It’s happy endings that make me cry, especially in films.
I can remember one of the very first films I cried at – an old film about the San Francisco earthquake (with Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Jeannette Macdonald). At the end, when they’re all camped out above the burning city, a boy runs up the hill shouting ‘The fires are out!’ and they march to the top of the hill, look out over the ruined, smouldering city and sing ‘San Francisco, open your Golden Gate …’ well, I’m in floods of tears!
Another film which ALWAYS makes me cry, even though I’ve seen it many times, is ‘Apollo 13’. The astronauts, after an agonising wait, finally break the radio silence. Years ago, I watched it actually happening on TV and cheered. But in the film, it’s the reactions of all the families and the Houston crew that make the tears flow, every single time!
I cried at the end of ‘The Incredible Journey’ when Shadow, the golden retriever, eventually appeared. I cried when Hugh Jackman found Nicole Kidman after Darwin had been bombed in ‘Australia’. For heavens’ sake, I even cried at the end of ‘Toy Story 3’ when the toys found a happy new home!
I cry at the end of ‘Carousel’ when Billy makes his peace with Julie, I cry when the family escape to safety over the mountains in ‘Sound of Music’, I cry when Emile re-appears at the end of ‘South Pacific’– in fact, a lot of musicals make me cry.
It doesn’t happen as much with books – except when Jane Eyre finally comes home to her Mr. Rochester.
If a reader ever tells me that the happy ending of any of my books has made them cry, then I’ll know I got it right!