I shit you not, the moment I sat down to write this, “Cellophane” by FKA twigs started playing on Spotify. I can’t think of a better, more depressing song to prepare me for a yarn about sad movies on Netflix. Let’s get into it, I guess.

I thought I’d start this list off with my most soul-crushing choice and then the rest are varying degrees of sadness, from completely depressing to a pleasurable melancholy. The latter is the equivalent of that sad playlist you have on Spotify, the one you switch on when you’re staring out the window on the bus ride home.

So if you feel like a good cry, have a geez at this exhaustive (and honestly, exhausting) roundup of sad movies on Netflix.

What Are The Best Sad Movies On Netflix?

1. Holding The Man (2015)

Is it currently on Netflix? Yes.

To preface the film’s summary, here is a YouTube comment on its trailer.

16 Of The Best Sad Movies On Netflix For When You Need A Good Cry
You’ve been warned.

Ophidian isn’t even exaggerating here.

Holding The Man is a 2015 Australian romantic drama based on the 1995 memoir of the same name by Timothy Conigrave.

The film traces the life of Tim (Ryan Corr) and his relationship with his husband John Caleo, played by Craig Stott.

It is heartbreaking. 

2. If Anything Happens I Love You (2020)

Is it currently on Netflix? Yes.

This animated film is just 12 minutes long and not a single word is said in it. And yet here I am sobbing.

If Anything Happens I Love You won the Oscar for best animated short film at the 2021 Academy Awards.

3. All The Bright Places (2020)

Is it currently on Netflix? Yes.

sad movies on netflix
Elle Fanning and Justice Smith.

Based on the internationally bestselling novel by Jennifer NivenAll The Bright Places tells the story of Violet Markey (Elle Fanning) and Theodore Finch (Justice Smith), who meet and change each other’s lives.

This is a drama about the experience of mental illness, its impact on relationships, and young love.

I haven’t watched this one yet, but I do love both of these actors very much.

4. Someone Great (2019)

Is it currently on Netflix? Yes.

sad movies on netflix

Because we’re deep in “sad movies on Netflix” territory, I’ve got to chuck in a break-up movie.

Someone Great stars Gina Rodriguez as Jenny, a newly dumped music journalist struggling to get over her ex-boyfriend Nate (my husband LaKeith Stanfield). She recruits her two best mates Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise) to go on one last bender before she leaves New York City to start a new chapter.

I just thought Someone Great was really relatable in a sad, awful way. My single mate said this movie made her feel like she just got dumped, so there’s that.

5. Marriage Story (2019)

Is it currently on Netflix? Yes.

From Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Noah BaumbachMarriage Story tracks the crumbling marriage and subsequent divorce between Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson).

I watched this one just to see what the fuss was about. I made it all the way through without crying, and then the last few scenes just caused an absolute waterfall of tears.

6. Irreplaceable You (2018)

Is it currently on Netflix? Yes.

16 Of The Best Sad Movies On Netflix For When You Need A Good Cry
Please hold me, Michiel Huisman.

Irreplaceable You is the story of Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Sam (Michiel Huisman), best friends since childhood who are engaged to be married. Their lives come crashing down when Abbie receives an unexpected diagnosis, totally upending their lives as they know it.

Okay, I know this is definitely supposed to be a typical sad movie, but I haven’t watched it yet and the reviews aren’t great. In saying that, I can’t think of a film or TV show with Gugu Mbatha-Raw in it that I didn’t like, so I’m going to tentatively put it on the list and hope for the best.

7. Wonder (2017)

Is it currently on Netflix? No.

I stupidly watched this by myself at like 2am once, and just sobbed.

sad movies on netflix
Julia Roberts and Jacob Tremblay are stunningly good in this bloody tearjerker.

Based on the New York Times bestseller by R.J. Palacio, Wonder is the story of August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a boy with facial differences who is about to attend a mainstream school for the first time.

Auggie wants nothing more than to be treated like an ordinary kid, but his classmates can’t get past his different face. The film delves into the true nature of empathy, acceptance, and kindness.

God, even the trailer makes me cry. You gotta catch it as soon as it’s back on Netflix.

8. First They Killed My Father (2017)

Is it currently on Netflix? Yes.

From director/actor Angelina JolieFirst They Killed My Father is a film based on the 2000 memoir of the same name by Loung Ung.

Ung, an author and human rights activist, recounts the horrors she suffered as a child under the rule of the Khmer Rouge.

