Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Ghostbusters (2016)

Go To

Even though the film is a comedy, there are still some tears to be shed.

  • Erin's backstory. As a child, she was haunted by a ghost who would appear to her every night for a year. She went to therapy for years, but her parents believed she was lying. Eventually, her peers at school learned of it, and began bullying her relentlessly with the moniker "Ghost Girl". This persisted into high school, where even after she met Abby, she was not invited to any social functions and the two were routinely harassed with thrown food. When Erin relates this to Patty and Holtzmann, she grows very quiet despite her attempts at laughing it off.
  • Advertisement:
  • In the present day, she's desperate to be seen as normal, and mentions she's kissed a lot of ass to get where she is now. She's seen trying her hardest to meet Filmore's absurdly high standards (Princeton isn't prestigious to this guy), and ultimately when the video of her surfaces, he coldly fires her from Colombia. She's forced to walk out of the university, seemingly meeting every student and colleague on the way to bear witness to her humiliation.
  • Erin's deleted subplot in which she breaks up with her boyfriend Phil is pretty depressing. In their first scene, Erin kisses him, but Phil is visibly uncomfortable and clearly would've preferred it not to happen. While this could be passed off as one not being a fan of public displays of affection, the next time she tries to do so, he clearly moves out of the way so she awkwardly misses. Phil clearly sees Erin as little more than a trophy wife, the way he introduces her to some stuffy colleague and makes little comments to chip away at Erin's confidence. When she's being fired from Colombia, she tries to talk to him, but he outright turns around and looks at the wall even when she directly addresses him.
  • Advertisement:
  • Despite Abby having stuck with her during their younger years, Erin eventually disowned her and their work. In the Extended Cut, we get the lovely video of Abby's interview with a condescending podcast runner, with Abby dejectedly looking around waiting for Erin to show up, only for her to never do so. It's understandable why Abby is very hostile to Erin when they reunite at the beginning of the film.
  • Rowan has been bullied all of his life similarly to the team, only he had no support system or loyal friends, and devolved into a bitter, lonely Misanthrope Supreme. Some waitresses at a diner are seen arguing over who has to go and serve him.
  • The crew is brought before the mayor and his assistant Jennifer Lynch. Though they and some government agents admit they know of the paranormal activity across the city, they insist they must publicly denounce the Ghostbusters as frauds, and appropriately dress the team down and insist the government do its work. The team didn't come off as bad from this as they could've (the government could've stripped them of their equipment, for one), but Erin is still visibly hurt. Hence why Holtzmann lets her go first at a weapons test later in the day.
  • Advertisement:
  • In the Extended Cut, after Rowan dies, Jennifer returns and once again publicly denounces the team after privately thanking them. The Ecto-1 is towed, and the girls are fake-arrested. Once on the street, an annoying blogger confronts Erin and says he's interviewed people back where she grew up, and calls her "Ghost Girl". Erin tries to attack him, only for the blogger to call her a freak, and earns a well-placed punch to the face from Erin. Unfortunately, the altercation goes viral, and the deans of both Colombia and the Higgins Institute go on TV to humiliate Erin further. Erin also sees her story in the paper, and goes home to mourn alone. Holtzmann, who had been trying to cheer her up, is visibly dismayed.
  • In one cut of the film, Erin would've returned to Colombia and approached Filmore with her findings. Filmore would've appeared impressed and offered Erin a tenure position again... only for security guards to arrive. Filmore was just stalling till they got there, and Erin is forcibly removed from Colombia, her hopes having been gotten up for nothing.
  • Possessed! Abby grabs Holtzmann by the neck and nearly throws her out the window to her death. It's one of the few times Holtzmann is understandably not her usual self in the film.
  • Rowan is able to grab Abby on his way into the portal, after Abby had shoved Erin out of the way. Erin responds by jumping in after them into the portal, leaving Holtzmann visibly distraught to lose her best friend the woman she has feelings for. When Erin catches up to Abby, Rowan is just grinning evilly, clearly happy that he's taking Abby with him. Abby looks appropriately terrified, clearly knowing she's about to die before Erin arrives. Erin is able to force Rowan off of Abby, and the two embrace, and both look like they believe they're about to die, before Patty and Holtzmann are able to rescue them.
  • In the bar, Holtzmann grows uncharacteristically emotional and her speech becomes stilted and heavy, as she thanks the group for becoming her family after living without one her entire life. The fact that Holtzmann is a lesbian STEM student probably has something to do with why she'd been denied a stable family unit her entire life.
  • A minor example occurs during an alternate take of the Rebecca Gorin scene. Gorin is introduced to Abby and Erin, and Holtzmann excitedly declares that she and Erin are dating. Erin visibly panics, and instead claims she's dating Kevin. Holtzmann looks visibly disappointed and stutters over her next few sentences.


  • A bust of the late Harold Ramis appears early in the film, shortly after Dean Filmore leaves Erin's office after discussing her tenure. The film itself contains a dedication to Ramis towards the end of the credits.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: