Science fiction can be one of the most gut-wrenching and heartbreaking movie genres because it forces us to face the downsides of technology and how that impacts the human experience. A user on a popular online forum asked sci-fi lovers to recommend the biggest tearjerkers in the genre. Fans came together in the comments to share their suggestions.
1. Interstellar (2014)
This epic sci-fi space exploration film takes place in a future where the apocalypse looms overhead. As the Earth’s resources dwindle, a NASA physicist creates a wormhole that allows explorers to venture across space to find a new hospitable planet for humanity.
2. Gattaca (1997)
Gattaca is a dystopian sci-fi romance movie that follows a man with “invalid” DNA whose dreams of traveling into space are dashed by his genetics. But when the man gets his hands on a “valid’s” DNA, he uses it to embark on an outer space mission. There, he meets a woman and falls in love, but can he live the life he’s always wanted without getting caught?
3. Arrival (2016)
When five alien spaceships land in twelve different areas across the globe, a team of researchers attempts to figure out why the extraterrestrials chose to visit. But can they discover the truth before people’s fear of the unknown causes a world war?
4. Contact (1997)
Contact follows one scientist who is the first to exchange a message with aliens. When she proves that the signal she received was indeed evidence of extraterrestrial life, she must contend with regulations set by a National Security Advisor while evading a fanatical religious group that opposes alien communication. Can she decode the message before outside forces stop her?
5. Children of Men (2006)
In a dystopian world full of violence and war, infertility is on the rise, threatening a swift end of the human race. When the youngest person alive is killed, a beaurocrat gets abducted by a strange militant group and is tasked with a risky journey to protect a young refugee.
6. Never Let Me Go (2010)
Never Let Me Go is a twisted dystopian romance story in a world where science allows people to live far past the age of 100. To produce this longevity of human life, people must clone themselves and use their clone’s organs once their original ones fail. The film follows three clones who grow up together and the love triangle that forms between the best friends.
7. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
In a futuristic world where intelligent, emotionless robots assist humanity, the first-ever robot boy with the ability to love moves in with a family to test his abilities. But because the robot boy occupies a strange middle space between human and machine, he struggles to find acceptance in a black-and-white world.
8. The Iron Giant (1999)
The Iron Giant is a family sci-fi adventure film about a massive extraterrestrial robot that lands on Earth after an accident. As a young boy plays outdoors, he stumbles upon the vast robot, and the two become fast friends. But when the government catches wind of the boy’s colossal machine friend, the boy and the Iron Giant try with all their might to keep the robot out of harm’s way.
9. In Time (2011)
This intense sci-fi film takes place in a world where humans stop aging at 25 and begin to rely on their wealth to keep them alive. The richer the person, the more time they have to enjoy life. A poor man who adds just enough time to his clock each day to survive receives a generous gift after saving a wealthy man from harm, but officials believe his luck to be sinister and chase him down. Can the man evade the authorities and finally live a long, relaxing life?
10. Moon (2009)
When the world struggles with an oil shortage, they begin to harvest a new energy source on the Moon. One man nearing the end of his three-year stint at the lunar oil mine discovers a man who looks exactly like him after an accident. Can he get to the bottom of the mystery without his A.I. assistant stepping in the way?
11. District 9 (2009)
District 9 is a tragic sci-fi film about an alien race that comes to Earth as refugees to seek a chance at a new life. The aliens are stuck in a refugee camp called District 9, where they’re segregated from humanity, treated like vermin, and used as test subjects. But when a human field agent begins to turn into one of the aliens, he seeks refuge inside the camp.
12. Silent Running (1972)
Silent Running occurs in a world where the Earth is now hostile to plant life, forcing humans to head into space. On one spaceship, one man’s job is to protect a greenhouse full of earthly plants to preserve them for generations. But when he’s ordered to destroy his greenhouse to make room for more cargo, he and his crew of intelligent robots do whatever it takes to keep the plants alive.
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