9. Your Name (2016)

Is it currently on Netflix? Yes.

sad movies on Netflix
Even this picture is enough to make me want to wail in LONGING.

If Netflix ever pulls Your Name off Netflix I’m going to be very mad (sad).

The stunning film follows a bored girl in the countryside, who starts waking up in the body of a city boy living the exciting life she dreamed of. Things become even more complicated when they try and meet.

Your Name is an extremely emotional animated film by director Makoto Shinkai. I can’t put into words how big of a shit this film did on my heart. It absolutely wrecked me, but in a nice way.

I don’t think this is a typical example of sad movies on Netflix, but it made me stare at a wall for a good hour after I watched it, so that’s why I’ve added it to the list. There’s just something about it, you know?

Even if you’re not very into anime, Your Name is just such a great film.

10. God’s Own Country (2017)

Is it currently on Netflix? No.

16 Of The Best Sad Movies On Netflix For When You Need A Good Cry
The Crown’s Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu.

In God’s Own Country, a young farmer numbs his daily frustrations with his lonely life with binge-drinking at the local pub and casual sex. That is until a Romanian migrant worker arrives.

This is a wonderful movie with beautiful acting and cinematography, but it will make you cry. It is a ginormous lump-in-the-throat sort of film.

11. To The Bone (2017)

Is it currently on Netflix? Yes.

16 Of The Best Sad Movies On Netflix For When You Need A Good Cry
Lily Collins as Ellen.

To The Bone follows Ellen (Lily Collins), a 20-year-old anorexic young woman who spent the better part of her teen years being shepherded through different recovery programs, only to find herself several pounds lighter every time.

Determined to help her, her dysfunctional family agrees to send her to a group home for youths, led by a non-traditional doctor played by Keanu Reeves.

This is not an easy watch, let me just say that.

12. Blue Jay (2016)

Is it currently on Netflix? Yes.

sad movies on netflix
*sighs in melancholy*

Blue Jay is an indie film starring Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass as former high school sweethearts Amanda and Jim. As the classic romance trope goes, they run into each other at a grocery store after 20 years.

A cup of coffee turns into beer and then suddenly Amanda and Jim are spiralling back into their past and what could’ve been.

I remember watching this and thinking it was just so bittersweet.

13. Miss You Already (2015)

Is this currently on Netflix? No.

16 Of The Best Sad Movies On Netflix For When You Need A Good Cry
Don’t let this HAPPY, HAPPY picture fool you.

Best mates since grade school, Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore) struggle to keep their relationship as strong as ever when Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer.

STORY TIME: I watched this with my mum thinking it was a cute movie about friendship — I didn’t know anything about it — and then we spent the rest of the night finishing off a box of Kleenex.

14. Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Is is currently on Netflix? Yes.

From director Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), and set in West Africa, Beasts of No Nation follows Agu (Abraham Attah), a young villager whose days consisted of playing with his older brother, making mischief with his mates at a nearby refugee camp and eating lots of dinners.

But that all changed when army troops from the capital city arrive to squelch a rebellion against the country’s corrupt regime.

Beasts of No Nation is a very, very heavy watch.

15. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012)

Is it currently on Netflix? No.

16 Of The Best Sad Movies On Netflix For When You Need A Good Cry
Ah, memories.

Did you even have a Tumblr in the mid-2010s if you didn’t reblog gifs of Charlie or that “we are infinite” quote from the book/movie?

The coming-of-age drama, directed by Steven Chbosky, is based on his own 1999 novel of the same name.

It follows a teenager named Charlie (Logan Lerman), who chronicles his freshman year of high school as he unknowingly struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Emma Watson and Ezra Miller co-star.

16. The Notebook (2004)

Is it currently on Netflix? No — but Dear John is.

16 Of The Best Sad Movies On Netflix For When You Need A Good Cry
Ally and Noah on their way to make me cry.

Sad movies on Netflix = The Notebook. End of story.

I don’t think I even need to summarise this movie, you all know what it’s about.

For however many years now, I watch this film up until the 1 hour and 45-minute mark, because that’s when Allie (Rachel McAdams) picks Noah (Ryan Gosling) and then I just pretend the rest of the movie doesn’t happen. Good stuff, if you ask me!

If your eyes are still in your head after weeping over all these movies, maybe you feel like tackling a different genre next?

Try our list of the best horror movies on Netflix HERE, or for more variety, our roundup of the best movies on Netflix HERE.

Image: The Notebook