Sad Movie Survival Tips: How to Feel Good About Feeling Bad When “War Horse” Makes You Cry

Today’s a special day for War Horse News. I’m turning over the reins for this post to my friend and fellow blogger Rhonda Lane, of The Horsey Set, who addressed a subject that is a concern to many people. Her advice is sage. In fact, we might wonder about you if you didn’t tear up at some point during War Horse. But please don’t let your fear of crying keep you home.


As I write this, two short but longawaited words–War Horsehave shown up on cinema marquees. Glowing reviews from advance screenings of the film have already peppered social media and the press.

Joey (he’s the main character–the actual war horse) won’t win the Kentucky Derby, but he might win an Oscar or two. People who’ve seen the movie seem to love it. Oscar buzz about War Horse has been humming for a couple of months.

After all, the Broadway production of War Horse won a Tony Award for Best Play. This live-action film with Steven Spielberg at the helm has a good shot at more accolades.

“I’m worried that I’ll cry”

Kleenex in the seats at OprahAmong all the glowing comments from the lucky ones who’ve seen the movie already are quiet little voices wondering, “Is it safe to see? Will I cry?”

First, you won’t be the only one crying in the theater. Count on it.

Second, did you ever think that maybe you need a good cry? I’m pretty sure I do. I’m pretty sure we all do. Some experts see sad movies as cathartic and therapeutic.

Please don’t run away and swear you won’t see the movie. I think it’s important to see it, especially for those of us who love horses. But I believe tears aren’t bad, so I want to offer you some “Sad Movie Survival Tips.”

Heck, I can’t watch the trailer without crying, and I’ve seen the stage play. I know who lives to go home and who doesn’t – unless Mr. Spielberg and team changed the ending.


Sad Movie Survival Tips

1. Accept that you’re going to cry, but know that you won’t be alone. There’ll be sniffing and blubbering all over the theater. Even among the guys.

2. Take tissues. Or, less pleasant, grab napkins from the popcorn stand before you sit down. They’re scratchy and dissolve too fast, but they’ll do in a pinch.

3. Also, decide ahead of time what you’ll do with your tear-drenched discards. Littering the floor would be uncool.

4. Consider taking some dry paper towels from home to sponge off your face with cool water after the movie. Paper towels from the theater bathroom are scarce these days and, if available, can be dry and abrasive.

5. Go with someone you don’t mind knowing–or seeing–that you are crying.

Still uncertain?

If you absolutely must know who lives and who dies and especially if you need to know if Joey the horse and Albert his friend make it home, please email me at remlane at gmail dot com.

But listen carefully to the trailers. I believe the clues are there.

Rhonda Lane, The Horsey Set

Rhonda Lane writes one of my favorite blogs, The Horsey Set. She is a native of Kentucky who now lives and writes in Connecticut. She’s currently working on a mystery novel. Follow Rhonda on Twitter (I do!): @RhondaLane

Rhonda also believe it’s important for horse lovers to see the movie as soon as they can after Christmas Day. Be sure to read why.


Credits: Photo of popcorn box by Jermil Sadler, theater audience by Tom DeCort, tissue box on theater seat by Courtney Bower. Thanks!


Be brave! Entrench yourself in WAR HORSE NEWS on the web: 1) Bookmark; 2) Grab the RSS feed; 3) Follow @WarHorseNews on Twitter; 4) “Like” the War Horse News page on Facebook; 5) Circle War Horse News on Google +. Leave your questions and comments here on the blog and we’ll try to help you! WAR HORSE NEWS is written for moviegoers, horse lovers and history buffs by horse-specialist journalist Fran Jurga and hosted by
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25 Responses to “Sad Movie Survival Tips: How to Feel Good About Feeling Bad When “War Horse” Makes You Cry”

  1. Toni Andrews says:

    Tissues? Check! Paper towels? Check! Dark glasses to drive home? Check!

    I don’t mind crying at movies–I rather enjoy it. And, guys, I once dated a guy for about six months because he cried at the movie he took me to for our first date.

  2. Marian Lanouette says:

    Hi Rhonda, I hope you had a great Christmas. I can’t wait to see this movie. Marian

  3. Kristan says:

    I’ve considered renting the entire theater so I can see the movie all alone and therefore won’t have to worry about my sobbing disturbing the other viewers. Thanks for the tips, Rhonda! Will bring the BJ’s-sized tissue box!

  4. Rhonda Lane says:

    Thanks, Fran, for letting me join in here and for all your kind words.

    A lot of people would love to see War Horse, but they’re afraid they’ll get too upset.

    I believe a little prep beforehand will blunt the damage without destroying the movie’s suspense. .

