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Tear Jerker / Interstellar

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All he wanted was to come back to his children...
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  • There's really no better indicator of just how bad things are that the Moon landing has been dismissed as "propaganda" just to keep children from aspiring to something greater. You really can't blame Cooper for his reaction, or Murph's for that matter.
  • Murph's and Cooper's last conversation before he leaves on the Endurance.
    • Soon after, Cooper tearfully drives away from his family home, possibly never to return, after his daughter begs him to stay, to the sound of TARS counting down to ignition.
    • And later, Coop's breakdown as he watches their last conversation play out through the tesseract, with him pleading with Murph to not let him go.
      Cooper: Make him stay, Murph. Don't let me leave, Murph! (sobs) Don't let me leave, Murph!!!
  • "How many years?" "23 years, 4 months, 8 days."
    • Cooper watching all of his family's video messages over this time period - having to watch his son Tom grow to be a man and have two sons of his own from a distance; it also worsens when Tom offhandedly remarks that his first son died when saying they buried Donald in the backyard, and that he's letting go of Cooper. Murph, in nearly that entire timespan, never sends a message. She finally does at age 35, and it is heartwrenching. Honestly, seeing the typically cool and composed Matthew McConaughey bursting into sobs at this point is enough to make you lose control, yourself.
      • Cooper gains a grandson, and then loses that same grandson, all within the span of 30 seconds. Just let that sink in for a minute.
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    • If they gave Oscars for Best Performance in a Single Scene, he'd win it. Hands down.
    • And within the same vein, Romilly—who stays behind while the rest of the crew goes down to Miller's planet—is awake when the other astronauts return from the planet. He explains that he occasionally used hypersleep to make time pass more quickly while waiting for them, but after 23 years, he had given up hope that they would ever return. Doubles as And I Must Scream - he spent that time completely alone with only TARS as company, trapped within a ship floating light-years away from any sort of human life, with little hope of ever having human contact again.
      • This is all the more compounded when he learns from Brand once she finally gets back that there was nothing for them on Miller's planet. Imagine waiting 23 years only to be told it was ultimately a waste.
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    • Brand realizing Dr. Miller, who first reached the water planet, had to have been killed from a tsunami mere minutes before she and the team first landed on the surface after taking Time Dilation into account.
  • Seeing how, for all the good he does for the human race, Cooper leaving his children to go into space (keep in mind, these are two kids that had already lost their mother to brain cancer) leaves both kids really messed up in adulthood.
  • The deaths of Doyle and Romilly. The first is used to showcase the Anyone Can Die mentality for the rest of the film (as well as the consequences of the team misunderstanding how to properly approach Miller's planet). The latter is just a sad casualty caused by Mann's machinations.
  • When Professor Brand confesses to Murph that the equation to escape Earth's gravity en masse is impossible without data from a black hole, and he's known that for decades. He goes as far as ask her for forgiveness and recites his Madness Mantra as his final words.
    • Murph's message to Amelia Brand informing her of her father's death starts perfunctory, but she soon breaks down, demanding to know if Cooper knowingly abandoned her to die with the rest of humanity.
  • Tom becomes deeply jaded, almost to the point of nihilism, as a result of losing his firstborn son and with the Blight getting even worse, and thus, he refuses to leave his home even when his family is clearly suffering from dust congestion. It gets to the point that he actually punches a doctor for checking on his younger son. When Murph tries to convince him to take his family and evacuate, he bitterly tells her to leave and never come back.
    • Fortunately, he and Murph do reconcile after she figures out Brand's equation, he survives to old age, and it's implied that his family gets a happy future.
  • The fact that the very first thing we see Mann do after Coop and Co. wake him up...is burst into Tears of Joy. Especially as it's pretty darn easy to guess his reasons.
    Mann: Pray you never learn just how good it can be to see another face....
  • Just think of things from Mann's point of view for a moment. You're sent where No Man Has Gone Before as one of the best and the brightest, convinced you're going to save the human race. Then from that high you land on a planet and find pretty much immediately that it's unsuitable for habitation. You're stuck for years upon years upon years on this icy world with its icy clouds hanging overhead, that's freezing in the day and even more freezing at night, confined to the breathable air in your habitat and spacesuit, knowing that if you just succumbed to temptation and sent out a false success signal, at least you wouldn't die alone with only a blank-faced robot for company. Is it so surprising he crossed the Despair Event Horizon? And then he still dies anyway.
  • Right before Romilly dies in an explosion, TARS can be heard shouting for him to step back, and when Cooper and the others arrive to pick TARS up, he tells them how Rom didn't make it, with very clear guilt in his voice at not being able to save him. This is made all the more poignant when you remember that TARS was originally a military robot typically deployed alongside marines, and just like any good soldier he cares deeply for his squadmates.
  • Seeing Cooper's reactions as he sees the goal of reuniting with his kids draw away further and further out of reach, reaching its peak when he ends up in the black hole and the tesseract, and shouts and cries in futility as he sees his past self leaving his daughter.
  • "You were my ghost..."
  • Cooper reuniting with Murph when she's an old woman on her deathbed. It's also heartwarming, considering that he's managed to fulfill his promise of returning home to her.
    Murph: People didn't believe, but I knew you'd come back.
    Cooper: How?
    Murph: Because my dad promised me...
  • Murph telling Cooper that no one should ever have to watch their child die (even as a result of old age, thanks to Cooper's too-close approach to a black hole), as she passes away near the end of the film. Murph's death is the only permanent death of a major character that occurs offscreen, because Cooper honors her request.
  • Brand, all alone on Edmunds's planet, right after she's made a grave for him (the ID on the grave indicates that she found his corpse), and left to reconstruct a colony all by herself and CASE while believing that the humans on Earth are doomed.
    • Though this hopefully ends up subverted, since after reuniting with his aged daughter, Cooper and TARS take a ship to find Brand and make sure she's not alone. Oh, and they'll probably tell her that her father's equation wasn't useless and formed the first half of the plan that eventually saved the humans on Earth. This is made even more poignant with old Murph's dialogue in the end.

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