- It's Played for Laughs, but think about this: A child trying to get the love and approval of his or her parent figure. He or she does great things, but the parent doesn't even acknowledge it. Gru's childhood probably wasn't the most happiest of times.
- And his father is heavily implied to be dead; and so the only parent he has is a mother that isn't exactly the most supportive, emotionally sensitive, or even motherly woman.
- How about Miss Hattie's treatment of the girls in her care, which was greatly shown in her response to the "mud pie" Edith made for her:Miss Hattie: You're never going to get adopted, Edith. You know that don't you?Edith: (With her head down) Yeah, I know.
- The "mud pie" implies that Edith wanted to get some approval or even a "Thank You", but got shot down.
- The expressions of the girls' when Gru gives them back to Miss Hattie. Agnes clinging to Gru's leg, begging him to not send them back. Edith is too angry to even speak and doesn't give Gru one last look before leaving. And Margo is obviously heartbroken, but still thanks Gru in a sad voice; gets even more teary eyed when she's comforting Agnes.
Agnes: Don't let her take us, Mr. Gru! Tell her you wanna keep us!
- Judging by Margo's expression, she really was hurt that Gru was giving them back. She was really starting to think of Gru as a father figure....and then he just gives her and her little sisters back.
- The worst part might be that, by this point, Gru didn't even want to return them (it was Dr. Nefario who called the orphanage to have them recalled, as he felt they were distracting Gru from his great Moon-stealing plan). In fact, while he was still bad, he thought he'd just ditch them somewhere once he managed to steal back the shrink ray; but since they've grown on him so much, he didn't want to part with the girls anymore. So being forced to let them go was heart-wrenching for him too.
- Gru's expression after finishing the "Sleepy Kittens" story as he reads the part about the kittens' mother saying "I love you." No doubt he was thinking about the love his own mother never showed him.Gru: (Reading the last lines from the book) "Good night, kittens, close your eyes. Sleep in peace until you rise. Though while you sleep, we are apart, your mommy (stops momentarily and looks up) loves you with all her heart."
- The Minions, Stuart and Jerry crying after the girls leave with Miss Hattie. You can just tell that they grew very close to the girls.
- Gru's complete depression over the girls leaving. From his lonely, lonely expression at the dinner table to his sleepless night in the bed. Then, you come to the sudden realization that he knew it was his own fault over what he was feeling: That he gave up probably the greatest thing in his life, something that he subconsciously always wanted: A family.
- Gru having to break the news about the bank's rejection to the Minions and Dr. Nefario, though it does suffer from Mood Whiplash almost immediately afterwards.
- Gru's flashback to when he was eight years old and watching the moon-landing on TV:Young Gru: (Excitedly) Mom! Someday, I'm going to go to the moon!Marlena: (Not looking up from her sewing) I'm afraid you're too late, Son. NASA isn't sending the monkeys anymore.(A dejected Gru looks down sadly.)
- And when he actually is about to go to the moon, Gru gazes up at his rocket, and it briefly fades into a flashback of young Gru looking up at the moon from his bedroom window. It really does hammer in the real reason he's so dead-set on doing this.
- Margo is afraid of crossing to Gru's ship after Edith and Agnes have jumped.Gru: Margo, I will catch you, and I will never let you go again!
- More of a happy tearjerker: When Gru kisses the girls goodnight and Margo tells him she loves him.
- The fact that Margo is the first to say it to him, despite being the most mistrustful of the whole idea, probably due to her being the eldest.
- Get ready to cry over a plush toy when Agnes' unicorn disintegrates.
- Although viewers who like Black Comedy may think it's funny, sensitive viewers can't help but feel sorry for the nameless boy. First he drops his ice cream and is saddened to the point of crying and then Gru makes him a balloon dog and he seems happy, but then Gru pops it and walks off. Later, another boy cries when his balloon is popped by the jet engines from Gru's "car". The same boy from the beginning of the film makes a cameo in the sequel, in which he watches the owner of the Stuff-a-Bear Workshop accidentally overstuff his stuffed animal and then starts crying. That poor kid.
- Gru's responses to the bedtime story including "This is literature?" leads viewers to believe he's never heard a bedtime story before, which isn't hard to believe.
- When Edith gets seemingly impaled by Gru's iron maiden, Margo and Agnes look on in horror and hug each other mournfully. She comes out okay, but still.
- Gru's story at the end, which is totally not based on anybody in particular:"One big unicorn, strong and free, thought he was happy as he could be. Then three little kittens came around and turned his whole life upside down. They made him laugh, they made him cry. He never should have said goodbye. And now he knows he can never part from those three little kittens that changed his heart."
Tearjerker / Despicable Me