I’m not one of those girls who cries at movies. I mean, I have cried at movies…just not very often. Why is that? Is it the whole suspension of disbelief thing? Maybe. Oftentimes I just can’t seem to muster sufficient empathy for characters I know don’t really exist.

With that said, there are as always, exceptions to the rule. Incredibly, specific cinematic conditions do exist under which I am almost guaranteed to turn into a puddle of tears. See? Not completely made of stone.

Ready? Here it is…

When the premise of the movie deals with a horrific catastrophe and/or test of the human spirit AND involves children

If we’re being fully honest here, it’s more the children than the horrific catastrophe that tests the limits of human endurance that really gets me. Pretty sure it’s not a huge revelation to anyone that the sight of small, innocent children in the midst of despair will wrench your guts and squeeze unwilling tears out of the most hardened, unfeeling person. Even when the children in question aren’t flesh and blood but ink and imagination.

That’s right. I watched an animated feature and cried my eyes out through the majority of the film. I was so traumatized that to this day I still refuse to watch this movie again for fear of a repeat meltdown. Even worse, I was feeling especially masochistic one day and found out that the story is semi-autobiographical—meaning that some or all of the events in the movie actually happened. In real life. All I could think was that if that had happened to me, I’m not sure I’d have had the fortitude to relive that chapter of my life, much less write a book and have a movie made about it. But then again, everyone’s catharsis works in different ways.

In any case, for the emotional masochists out there, Grave of the Fireflies is a really good movie. Just be sure to have plenty of tissues and/or an extra-absorbent sleeve handy.

Oh, and you’ll probably never be able to look at a tin of these again without experiencing a twinge in the general region of your tear ducts.

You’ve been warned.