stevo was from a fairly normal family, Bob had no mom and was living with his alchoholic, insane father. Later, he tries to visit his father for his birthday and brings him a present, but the old man chases him out with a gun, after not recognising his own son. After Bob falls in love with Trish, he admits to Stevo that he actually feels happy with her and he's willing to give the city they both hated for so long another chance. Finally, in the end he spills his guts to Stevo, saying he wants to marry Trish and revealing that all this time he's had doubts whether he's ever been a good son and if he hadn't let his father down. And to top it all, he dies the next morning. If that doesn't make you tear up and want to hug the guy, nothing will.
- In the first Christopher Reeve Superman film, Reeve manages to create a moving Woobie moment. It's when Clark Kent is at the Daily Planet elevators, having just been brushed off by Lois Lane, ignored by nearly everyone and treated rudely by the one person who does notice him. At that moment, Clark is a lonely nerd who can't seem to get a break. All the more powerful when you know that Lois' helicopter is about to crash and Clark's awesome moment as the Man of Steel is about to begin.
- Todd in Dead Poets Society could count — his parents prefer his older brother to him, he doesn't have the same confidence or self-assuredness that most of his friends seem to, and his best friend kills himself toward the end of the movie.. It helps that he's perpetually cute and vulnerable-looking. The scene when he's showing Neil the desk set that his parents gave him for his birthday two years in a row, probably because they just didn't care enough to give it more thought, cements both Todd's woobie status and Neil's as the best friend he could possibly have. Fortunately, he gets a good deal more confident and sure of himself by the end.
- Flipside of this being that as Todd becomes less of a woobie, Niel becomes more of one due to his relationship with his dad until the aformentioned suicide.
- Requiem for a Dream. Seriously, try to watch the final scene without wanting to give every character a big squishy hug.
- Lawrence Talbot, aka Universal Studios' The Wolfman (1941), is an early example. Poor guy gets bitten by a monster, catches The Virus, involuntarily kills a bunch of people, and gets beaten to death by his own father. And in the sequels, he escapes from the grave, learns he can't stay dead, kills his own Love Interest in a moon-mad rage, and spends most of the rest of the series as a fugitive from the law and/or the insane asylum, vainly seeking the means to commit suicide and/or destroy the wolf within. Definitely a guy in need of a hug.
- Loki from Thor. Sure, he's the villain and we're supposed to be rooting against him, but the fact that he constantly looks like he's about to cry and has spent his whole life trying to get out of the shadow of his big ( adoptive) brother and please his father doesn't help things.
- Alistair the llama from Open Season 3 is totally one of these.
- Tennessee from the live-action version of The Country Bears really seems to fit this trope, considering how depressed he is in the movie.
- Agatha from Minority Report. She was born to a heroin addict, and had the gift of precognition- specifically, she had visions of murders before they happened. Pretty bad, right? Well, then the government get wind of this, do all sorts of unmentioned -but implied to be nasty- experiments to her, and the precrime system is set up- meaning that she is forced to stay in a drugged stupor, wired to a machine having endless visions of murders so that the cops can use her premonitions to prevent crime. And when her mother tries to save Agatha from this? The head of precrime has her murdered to ensure Agatha stays a Forsaken Child, which thanks to her gift, means that she has to witness her mother's death and watch as everyone ignores it. When she's kidnapped/rescued from the facility, she's been left so unstable that she can barely tell the difference between the present and her precognitions.
- Who doesn't want to hug Kirk when he is forced to blow up the Enterprise in The Search for Spock? Or thought he was going to die in The Final Frontier?
- Or, for that matter, when he sees the Enterprise for the first time in The Motion Picture. The man's face just lights up.
- Why didn't you hug him when you could, Scotty?
- Both of the villains in The World Is Not Enough qualify to an extent. Renard the Anarchist is a brutal terrorist, yes, but he's also in the process of dying a horrible death (a bullet slowly migrating through his brain; he's already lost all sensation of both pleasure and pain), and he's completely an utterly in love. His scenes with his significant other are among the closest this series gets to being totally heartwarming. His partner in crime, and the aforementioned significant other, Elektra King, meanwhile, was kidnapped by terrorists as a teenager (with there almost certainly being a sexual aspect to her captivity) to extort money from her oil-baron father. You know what he does? He leaves her there. You know who told him to leave her there? The frigging Big Good. Fortunately for her, Renard was one of the terrorists, they fell in love, and he helped her escape. It's thus easy to see why they plan to nuke Istanbul, cutting off the main center of the petroleum trade between East and West, allowing Renard to go out with a bang and Elektra to corner the oil market as a final post-mortem (Renard saw to that earlier) one-finger salute to Daddy Dearest. Unfortunately, they still have to die; they are plotting to kill millions, after all.
- Jim Prideaux, in the eyes of the Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy fandom. Being shot in the back, captured, and tortured would be quite bad enough, but the true extent of his woobiness falls into place at the end of the movie. The Mole turns out to be Jim's best friend, former partner, and possible ex-boyfriend. And Jim kills him.
- And Peter Guillam, at least in the movie. When Smiley tells him to clean up any loose end of his own that might get him in trouble, Guillam goes home and breaks up with his boyfriend - because that was still illegal in mid-70's Britain. Watching Guillam break down in tears as the man leaves is just heartbreaking. The whole scene serves little purpose beyond reinforcing a theme: be a secret agent, and your life will be depressing as hell.