Five Movie Moments that Touched my Heart

Presenting five moments that personally touched this writer's heart to the core.
September 26, 2022

Ever since the movies (and movie going) began, we were already being under the spell of the movies themselves. They could touch us, make us think, make us nervous or feel very terrific indeed. And for more than one hundred years, the movies can take us in any direction we desired, some of which few people have ever dreamed of. Anyway, for this writer's fifteenth article here, I would like to present to all of you just five moments from any movie that really, personally touched my heart, beginning with...

  1. Dreams to Dream (Tanya's Version) from An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)

This is a animated film ballad of a song that is rather non-Disney, a very gentle but also very moving song featuring a collaboration of sorts between the singing vocal talents of Cathy Cavadini, otherwise most famous in so many circles for being the original voice of the Powerpuff Girls' commander and the leader Blossom, as well as the epic music scoring talent of the late great Titanic/Avatar/Braveheart/Apollo 13 composer, James Horner. Yes, like other female characters in the American Tail film franchise, Tanya Mousekewitz, the sister of An American Tail's more popular character Fievel himself, is at best memorable and at worst just plain marginal, at least outside of a subplot involving her so called 'epic dream-quest to sing a song to the whole entire world' in Fievel Goes West. And while in the first film by Don Bluth she is best known for singing a duet with her lost little brother called Somewhere Out There, some fans of Don Bluth's work (An American Tail included) still can't just stop complaining about her character for ignoring her little brother (who happened to be the aforementioned Fievel) in its first sequel, but here, character development ensues and Tanya's given a little more depth. She's a talented singer, but her shyness, and a lack of appreciation from friends and family alike stifles her (and in this fan made clip mashing up Tanya's attempt to sing outside her family's window with Donald Duck's hunger-infused breakdown in the 1947 Disney film Fun and Fancy Free, even Donald Duck himself doesn't like it when he hears Tanya sing beautifully outside the window!)

But once she and her fellow mice have moved out to the American frontier to seek new opportunities, however, she's given a chance to flourish.

Set against orchestral music courtesy of the aforementioned James Horner, Cavadini's angelic voice brings the wishes and motivations of Tanya to the forefront. The wishful tone of the lyrics and the soft intonations that build up to powerful high notes go hand in hand, and the animation, reminiscent of Don Bluth's work in the film's predecessor, brings Tanya's ingénue-like innocence to life. In addition, there is this sort of intimate request that she gives to an unknown person about going with her into her dream world so that she can show them what she’s truly like. It’s a very beautiful concept, indeed.

And also, If it's enough to make the villain stop acting like a bad guy for about two minutes and a half and be moved to tears, then it certainly shows you and I how beautiful “Dreams To Dream” really is. And I do remember tearing up in my eyes when Tanya launches into the final chorus of the Dreams to Dream song and proceeds to dance with Cat R. Waul's front paw.

And now, for number 2:

  1. Young Hub meets Princess Jasmine from Secondhand Lions (2003)

Yes, we all know the girl eventually dies in childbirth in this film and sure, I know this live action family film from 2003, Secondhand Lions, that is, and being a film about the power of storytelling, just so happened to be produced (along with Disney's 1993 film Hocus Pocus) by David Kirschner, the same guy who first conceived the idea and concept for An American Tail along with Steven Spielberg and Don Bluth back in the 1980s, and was released through New Line Cinema, the same studio that released the Lord of the Rings movies of Peter Jackson around the same time as this and the final LOTR film, Return of the King (which went on to tie with Ben-Hur (1959) and Titanic (1997) as the movie with the most Oscar wins (11, that is, including Best Picture), and of course you may or may not have seen that film Secondhand Lions, but nonetheless, you must understand how I myself really feel when the young version of one of the Secondhand Lions film's characters, Hub (played by Robert Duvall as an old man but played as a young man by Christian Kane), met Princess Jasmine (played by actress and animal welfare activist and painter Emmanuelle Vaugier) eye to eye and revealed her pretty face after the two characters raced each other on horseback across a North African beach on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea.

