5 of the Most Heartbreaking Movie Musicals You Can Cry to From Your Couch (And Where to Stream Them)

As we’ve noted before, a good cry is a good time when you’re feeling down. While that might seem like a bad or counterproductive way to deal with stress or anxiety, it can really help you let things out. At times of uncertainty, it’s not helpful to repress those emotions; rather lean into them and let it all go. With that said, if you can’t yourself able to just cry right out, these movie musicals will help you sob all you want. Because who doesn’t like a good song to go along with their tissue box?

Christian (Ewan McGregor) singing to Satine (Nicole Kidman) for the first time in 'Moulin Rouge.'
Christian (Ewan McGregor) singing to Satine (Nicole Kidman) for the first time in ‘Moulin Rouge’ | 20th Century Fox

1. ‘Phantom of The Opera’ — Hulu

Phantom of the Opera has one of the most notable and recognizable song motifs in all of Broadway. The Broadway-musical-turned-movie stars Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, and Patrick Wilson. The story follows a young, orphaned ballet student, Christine, who is part of an opera and luckily gets the lead role in the production after the diva-lead leaves.

Turns out, Christine has been getting voice lessons from an “angel” who happens to be the phantom who lives there. The music is so full of emotion and on top of the Phantom’s tragic backstory, this musical might make you tear up. 

2. ‘Across the Universe’ — Hulu

Featuring the songs of The Beatles, Across the Universe tells the story of two young people in love in the ‘60s. Evan Rachel Wood plays Lucy and Jim Sturgess plays Jude and they fall completely head-over-heels in the midst of the Vietnam War and political turmoil and protests. Their love is one that’s full of passion, but both the bad and good kind. And while they do love one another, they’re pulled apart several times.

The Beatles are the pivotal soundtrack, sung by the cast and integral to the story. With these stunning new iterations of their classic songs, your heart will completely swell at this beautiful story. Maybe happy tears will mix with sad ones?

3. ‘Moulin Rouge’ — HBO

Moulin Rouge is just as hectic as it is beautiful. Baz Luhrman’s wild vision for the movie combines remixed musical mashups with the time period of the 1900 “Bohemian Revolution” in Paris, France. Christian is a hopeless (and we mean hopeless) romantic played by Ewan McGregor, and Satine is one of the dancers in the racy Moulin Rouge, played by Nicole Kidman.

Their love is truly one that rivals some of the most poetic couples to ever exist, so even their happy moments will probably make you cry if you’re already emotionally at that point. But, when it’s sad, it’s sad. The cooky bits are truly amazing, but it’s the heartwrenching parts of denying love that really hammers in that nail to the chest.  

4. ‘Selena’ — Hulu

You truly cannot go through an entire viewing of the 1997 classic Selena without crying, even if it’s just a little bit. It’s a biopic starring Jennifer Lopez in the titular role of Selena Quintanilla, known as just Selena in the ‘90s when she was at the top of the charts.

Known as La Reina de Tejano, Selena was making a name for herself in a male-dominated genre and was an excellent performer and singer. She won a Grammy and was on her way to breaking into mainstream English music before she was tragically murdered. This movie certainly hits harder for fans of the singer, but even a casual viewer will feel punched in the gut to think of all this woman could have accomplished. 

5. A Star Is Born — HBO 

Even though A Star Is Born came out in 2018, it feels like we just stopped hearing “Shallow” on repeat. But regardless of what you think of that song, you cannot deny that this movie hits hard on so many levels. Not only do Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper share undeniable and tangible chemistry, but the story and writing are pretty darn good too. And it will leave you sobbing on your couch by the time you’re done with it. Guaranteed; there are no ifs, ands, or butts about it. This is the one that will ruin you.