With the movie Lindsay Lohan Netflix falling for christmas and Disney+ The Santas miniseries, there are plenty of lighthearted holiday movies to check out. But while many stories about this sweet, hopeful, magical time of year are happy, heartwarming and sometimes cheesy, there are also some Christmas movies that are much sadder.
From war movies to a few classics that fans put in rotation each winter, Redditors are recommending Christmas movies that will make audiences cry. These films use the holidays as a backdrop to explore dark themes and emotional experiences.
Merry Christmas (2014)
Stream on Starz and DirecTV
Redditor BetaAlex81 suggested “Merry Christmas” like a sad Christmas movie, and since Joe Swanberg wrote and directed the film, it delivers his down-to-earth style.
Kelly and Jeff are living a quiet life when Jeff’s younger sister Jenny moves in, encouraging them to try to find more joy and change their routines. While Merry Christmas Not often mentioned as one of Anna Kendrick’s best films, the actor delivers a grounded and relatable performance as a young adult looking for happiness and wanting to be a positive influence in her family’s lives.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1947)
Stream on Prime Video
Classic holiday movies are often the most moving, as they tell stories about reflecting on life’s ups and downs and thinking about the people who matter most. Writing about Christmas movies that make them cry, Redditor SpotISAGoodCat mentioned It’s a wonderful life and wrote: “When all the people crowd into George’s house … Every. One. Turn.”
The main character, George Bailey, is struggling at Christmastime and Clarence Odbody, a guardian angel, shows him the positive effect he has had on people. It’s hard not to cry when watching this story.
True Love (2003)
Stream on Peacock
While love in truth is seen as a lighthearted film about how falling in love in December can feel even more magical than other times of the year, it’s definitely possible to say it has some heartwarming moments.
Redditor tedd0093 wrote: “Some of the stories in love in truth they are very sad. Like the guy who’s in love with his best friend’s fiancée” and Redditor Lunac124 said “Because it’s a holiday movie, it was very emotional and serious.”
A Christmas Carol (2008)
Stream on AMC+
Since winter break is all about spending quality time together and perhaps seeing relatives for the first time in a while, a movie revolving around a family will always have some heartfelt moments.
A recommended Redditor”a christmas tale” for anyone looking for sad Christmas movies. In this French film, a family gets together to celebrate the 25th of December, but discovers that the mother has cancer. The film not only focuses on this grisly discovery, but also highlights the differences between the brothers.
A Clear Midnight (1992)
Stream on Fubo and Tubi
Redditor DeaconLogan said “A clear midnight it’s what you want”, as it is a sad story that is also about war. Adapted from a book by William Wharton, the story follows the soldier in December 1944.
Any movie that has a war setting will automatically be melancholic and adding Christmas makes it even more filled with sadness as the soldiers miss their families back home and have plenty of time to think and reflect.
The Family Stone (2005)
Stream on Starz and DirecTV
By Redditor alwebb6560“The Family Stone” is a sad film that shows a family celebrating the holidays and learning some terrible news about their wife/mother Sybil Stone.
The Family Stone features the relatable main storyline of someone meeting their partner’s family for the first time and all the nerves and emotions that go along with that. The twist is very heartfelt as the characters come to terms with something terrible.
A Christmas Carol (1984)
Stream on Prime Video
Responding to a thread about tear-inducing Christmas movies, Redditor knows said A Christmas Song and explained, “The film version by George C. Scott (1984) is one of my favorites.”
Based on the 1843 novel by Charles Dickens, the film follows Ebenezer Scrooge, who couldn’t hate the holiday season more. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future show him how to appreciate the meaning and joy of this time of year. This story is a classic for a reason and it always feels touching.
Joyeux Noel (2005)
Stream on Tubi
A recommended Redditor”Joyeux Noel,“, which is based on when the German crown prince named Wilhelm asked a Berlin opera singer to sing for the soldiers. This is known as the “Christmas truce” as German and British soldiers decided to call a ceasefire.
As this film is based on such an emotional moment in history and involves beautiful music along with a general feeling about the compassion of the Christmas season, it is definitely a touching story.
In The Bleak Midwinter/A Midwinter’s Tale (1995)
Rent on AppleTV
With a script by Kenneth Branagh, who also directed, In the middle of the gloomy winter is called “A Mindwinter’s Tale“in the United States and Redditor Forever Mozart recommended it.
Joe Harper is having a hard time finding acting jobs and he directs Village in a church, allowing you to connect with others and find some hope. One of the best Christmas movie tropes is someone volunteering and finding Christmas cheer because of it and that’s definitely what happens here.
A Magical Christmas (1985)
Stream on Disney+
Inside A Magical ChristmasGinnie Grainger is trying to make the season magical for her kids, which is difficult since her husband has been out of work for a while. Redditor handle_5 shared that this is a sad movie and wrote, “Harry Dean Stanton is the angel, and just because of that, you know it’s going to be dark.”
Although the film starts with a family going through difficult times, it becomes even sadder as time goes on, although the characters maintain hope that they will see better days and celebrate happier Christmases in the future.