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10 tearjerker novels turned into movies

Did ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ leave you devastated? Here are some more books-to-films that turned on the waterworks for us

Tabloid

UAE cinema-goers were offered tissues as they entered to watch tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars just last month, preparing them for a whirlwind of emotions.

The John Green book turned into a movie, straddles the bittersweet line between hopeless and hopeful. It follows two quick-witted teens, Hazel and Gus, as they form a friendship outside of a cancer support group and reluctantly hurtle towards doomed love. Hazel lugs around an oxygen tank and Gus walks on a prosthetic leg, but the two of them fall into step nonetheless, tugging at our heartstrings and tickling our tear ducts along the way.

It’s impossible to leave the film — or put down the book — emotionally unscathed, but it’s not the first novel-turned-movie that calls for tissue distribution prior to consumption. As the movie continues to soar off of its box office success, tabloid! takes a look at 10 other novels that landed a movie deal and made us weep.

Love Story (1970)

Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw in Love Story.

Two people from the opposite ends of the tracks meet — the beginning of any doomed love story. Oliver Barrett is a sensitive stud and a wealthy Harvard jock. Jennifer Cavilleri is the sharp daughter of a Rhode Island baker. The pair fall in love despite their differences, disowned by their families when they marry. They attempt to make it on their own and without financial support, but a tragic and painful truth threatens to crumble everything they’ve built. Starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal. Based on 1970 novel by Erich Segal.

Terms of Endearment (1983)

Shirley Maclaine and Debra Winger in Terms of Endearment.

Like all good tearjerkers, Terms of Endearment strikes a perfect balance of funny and sad, getting us attached to the characters in a very human way before the heartache sets in. The story spans 30 years, following a widowed mother and her daughter as they deal with their lives, their men and each other. It all leads to a plot twist that has viewers swiping their noses on their sleeves and hurting for the women they’ve come to love. Starring Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger. Based on the 1975 novel by Larry McMurtry.

Romeo + Juliet (1993)

Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes in Romeo + Juliet.

There are some Romeo and Juliet films that shouldn’t have been made — like the 2013 flop rendition — but the Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes attempt in 1993 was a treat, with its modern twists managing to retain the play’s authenticity. When it comes to tearjerking romances, star-crossed lovers dying for love is nothing new. But with classic lines like “Romeo, Romeo, where art thou Romeo?” we can’t help but pine along with the love-sick leads, no matter how doomed their ending promises to be. Based on the 1597 tragedy by Shakespeare.

A Walk to Remember (2002)

Mandy Moore and Shane West in A Walk to Remember.

Written by the same author, A Walk to Remember is like The Notebook’s indie, emotionally-devastating cousin. The tale follows the lives of two North Carolina students from different cliques. Landon is the popular boy who’s made to do community service. Jamie is the soft-spoken girl from a religious family and has a terminal illness. The bad boy-good girl cliche takes a backseat as the sweetness of their love unfolds over their limited time together. Starring Shane West and Mandy Moore. Based on the 1999 novel by Nicholas Sparks.

The Notebook (2004)

Ryan Gosling and Rachel Adams in The Notebook.

Love it or hate it, the point is: The Notebook set the bar for romcom tearjerkers. It was one of Nicholas Sparks’ many creations to be turned into film. Though Sparks’ general ethos revolves around giving a loved character a fatal disease, The Notebook seemed to resonate more than others because of the on-screen chemistry between real life lovers (at the time) Ryan Gosling and Rachel Adams. We felt their passion, frustration and devotion until the last weep-worthy minute. Based on the 1996 novel by Sparks.

PS I Love You (2007)

Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler in PS I Love You.

Holly loses her husband and the love of her life, Gerry, to his illness — but that’s only the beginning of this romantic sob fest. On her 30th birthday, Holly discovers Gerry left her 10 messages to help her get through the pain of losing him. A rollercoaster ride follows as Holly feels guilt and confusion, falling in love anew with Gerry’s best friend, William. Starring Gerard Butler, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilary Swank. Based on the 2004 novel by Cecelia Ahern.

 

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams in The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Another hopeless love story that left us aching: The Time Traveler’s Wife. Henry, a Chicago-based librarian, thinks he’s meeting a stranger when he comes across Clare. What he doesn’t know is she’s been in love with him since she was six and he’s visited her many times before. Harry falls in love with her and the pair marry, but Harry has no control over his frequent, sudden journeys, making for a turbulent and heartbreakingly difficult romance. Starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. Based on the 2003 novel by Audrey Niffenegger.

 

One Day (2011)

Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in One Day

On July 15, we’re introduced to Dexter and Emma, two opinionated young university grads getting ready to fire off in different directions after one night together. But on the same day for the next 20 years, we get a glimpse into their rocky lives and find ourselves desperately rooting for their paths to rejoin. One Day gives an astute look at the way fate sometimes fails us, and how the stars don’t always align. A timely story about the sacrifices we make for authentic love — it even earns some chuckles from us along the way. Starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. Based on the 2009 novel by David Nicholls.

 

Les Miserables (2012)

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables

In 19th century france, ex-con Jean Valjean escapes prison and tries to rebuild his life as a mayor, but he’s sought after by police. He takes a young Cosette into his care after her mother, Fantine, tragically dies. As she grows, they get caught up in the political turmoil of Paris. Cosette falls in love with a man from a higher status, and it threatens to tear her way from Valjean. Les Mis is a complex story that even the most composed of us can’t help but shed a tear over. Starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. Based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo.

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Emma Watson and Logan Lerman in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.

Fifteen-year-old Charlie lives with a mental illness, tries to process the suicide of his best friend and falls in love for the first time. With two new friends by his side, he opens his eyes to the realities of life. In the film, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson breathe life into characters we can’t help but become hopelessly attached to. For any teen who’s struggled to fit in and decipher the meaning of love, life and loss, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a formative, if brutally honest look at growing up. Based on the 1999 novel by Stephen Chbosky.

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