Follow TV Tropes

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

Following

Tear Jerker / Pocahontas

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/john_smith.png
Advertisement:
  • If there's one thing Disney is notorious for, it's for being good at getting viewers to cry but even then, Pocahontas is easily one of their most tearjerking movies yet.
  • Kocoum's death. Just look at his face when he's struggling with John over the knife. He genuinely looks heartbroken over seeing his future wife stab him in the back, and just as it looks like he's starting to calm down, he gets shot.
    • The way Pocahontas first says "you killed him". Despite that she didn't reciprocate Kocoum's feelings for her, she did seem to care for him at some point, as the tone in her voice sounds as though she can barely believe that the man who was going to be her husband has just been shot dead.
    • Thomas also stammers "I thought that...", realizing that for all Ratcliffe's attempts to dehumanize the Powhatans as savages, the person he just killed was a human the same as him. The shocked and horrified expression on his face further implicates that even he can't seem to believe what he has done even as the reality sets in.
    • During the the fight between Kocoum and John, Pocahontas tries to pull Kocoum off and he actually knocks her away with enough force that she falls to the ground. He was so consumed by rage that he didn't care about hitting his future wife, and possibly he meant for it to hurt (maybe even viewing her as a 'race traitor' who betrayed him). It brings to mind darker implications of what their married life would have been like.
  • Advertisement:
  • Before the fight between Kocoum and John Smith, Nakoma, worried for Pocahontas' safety, decides to send Kocoum after her. It's not out of selfish intentions, but Nakoma doesn't know John Smith and sincerely believes that he may hurt Pocahontas. During said scene, Kocoum at first is sharpening a knife and then Nakoma tells him that Pocahontas may be in danger. The desperation in his voice is noticeable when he asks: "What's wrong? Is she alright?" He's truly worried about her because he cares deeply for Pocahontas. It makes the fight between him and John Smith even more tragic because at this moment, he's being genuine about his feelings and concern for Pocahontas' well-being and what does he find? His future wife kissing another man. It's no wonder he became enraged. This just makes his death even sadder.
  • Advertisement:
  • During the song "Just Around The Riverbend," Pocahontas asks herself if she should marry Kocoum and sees a reflection of herself in which he offers her his hand in a gentle manner with an expression on his face that could be read as sincere warmth. Pocahontas can't take his hand, and he disappears with a sad look on his face. If that doesn't make you cry, then his death certainly did.
  • This tribute is not for those who want to sleep with a dry pillow tonight.
  • Whatever else you say about Pocahontas, don't try and pretend that the final two minutes don't bring a tear to your eye... the music, the animation, the silent goodbye... Nakoma's tears as well. Fridge Brilliance sets in when you realize she's probably feeling incredibly guilty since she is partially responsible. Seeing her moved to tears over her best friend's plight...
  • When Pocahontas goes to see John Smith the night before his execution; made even better (read: more-likely-to-make-you-cry) in the cut sequence by the beautiful rendition of "If I Never Knew You" performed by Mel Gibson and Judy Kuhn.
  • Also, Pocahontas' heartfelt speech as she defies her father to save John Smith's life.
    Pocahontas: Look around you! THIS is where the path of hatred has brought us!
    • While awesome and heartwarming that she would do such a thing to save the man she loves, there is a sad element to her speech as well. She's appealing to him as a daughter, literally begging him not to do this. She has seen death once, and she'd rather die herself than have to see it again.
    • She's also very likely dealing with a Broken Pedestal. She loves and admires her father, viewing him as a Reasonable Authority Figure. In fact, she immediately believes that if she introduces John to her father, then the conflict will stop at once. Now she sees him about to execute an innocent man - and one she also loves at that. If you think about it, if the execution goes ahead, she'll hate him both for that and the horrors that will inevitably follow. She's begging her father not to give her a reason to hate him, because she loves him that much.
  • The song "If I Never Knew You". C'mon, admit it. You get choked up at the scene in the tent, too.
    • The ending, but special mention goes to the original rough edit. A reprise of "If I Never Knew You" is present, John looks like he's on death's door, and both of their expressions are heartrendingly broken. The 10th Anniversary Edition restored two lines of this reprise. Combines with heartwarming, but John Smith's brave, stoic, but utterly sincere declaration: "Pocahontas. Look at me." (She does). "I'd rather die tomorrow, than live a hundred years without knowing you."
    • The song's final reprise in the end credits is enough to restart the tears, and it is a hauntingly somber tune.
  • Thomas' My God, What Have I Done? expression during Savages. He's basically started a war because he wanted to save his friend and captain, has taken a man's life, and is literally starting to see needless carnage, and it's all his fault. Speaking of which, the song itself is sad. That the two sides just instantly choose to go to war rather than trying to understand each other, and all because one of the Indians was supposedly killed by John for merely being NEAR Pocahontas. The worst part is with the settlers, who are just INSTANTLY whipped up into a frenzy by their xenophobic leader.
  • It's Played for Laughs, but Ratcliffe's manservant Wiggins is clearly devastated after Ratcliffe shows his true colors and is arrested for shooting John Smith. Given that Ratcliffe was his boss whom he seemed to be comically attached to, Wiggins is most likely out of a job and very discombobulated about the whole situation.
  • After Kocoum's body is brought back to the village, there's a shot of Nakoma's reaction. She has a horrified My God, What Have I Done? look on her face as she realizes she's responsible for it.
  • Pocahontas completely goes to pieces after Kocoum's death, her father's harsh scolding, and John's death sentence. She thinks there's literally nothing she can do except sit in front of Grandmother Willow and wail "I feel so lost". To hear such a strong and passionate girl break down like that...
  • The beginning of the film can be quite tearful as Thomas is saying his farewells to his mother, father and younger sister, and it is implied he may never see his family again for at least a long time.
  • As well as being Nightmare Fuel, the voyage across the Atlantic can be tearful because the crew are in great danger on facing death especially how it was common in those days for sailing ships to easily sink in huge storms. And had it not been for John Smith acting reckless to save Thomas who fell overboard, the latter would had drowned.
  • Powhatan's anger towards Pocahontas when he discovered that Kocoum had been killed. As well as him scolding her because she disobeyed him by leaving the village, which indirectly lead to Kocoum's death. It is strongly implied he saw her as a traitor for this, and disowned and presumably exiled her from the tribe, until the end of the film.
Top