  5. Katy Lee says:

    Thanks for the survival tips. I will need them for sure! I know I’ll be bawling. :(

  6. Casey Wyatt says:

    Omigosh Rhonda, that thought totally crossed my mind. And you know after the year I’ve had saying goodbye to three of my beloved pets, the last thing I want to do is cry. But you are right – I survived ET (another Spielburg weeper) when I a kid (it was the only time I ever saw my father cry) and Titanic (when the entire theater was in tears). So, I guess I could survive this too.

    Thanks for the sage advice!!

    • Rhonda Lane says:

      Ah, Casey, you hit on a nerve here. As you know, I had a loss this year, too. One of the toughest things to see in this movie, besides the grimness of war, is how the human characters dea lwith loss, even “anticipatory loss.” My husband says that’s what got to him the most. Considering the year you’ve had, I greatly appreciate your comment, even that you’re considering going to see this movie.

  7. Gail Ingis says:

    I rode as a teenager, but when I got thrown off one time too many I gave up. But I love the structure of the horse. There is something about the horse that pulls me into the image, the strength, the beauty.

    Have a wonderful rest of this holiday, and blessings for 2012.

    • Rhonda Lane says:

      Thank you, Gail. Like you, I haven’t had the best experiences in the saddle but I love to look at horses, too. I like to watch them move and interact with them. Anyway, thanks for commenting, thank you for the holiday wishes. Right back atcha!

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  9. Rhonda gives great advice! Exactly why I am reluctant to see the movie. After reading Rhonda’s comments and advice, I might give it a try! I love horses and hope they regain a place in my life! Thank you!

    • Rhonda Lane says:

      Hi, Marcia – You might want to read the book first. That I’d seen the play before the movie helped me immensely. No matter what you do to prepare, you’re in for an emotional experience. Maybe, too, you might want to go to an early enough showing to have time to decompress before bedtime? I’m a big believer in Just In Case. :) Anyway, thanks for stopping by to say “hello.”

  10. Jamie says:

    Hi Rhonda!

    I think I’ll wait for video so I can cry on my couch. I hate it when animals get hurt in movies. People, no problem. But animals, makes me so sad. :D That being said, I bought the book for my 16-year-old nephew for Christmas. Thanks for the tips and a great post! — Jamie

    • Rhonda Lane says:

      Hi, Jamie – I understand. Plus, I’m sure the DVD will be loaded with Special Features. :) Maybe your nephew will loan you his copy? There are some differences, but maybe reading the book first might give you clues so you won’t be emotionally blindsided by some of the big plot developments? Anyway, thank you for stopping by.

  11. susan says:

    Thanks, Rhonda – it’s on my list of things to do this week. 1) see War Horse and 2) cry my eyes out. Only problem is if I want my son to see me blubbering.

    • Rhonda Lane says:

      Hi, Susan – I can see where it might be difficult to maintain the family “game face.” Maybe you could turn it into a “learning experience?” The movie does show a time as our surprisingly recent past in which animals were regarded mainly as tools.

  12. Patti Cavaliere says:

    I can’t even talk about the movie without getting choked up, but I won’t miss it because I hope the movie industry will be encouraged to make more movies like this one showing the incredible bond that develops between animals and people.

    • Rhonda Lane says:

      Hi, Patti – I can’t even watch the trailer without misting up. I like your attitude, though, of “let’s get out there and show the movie industry we want more like THIS.” Or to paraphrase the cavalry command, “Be Brave! Be Brave!” Cuz even though we won’t be charging into an enemy camp when we go to the theater, our emotions, moods and energies we present to the world later in the day are on the line.

  13. Rhonda Lane says:

    Ah, Toni – That says a lot about a man’s comfort with his own emotions. \ ‘War Horse’ as Date Movie\ – what a great idea!

  14. Rhonda Lane says:

    Kristan – The movie’s good and loud with lots of swelling orchestral music, like a John Ford western with Dolby. :) A BJ’s-sized box is a great idea. Enjoy the weeper. It’s a love story, after all. Maybe the John Ford joke isn’t too far off? And thanks for stopping by.

  15. Carlene says:

    Thank you for these tips Rhonda. I’ve been on the fence about Hugo and War Horse. But you’re right, sometimes we just need to cry. And, if Once Upon A Time’s Huntsman can do it, then so can I…and my son and my hubby!

  16. Rhonda Lane says:

    Hi, Carlene – You might want to read the book first before you go see “War Horse.” You’ll still have suspense to enjoy, but you won’t be blown away. I still haven’t seen “Hugo,” and I’ve heard good things about that one (hadn’t realized there’d be possible weepies there.)

  17. Great post, but I can’t watch movies about horses, clowns, or orphaned deer movies since I was like six. Now, I have a fear of uncontrollable public weeping in movie theaters – so although your advice is sound, I will likely see it when I can watch it at home:(…

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