Movies that make me cry: Dan in Real Life

Not all movies make me cry. I’m not necessarily a major weeper, but if a movie or a TV show strikes just the right chord, then my tears are a melody of all my feels.

That being said, there are some movies that make me cry more than most – and make me cry every time I watch them. This is one of those movies. (Beware: there are obviously spoilers.)

Please don’t judge Dan in Real Life by its movie poster. Steve Carell’s head on a stack of pancakes makes sense after you see the movie, but when you haven’t, you’re not entirely sure what to make of it.

A few years ago, my friend made me watch this little gem and it was so adorable, I recently made my mom watch it, and ended up having tears stream down my face.

Dan is trying so hard. He’s a widower with three daughters with whom he has a hard time connecting. One wants to drive, one has fallen madly in love and one is far more mature than he gives her credit for – they’re all growing up too fast and he can’t keep up.

And then they climb in the car and go for their regular extended family weekend away and he meets someone who he gets excited about – the first person he’s been excited about since his wife died. And you’re rooting for him. And then his little brother, Dane Cook, introduces his new girlfriend, who is of course the woman he was excited about.

And you can imagine what happens next.

But what’s so lovely about this film is the chaos that comes from having a big family with in-laws and children of all ages running around and a single dad trying his best.

But the point at which I cry is when he realizes he’s let down his daughters and he goes and finds them and sits them all down. And apologizes. And he tells them he misses their mom and sees her everyday – in his oldest’s goodness, in his middle daughter’s passion and in his youngest’s eyes and smile. And it’s so sweet and real and wonderful that I’m just a tearful mess.


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