[Spoilers for Black Panther]
I was never much of a crier over media until the last few years. It seems that as of late there’ve been a ton of terribly poignant moments that are beyond sniffle-inducing and go straight for the waterworks.
Maybe it’s the rise of nostalgia that has me reaching for the tissues: when Luke Skywalker gazed on twin suns at the end of The Last Jedi, echoing his introduction in A New Hope, that was it for me. Not to mention connections to real-life events—I felt emotional every time Carrie Fisher’s Leia was onscreen in the same movie.
Big-budget genre pieces appear to be raising emotional stakes across the board, even in the sort of films where you might not expect such resonance to be. Wonder Woman could have been a gauzy superhero origin story, but instead, it’s steeped in war and loss, and the impact of Steve Trevor’s death at the end is both well-earned and heartbreaking. A Wrinkle in Time has a raw and weepy scene between protagonist Meg Murry and her father, one that I was not expecting to hit so hard. Infinity War seems primed to torture us with the sacrifice and death of characters we’ve cared about for a decade.
It was my second viewing of Black Panther that really did me in recently. Erik Killmonger’s last moments are done so well that they must be considered amongst the best cinematic death scenes on film. His final line, “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships, because they knew death was better than bondage,” is just astounding in its impact, and it will go down in history.
But it’s Killmonger’s words right before this that really wreck me. Gravely wounded, Killmonger knows that he’s beaten, and he speaks to his cousin T’Challa—who in another life he should have grown up with, not fought to the death—honestly and devastatingly:
My pops said Wakanda was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. He promised he was going to show it to me one day. Do you believe that? A kid from Oakland running around believing in fairy tales.
I struggled to even type these line without wanting to cry. Bravo, Black Panther, the next time I watch you I’ll probably start crying ten minutes in advance.
So what’s grabbed your heartstrings and tugged recently? If nothing new has struck you, let us know what older movie always gets you. And if you’re not a crier, that’s cool—what was the last thing that made you exclaim “Oh noooo” out loud or inside your head?”
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