Follow TV Tropes

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


Tear Jerker / Shrek

Go To
Every fairy tale has a humble beginning and a sweet ending, and Shrek is no different. But sad moments like these still exist during this comedic journey.
  • Shrek explaining to Donkey why he is the way he is:
    Donkey: Hey, what's your problem, Shrek? What you got against the whole world anyway, huh?
    Shrek: Look, I'm not the one with the problem, okay? It's the world that seems to have a problem with me! People take one look at me and go, "Ahh! Help! Run! A big, stupid, ugly ogre!" (depressed) They judge me before they even know me. That's why I'm better off alone.
    • There is also Fiona's expression behind the door after she overhears this line. She's clearly regretful of how she misjudged Shrek, and as such becomes softer towards him the next morning.
      • This is more poignant when we learn the truth about her.
    • Consider as well the scene where Shrek is sitting down and eating dinner. The music playing is very melancholic and Shrek is seen looking towards the door for Donkey, before shaking it off and eating. Shrek put on a show of wanting complete privacy; but in reality, he was very lonely.
      • There's also the original Chris Farley animatic; the delivery and knowledge of his personal struggles in life make it downright heartwrenching to listen to, especially if you connect to some of the initial struggles Shrek was going through in these drafts.
        Donkey: You're really mad at whoever did this to you!
        Shrek: No one did anything to me!
        Donkey: Yes, yes, yes, someone hurt you real bad! Someone hurt you many years ago!
        Donkey: Breakthrough! Let's go with this! Let's explore family origins! Were you hugged as a child, Shrek?
        Shrek: Alright, alright! I want a home... and... someone to... share it with. Okay?
        Donkey: Yes, Shrek. It's o-kay.
        Shrek: (later) People see me and they go, "Aaah! Help! A big, stupid, stinky, smelly, ugly ogre! I'm so scared!" And they judge me before they even know me. My folks always told me that everyone LOVES ogres...
        Donkey: I see.
        Shrek: So... I guess they were a little overprotective.
        Donkey: A little?
        Shrek: That's why I gotta do this. I want 'em to know I can take care of myself.
        Donkey: You wanna make 'em proud?
        Shrek: ...Yeah.
  • And don't forget the scene after Shrek and Fiona split up, and everything's going as planned for Fiona and Lord Farquaad's wedding, but both the ogre and the princess are completely miserable, with top-class editing that goes back and forth in between them, such the moment where Fiona turns to look at an armor and the scene slowly switches to Shrek, and in the final moments of the scene, when the two sit eating and break down alone in different places, burying their heads in their hands. What really pushes it into tearjerker territory is the heartbreaking "Hallelujah" by John Cale playing in the background.
    • Don't forget Donkey coming across a weeping Dragon, totally heartbroken at the loss of her new love.
    • After Fiona pushes Farquaad's wedding cake topper down to reach his realistic height, she turns to the knight's armor, showing how much she resents that she can't be with Shrek.
      • Despite this, she's also angry at Shrek for rejecting her (see below). It shows when Shrek arrived at the wedding, she was briefly happy he came to stop it, but then went back to being angry at him. Until she learns that Shrek does love her.
  • The misunderstanding where Shrek overhears Fiona saying, "Who could ever love a beast so hideous and ugly?" is painfully hard to watch. Extra points for being depressing both from Fiona's side and Shrek's side of the conversation.
    Fiona: But... I thought it wouldn't matter to you.
    Shrek: Yeah? Well, it does!
  • "I live alone! My swamp! Me! Nobody else, understand?! Nobody! Especially useless, pathetic, annoying TALKING DONKEYS!" During the whole line, he's obviously trying not to cry. For once in his life, he's let himself have a friend, let himself fall in love but he thinks it can't be as he thought they were bad talking him behind his back and is trying to shove Donkey out of his life. To make it worse, there's Donkey's shocked expression and how it ends;
    Donkey: But I thought —
    Shrek: Yeah, well you know what? You thought wrong!
    • Kudos to Mike Myers. His delivery of the line really sells how upset Shrek is about the ordeal.
    • Just think how Shrek feels. He truly thought he had finally someone he could open his heart to, having a romantic moment with Fiona around the campfire and opening himself up to Donkey. Now, the only time he let his vulnerabilities out, he is seemingly betrayed by them and is absolutely heartbroken and probably feeling stupid for allowing himself to feel that way. This is later seen again when Shrek is at his home and sees a sunflower. He briefly smiles at it, remembering his love, and then recalling what she seemingly felt about him and angrily throws it into the fire.
    • It comes right back to the following scene when Donkey confronts Shrek about this.
      Donkey: Hey, where are you going? I'm not through with you yet!
      Shrek: Well, I'm through with you!
      Donkey: Uh-uh! You know, with you, it's always "me, me, me!" Well guess what! Now it's my turn! So you just shut up and pay attention! You are mean to me! You insult me and you don't appreciate anything that I do! You're always pushing me around, or pushing me away.
      Shrek: Oh, yeah? Well if I treated you so bad, how come you came back?
      Donkey: (furious) Because that's what friends do! THEY FORGIVE EACH OTHER!
      Shrek: Oh, yeah. You're right, Donkey. I forgive you. FOR STABBING ME IN THE BACK!!! (goes into the outhouse and slams the door behind him)
      Donkey: (groans frustratedly) You're so wrapped up in layers, onion boy, you're afraid of your own feelings!
