Have you ever cried while watching a movie? Not like one little tear in the corner of your eye but like really cried? Like, you’re really glad you brought tissues in your purse just in case kind of cried?

Us too, and we’re not afraid to admit it because it turns out that crying during a movie is not a sign of weakness. It’s actually the exact opposite. If you cry during a movie, it’s a sign that you connect well with other people, and it might make you a more generous person.

Really.

If you answered the first question honestly, most likely you’re in the majority of 92% of people who have cried during at least one movie. Don’t be afraid to admit it. Crying during a movie is a sign of empathy which is a key part of emotional intelligence.


Many great leaders have a high emotional intelligence, so we can only assume that they reach for the tissues while watching movies too.

Watching movies can also increase your empathy. When you watch a fictional movie, you’re relating to the characters, and you’re feeling emotions. You’re increasing your ability to feel compassion.

Why do movies make us cry? A lot of this has to do with oxytocin which is a hormone in the brain that helps us feel empathy and love. When we watch an emotionally charged movie, oxytocin is released.

One experiment done at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN proves this point. During the experiment, half of the participants watched part of a movie where a boy named Ben found out he had terminal brain cancer. The other half of the participants watched a different part of the movie where Ben and his dad went to the zoo.

The participants that watched the part with the sad diagnosis had a 47% increase in their oxytocin levels. Afterwards, when the participants were asked questions about money and people, these same participants were much more generous with their money and had more compassion for strangers. The people who donated money also felt happier than those who didn’t.

Image of little girl watching TV.


If you enjoy a good cry during a movie, you’re expanding your capacity to care about others in the process which might make you a more generous person and an overall happier human being.

Don’t forget that we don’t always cry just because a movie is sad. Sometimes the most tear-inducing scenes are very happy ones. Happy tears definitely count.

What’s your favorite movie to watch that makes you cry?