Whether it’s a cartoon classic, quirky indie film, or uproarious comedy, everyone loves a feel-good movie, but sometimes it’s just not what you want. Sometimes you want something glum, something dark, something sad. Netflix has a great selection of all kinds of movies, and plenty of it is perfect for when all you want is to sit in the dark and really stew in it. Here are some of the saddest movies on Netflix right now.
Saddest movies on Netflix:
Editor’s note: This list will be updated as sad movies leave and other new arrivals debut on Netflix.
1. Schindler’s List
This is probably the saddest movie on Netflix, and maybe one of the saddest movies of all time. Schindler’s List focuses on the true story of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a German businessman who used his factory to employ and eventually smuggle 1,200 Jews out of a concentration camp during the Holocaust.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, and featuring fantastic performances from Neeson, as well Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes, this black and white classic will have you bawling by the end.
Written, produced, shot, edited, and directed by Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron, Roma follows indigenous Mexican live-in maid Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio). Living and working in the affluent Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, Cleo struggles to navigate the strained relationships of the family she works for and the rising class tension in the region, all while dealing with an unplanned pregnancy to boot.
Throughout the movie Cleo is hit with one hardship after another. The results sometimes are life affirming, but this is still one of the saddest films on Netflix.
3. The Boy in The Striped Pajamas
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas tells the story of two boys. One is the child of a Nazi officer overseeing a concentration camp during World War II, and the other a Jewish child imprisoned in the camps.
The movie runs a pretty serious risk of equivocating the experiences of the victims of the Holocaust with those of its perpetrators (which, uh, yikes), but it still offers a pretty compelling look at how inflicting harm can cause both expected and unexpected trauma. On top of that, the ending twist is so sad it borders on emotionally manipulative.
This is definitely the weaker of the two Holocaust films on this list, but if you’re in for something sad, this’ll get the job done.
This comedy-drama focuses on Tallulah (Ellen Page), a homeless teenager who steals a baby from an alcoholic mother, and uses it to ingratiate herself into the life of her ex-boyfriend’s mother, Margo (Allison Janney).
This awkward film skillfully walks the line between comedy and tragedy. Sometimes it’s a heartwarming look at an increasingly dysfunctional family, other times it’s one of the saddest movies on Netflix. Either way, you’re in for tremendous performances from Janney and Page.
Paddleton follows neighbors and best friends Michael (Mark Duplass) and Andy (Ray Romano), as they come to grips with Michael’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. The film takes place over the few days after Michael decides not to seek treatment and instead take medication that will end his own life. Much of the story finds the two watching kung-fu movies, making pizza, and fighting over Michael’s decision.
It’s a touching and heartbreaking story of friendship and loss, full of all the inside jokes and habits that accumulate when two people have been friends for years. It’s without a doubt one of Netflix’s saddest comedies, let alone one of Netflix’s saddest movies.
Okja is rather perplexing to categorize. The Korean-American Netflix original from director Bong Joon-ho follows Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun), a young girl chasing her best friend across South Korea, and eventually the world, after she is kidnapped by a multinational corporation. If that sounds too mundane, Mija’s best friend is a genetically modified giant pig named Okja, bred specifically to be a new form of livestock.
This movie takes tragic, comic, and horrific turns in equal measure. It can shift in tone dramatically quicker and more skillfully than any other film. One moment it’s one of the saddest movies on Netflix, the other it’s one of the most absurd. At the center of it all is a star turn from Seo-hyun, backed by oddball supporting performances from Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, and Steven Yeun.
7. A Silent Voice
Based on a manga series of the same name, A Silent Voice is the follow-up anime feature from the creators of smash hit Your Name. The film follows depressed high school pariah Shoya as he tries to make amends to Shoko, a deaf girl he mercilessly bullied in elementary school. Shoya has lived with the guilt of his actions for years, and after a failed suicide attempt he decides to seek redemption.
A Silent Voice is a coming of age story about dealing with and accepting guilt, and the unintended consequences of casual cruelty children subject each other to. Don’t let the film’s colorful art style fool you, this is easily one of the saddest movies on Netflix.
This movie is so sad that watching it more than once is unbearable. In this heart-breaking story, Joy Newsome (Brie Larson) is kidnapped, raped, and held captive in a small room. She becomes pregnant and gives birth to Jack (Jacob Tremblay). This boy knows nothing but this small room, from which they later escape.
This film takes you through the adventure that it is to discover the outside world Jack has never seen. It is full of innocence, fears, and excitement.
9. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
This movie’s title won’t be the only thing that will have you shedding tears. This sweet film has multiple levels of sadness. Writer Juliet Ashton (Lily James) goes to the Guernsey island to learn about a book club with the same name. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was created while Nazis occupied the island. Four friends were out after curfew time and they invented this club on a whim to avoid prosecution.
Juliet visits the island and soon becomes invested in its people, the club, the town, and Dawsey (Michiel Huisman). Even sadder stories are uncovered as the story unfolds.
Cancer is no easy subject, especially when diagnosed to young people. 27-year-old Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) experiences this first-hand and is given a 50/50 chance of survival. This story takes you through a roller coaster of emotions as the protagonist fights cancer next to his friend Kyle and his therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick).
Of course, you can’t have too serious of a tone with Seth Rogen playing Kyle, Adam’s best friend. There is a little humor, but you can bet there will be some tears just waiting to come out during certain scenes too.
That’s it for our list of the best sad movies on Netflix. There are tons of other great options if you’re looking for more melodramatic stuff, but this should be a good start. Have fun (if you can)!