      Shrek: Go away!
      Donkey: See? There you are, doing it again just like you did to Fiona and all she ever do was like you. Maybe even love you.
      Shrek: Love me?! She said I was ugly! A hideous creature! I heard the two of you talking!
      Donkey: She wasn't talking about you! She was talking, somebody else.
      Shrek: (comes out of the outhouse) She wasn't...talking about me? Well, who was she talking about?
      Donkey: Uh-uh, no way, I ainít saying anything. You donít wanna listen to me, right? Right?
      Shrek: Donkey!
      Donkey: No!
      Shrek: Okay, look. Iím sorry, all right? (Donkey doesn't respond) Iím sorry. I guess I am just a big, stupid, ugly ogre. Can you forgive me?
      Donkey: Hey, thatís what friends are for, right?
    • Sad as well to think what would have happened if Donkey hadn't been so persistent with Shrek. Shrek and Fiona would have never seen each other again. Based on how Farquaad acted when he (finally) found out about Fiona's curse, Fiona would have had no one to protect her this time.
    • Something that is rather sad is just how quick Shrek was to jump to conclusions. He had such low self-esteem after years of constant rejection that he wasn't even secure in his faith in these two who had previously shown him that they were fond of him. It was as though he still didn't believe that it was possible anyone could be in love with him or his friend.
    • Going back to when he and Shrek first met, Donkey tells the former he likes and respects Shrek for his "I don't care what nobody thinks of me" attitude. Yeah, turns out that was wrong on so many levels as Shrek revealed twice during their travels. You can feel the pain in how badly he misjudged his friend's self-esteem upon his utterance of "Shrek..." when the ogre storms off. And the perceived betrayal really reflects in Shrek's face and tone when he tells Donkey off:
      Shrek: "Yeah, I know you talked to (Fiona) last night! You're GREAT pals, aren't ya!? Now, if you two are such good friends why don't you follow her home!?"
  • The scene when Shrek once again sees his reflection after he returned to the swamp. At the beginning of the film, Shrek seemed proud of his appearance — but after being seemingly rejected by his love Fiona, he is utterly disgusted with himself.
  • Lord Farquaad's attempt at a breaking speech towards Shrek begins with "It's rude enough being alive when no one wants you!" Evil or not, that was just uncalled for. Fortunately, Shrek cuts him off to talk to Fiona.
  • "Oh, that is so sweet. You don't have to waste good manners on the ogre. (laughs) It's not like it has feelings." Ouch. "No, you're right. It doesn't." Bigger ouch.
  • The Twist Ending, in a heartwarming sense —
    Fiona: (In her ogre form) I'm supposed to be beautiful...
    Shrek: But you are beautiful.
  • You might not notice it the first time, but when we first see the three bears, they're in cages. Then, later on, we see the father and baby bear at Shrek's swamp with the rest of the fairy tale creatures; the baby bear is crying as the father bear comforts his child. You learn exactly why they're so sad when Lord Farquaad's castle is later shown: the mother bear is a skin rug on the floor of his bedroom. To summarise — mother bear didn't make it out of the cage, was evidently killed, and her husband lost his wife while her baby bear lost their mother. A heart-wrenching story told entirely within the background.
    • Good thing she reappears alive and well in Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party. If it was canon.
  • "Ugh! It's disgusting!" Farquaad, at the end of his wits upon discovering Fiona's curse, lets his racism truly ignite and attempts to both banish Shrek to prison (and tortured to the point he'd be begging for death to save him, according to Farquaad) and not only marry Fiona to become king but afterward put her back in that tower for the rest of her days! That's how he plans to spend their marriage! He would rather leave her out of the picture for the sake of control than put the task he requested of Shrek to good use! He even puts the crown on himself before they even kiss! If Dragon didn't respond to Shrek's beckoning, it would've been the Bad End for everyone (except maybe Farquaad)...
  • The Magic Mirror is captured by Farquaad and has to obey his bidding. He is one of the "fairy tale creatures" that is against his rule and clearly thinks Farquaad is insane and is intimidated by him, especially when ordered to obey under threat of murder by glass-breaking. During the pre-wedding preparations, as Lord Farquaad is proudly getting dressed, the Magic Mirror has a sad and solemn expression. When Farquaad suddenly turns to him, he instantly puts on a big smile.
  • There's a really tragic Fridge Horror to Fiona's reaction when Shrek first takes off his helmet after rescuing her from the castle. This was supposed to be the knight that breaks her enchantment, but instead, he reveals himself to be, essentially, that enchantment staring her in the face, now in the flesh instead of just a mirror's reflection.
    Fiona: No... No, this is all wrong!


  • In the Broadway musical, there is the closing number of the first act "Who I'd Be" where Shrek is talking to Donkey about the things he would do if he weren't an ogre. The real clincher is Shrek's line, which delivers just how alone and isolated he feels:
    Shrek: An ogre always hides / An ogre's fate is known / An ogre always stays in the dark and all alone.
    • The musical in general is considerably more emotional than the film. One moment that stands out is this line in "Build A Wall".
      Shrek: What a fool to think she might love me / I opened my heart and let her walk through / She wanted Prince Charming / I wanted my home back / How lucky! Both our wishes came true!
    • Shrek then says how is going to build a wall and never allow himself to have friends or fall in love again.