The art of ugly crying


When Catha, Amy and I decided to see The Fault in Our Stars on its opening weekend, we knew what to expect because we all read the book. Amy brought several folded Kleenex in her purse. I brought a baggie of Tootsie Rolls in mine. I knew I would probably cry a little, but that’s what my sleeve is for, right? I thought I would dab a tear here and sniff a bit there. No big deal. I knew what was coming.

What I didn’t expect was the flood of snotty nosed, hiccuping, gasping, full on ugly crying. In fact, it was one step beyond ugly crying because I was trying to hold the ugly crying together which, as everyone knows, makes ugly crying almost unbearable to witness. Thank goodness I was in a darkened theater. (And a lot of good those Tootsie Roll wrappers did me in the blowing my nose department.)

Then, the ugly crying suddenly switched to giggling and I had to hold THAT down in the depths of my soul. My conscience scolded me, wagging her finger, demanding that I PULL IT TOGETHER. This is a somber moment! DON’T LAUGH, YOU HEARTLESS JACK WAGON!

I’m not one to laugh when things are sad. In fact, if you cry, I guarantee that I will cry right along with you. The reason I had to hold in my giggles is because at the precise moment I was trying to suppress the gut-wrenching sobs, I heard no less than 90% of the audience trying to do the same thing! Including my friends to my right and my left. Catha was regular crying. Amy was nervously balling up her tear-soaked Kleenex, trying to save one of the tissues she had left because there was at least 30 minutes remaining. The high school girls behind us were grunting, quietly sobbing and murmuring sentiments under their breath.

To quote the lead character Hazel Grace, “We’re a hot mess.”

After the movie, we filed into the bathroom. And by “we” I mean ALL of us in theater six. There were puffy eyes, red noses, emotional exhaustion and one lady holding an entire box of Kleenex. She was clearly the smartest one of us all. Amy and Catha both agreed that they hadn’t cried that much since Steel Magnolias.

Ah yes. That is what we do. We come together to cry, laugh and cry again over poignant dialog and lost love. Just as the men in our lives flock to see Spartans rip each other to shreds with swords, women flock to have their emotions ripped to shreds by the words of a young adult novel screenplay.

As the credits rolled and I sat in snotty silence, two things remained:

1. I will always root for true love.
2. Cancer sucks.

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June 12, 2014 12:36 pm

I not only ugly cried (trying to hold it in). I cried the next day listening to the soundtrack! AND, I just got teary reading this post! It hurts so good.

June 12, 2014 12:44 pm

Amen Joanna. Amen.

Laura Lynn
Laura Lynn
June 12, 2014 1:18 pm

I’m going to see it tomorrow. I had already planned on smuggling a whole box of Kleenex for my friend and me. Maybe I should smuggle in two?!? I ugly cried during the book, so I’m sure it will be worse during the movie! Can’t wait to see it. The book was excellent, even though it was so sad.

June 12, 2014 2:00 pm

I SOBBED my way through the book – twice – definitely cried less at the movie, though the eulogy scene and the scene with Hazel sobbing in her bed when her parents come in to break the news totally got me! My 15 year old daughter had seen it the day before with her friends (all 6 were red-eyed when I picked them up) and came back the next day to see it with me as she had promised – She kept looking over at me to see if I was crying – which I think kept me in check!!

June 12, 2014 2:44 pm

I have been debating on if I want to subject myself to the tears, in public. I read the book and did okay through the book, but am easy to cry in the movies. I have also had moments of holding in the laugh for the same reason.

June 12, 2014 3:16 pm

I’ve officially decided to wait for it to come out on DVD!

June 12, 2014 3:59 pm

I haven’t read the book and I have zero interest now! I do not like suffering and crying my eyes out!

June 12, 2014 5:37 pm

My daughter and I went to The Night Before Our Stars. We both have read the book several times and couldn’t wait to see it together. It was a theater full of mom’s and their daughters crying their eyes out. There was applause at the beginning, the middle (at the Anne Frank house) and the end. There were sighs (the scene in Amsterdam) and laughter. My daughter sobbed through the whole thing and I cried but I think I thought I had to hold it together for her. A beautiful movie. Meet Esther Earl the girl who inspired the movie… Read more »

June 13, 2014 10:20 am

I’m about an hour away from being finished with the audio book. I haven’t ugly cried yet, but mostly because I’m listening while driving on my commute and know that I can’t show up for work with puffy eyes (plus ugly crying while driving is super dangerous). I haven’t seen the movie yet but I just watched that trailer & that made me cry, so I think it’s a sure bet that the ugly cry is coming.

Susan Bezecny
Susan Bezecny
June 13, 2014 8:16 pm

Lincee, thanks for the info about this book/movie. I’ve seen many tear-jerkers (Places in the Heart, Terms of Endearment – yes I’m 59 years old) and loved them all. I will definitely see this one with my girlfriend, not my husband. I raised three boys, so I need these moments.

June 16, 2014 12:46 pm

Cried tears of fire hose proportions. I had already read the book so I knew what was coming, but I found the movie WAY more sad than the book.

June 16, 2014 4:29 pm

I saw the Nicholas Sparks movie – The Last Song at the Studio Movie Grill that was filled with teenaged girls. When it started getting sad – I couldn’t BE sad – because all the kids in the movie were BOO HOO crying – SOBBING – it became comical. I felt like there should be therapists at the door to pass out cards or do some one-on-one counseling for these kids with some major Dad issues…. sigh. The saddest was the birthday party in front of us…. all the girls were sobbing uncontrollably. The poor mom who had planned this… Read more »

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