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Tear Jerker / Hereditary

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WARNING: per wiki policy, spoilers are unmarked on Tear Jerker pages.

  • Charlie's horrific death and Annie's devastating reaction to discovering her headless corpse in the back of the car.
    • The scene immediately afterwards, with Annie in complete hysterics in her bedroom, is one of the most agonizing scenes ever put to film. The camera slowly panning over to Peter listening in the hallway makes it that much worse.
    • Peter's numbness right after Charlie's death. He already knew she was dead but didn't want to believe it, maybe even having heard her head smashed off her neck (as he later heard his mother's head fall off) or seeing it in the corner of the rearview mirror. He doesn't dare look back, already knowing she's already dead but not wanting to make it real, finally works up the courage to call out to her as if hoping he'll hear her voice and that'll make her okay again, and eventually cries in silence and drives home alone with her little body in the blood-soaked backseat. The ending of the movie has him thinking things are so nightmarish that he must be asleep and trying to wake up, which is probably what is happening in this scene too with him quietly going to bed and unable to sleep - and then he hears his mother's screams and knows it's real and there's no going back to his old life, ever again. He drove out with his little sister and brought their parents home a headless corpse, all because of a few stupid, simple mistakes that happened so quick, all because he was an annoyed older brother and wasn't paying closer attention. How could a teenager possibly handle something like that?
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    • The worst part about it is when you take into account that while Peter was apprehensive about watching Charlie, he more or less didn't have a problem with her being there, considering their brotherly sister bond. He seemed just as annoyed as Charlie over Annie forcing Charlie to go with him despite Charlie making it clear she didn't want to go.
  • The subsequent effect Charlie's death has on Peter. He has a painful physical reaction at school and he basically walks around with guilt for the rest of the movie.
    • At one point, he pleads with his friends to hold his hand as he grimaces in pain and fights back tears. Incredibly sad. Even worse because his friends are laughing, joking, and not paying any attention to him up until it happened, despite Peter's obvious agony. It's implied that no one at school knows what happened and Peter can't bring himself to tell them, making him even more lonely and isolated.
    • In a deleted scene, Peter tearfully rants about how he's "worthless", repeatedly wishing for death and apologizing as Steve consoles him. Cut to Annie listening in bed, who sobs "I'm sorry."
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  • Annie's description of her terrible past. She's not a great mom but damn, she's dealing with so much and she is actually genuinely trying.
  • Annie tells Peter that she never wanted him. Still, despite all of her agony, she tries to tell him that she always loved him and was glad she didn't succeed in miscarrying.
  • The argument at the dinner table between Annie and Peter regarding Charlie's death and both attempting to pin the blame on one another for what happened. What makes the dinner scene so heartbreaking is the fact both know they are at fault, but they're hurt that the other doesn't want to admit they both fucked up leading to Charlie's death. Annie lets it clear she's emotionally broken and stressed from the death of her daughter and lashes out at Peter for the cause of it... And then Peter asks her quite bluntly why did she still force Charlie to go to the party if she made it clear she didn't want to go.
    Peter: What about you, mom? She didn't wanna go to the why was she there?
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  • During the seance scene where Charlie possesses Annie and begins calling out to her family. This is the first time Charlie has ever been able to speak and act as herself without Paimon's influence. Not only that but she's understandably terrified and calls out to Peter for comfort and safety, showing that, in reality, she's just an innocent and scared 13 year old girl.
  • Steve's breakdown in his car while bringing Peter home, where he finally begins to sob. Considering we've spent half of the movie seeing Steve as a very calm if stern man, seeing him break down at how far his family is collapsing within itself is heartbreaking.
  • When Peter is heading up to the treehouse, we get a shot of the dog's corpse... And Peter doesn't even notice it. At least we don't get to see how the poor pet was murdered.
  • The endgame reveals that most, if not all, of the horrible things that happened to the Grahams were a result of sinister forces, some within their own family, that desired worldly riches. Mental illness also contributed, but ultimately what happened to the family, up to and including the death of their child, resulted simply from human greed and wickedness.
  • Charlie at the party. She doesn't want to be there, doesn't know anyone other than her brother, and doesn't want him to leave her alone. He tells her to go eat some of the cake to occupy her, not realizing nuts were added to it (even harsher when it's shown before this that her parents check with her often to make sure her snacks are nut-free - and of course Peter didn't check, because he's just a kid himself and not thinking as a parent), and she does, starting to slowly breathe harder and choking slowly on air right there on the couch in the middle of a crowded room of a dozen strangers who don't seem to be paying any attention to the 13-year-old. Even when she finally goes to Peter for help, it takes him a bit to realize what's wrong and he's clearly panicking when he does - trying desperately to help save her but getting her killed in a split second with a sudden swerve away from roadkill. It's heartwrenching to watch a little kid suffering like that without immediate help, especially if you have siblings or know someone as introverted as Charlie.


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