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Tear Jerker / Into the Wild

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"What if I were smiling... and running into your arms... would you see then... what I see now."
Christopher Johnson McCandless

  • Chris' slow and painful death.
    • The entire movie could be considered a Tear Jerker, just knowing that Chris will never see his family, friends, nor the people he helped again is enough to make you shed a tear.
  • His all-too-late realization that he wants to return to his friends and family, but the thawed stream prevents him from leaving. His last thoughts, too, are about his family, making him, in the end, a naive young guy who wanted to go home.
  • Long after losing contact with him, Chris' mother woke with a start one night, thinking she'd heard her son call out for help. Years later, when Chris' body was eventually found and his time of death estimated, she did the math and swears it was the very same night. In the film it shows her waking up and simply starting to cry.
  • After several months have gone by, the realization hits Carine that the lack of communication from Chris indicates that he wasn't just cutting off contact with their parents (which she would have understood given their difficult childhood), but with her, too.
  • After accidentally eating the poisonous berries and falling sick, Chris cries and screams in pain as he realizes that he isn't going to survive much longer.
    • The accompanying soundtrack makes the scene more powerful and gearing towards Nightmare Fuel.
  • Chris' goodbye to Ron Franz, the last person he spends time with before his death.
    • Ron Franz offers to adopt Chris as a grandson as he has nobody else and is essentially the last living member of his family. But Chris brushes it off and promises to discuss this when he returns from Alaska. This alone is heartbreaking as we all know what will happen to the latter later on.
    • The look on Franz's face as Chris walks off is a Tear Jerker in itself. He knows that Chris is unlikely to return from Alaska. The book further elaborates that as a devout Christian, Franz spent his days praying for Chris' safe return. Later he denounced his faith when he heard about Chris' death and went back to drinking for the first time after he sobered up.
  • The ending.