I mean, that moment in Secondhand Lions when Young Hub met Princess Jasmine (which is also the namesake of an African lioness which the two uncles in that movie, Hub and Garth happened to order and who is not to be confused under penalty of death with the Jasmine character in Disney's Aladdin)) eye to eye on a North African beach (after the two raced each other neck to neck on horseback) and revealed her beautiful face really, truly, madly and deeply touched my heart to its very core, even with Michael Caine's character (Garth) narrating the whole tale to Haley Joel Osment's character (Walter) and with Patrick Doyle's music score stirring on the soundtrack.

And trust me, It is like very touching, very beautiful, very romantic storytelling...absolute romance and love!

And now, moving on to number three:

  1. The Flying Dreams Lullaby from The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Now this one really makes me cry, especially with the combination of Jerry Goldsmith's legendary music scoring chops and Sally Stevens' beautiful vocals, all the while Mrs. Brisby's children watch her tend her sickly son Timothy (which is also the name of this writer) with the meds when Timmy was being struck with some kind of disease called pneumonia (and NO! Timothy Brisby didn't got bitten by a spider, remember!)

Anyway, this is by all likelihood still Don Bluth's best movie ever, though too bad Mrs. Brisby's voice actress Elizabeth Hartman didn't live longer to tell the tale!

And now for the fourth movie moment that really, personally, truly, madly and deeply touched my heart:

  1. WALL-E watches Hello, Dolly! (1969)'s "It Only Takes a Moment" scene from WALL-E (2008)

This moment also makes my cry as well, this time from a computer animated Pixar movie now getting the Criterion Collection treatment this coming November or so: 2008's WALL-E. In the film the robot of the title was enjoying the 1969 flop movie musical Hello, Dolly! when he stumbles upon the romance blossoming between Irene and Cornelius the latter being played by Michael Crawford, who went on to play Erik in the Phantom of the Opera musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber) as they sing “It Only Takes Moment” (presented in its original form below) and wishes for a partner himself, which turned out to be a white egg-shaped robot named EVE (or Eve-va as Wall-E would call her).

Aww, right in the feels there in my heart indeed!

And finally, last but not least, here is number five:

  1. Baby Mine from Dumbo (1941)

Now this part really makes me cry in its entirety, with Dumbo's mother barely able to reach her baby with her trunk through the bars of her tiny cage, being a heartbreaking example. he music alone is beautiful. It doesn't help that they mix Dumbo not being able to be with his mom with scenes of all the other baby animals being rocked to sleep by their mothers. Even Timothy Mouse sheds a Single Tear at this sight. Speaking of Timothy (who also shared this writer's first name as well as Mrs. Brisby's sickly son in the Secret of NIMH), ever wonder if he was probably thinking about his own mother at that moment? Anyway, there's a reason why animation historian Michael Barrier has praised this sequence—the emotions in the scene are so real, you can't help but share your sympathy with Ms. Jumbo and Dumbo.

Heck, it's even a famous enough tearjerker to become the subject of a gag in another movie. In Steven Spielberg's 1941 (1979), one of the characters (General Stilwell, played by Robert Stack in that film) goes to see Dumbo in theaters, 1941 being the year the film came out. There's the inevitable scene of him crying when "Baby Mine" starts. There's also the fates of unmanageable elephants back in those times and the very real possibility that Mrs. Jumbo knows this. If things hadn't worked out the way they did, these could have very easily been their last moments together. Finally, there's the end of the sequence, when Dumbo and his mother are forced to part ways, and hold onto each other's trunks until they can't anymore. He waves goodbye even as he's walking away, and she in turn races around to the other cage window so she can wave just a little longer. If that weren't sad enough, there used to be a movie poster depicting the scene, and shows all three characters (Dumbo, Mrs. Jumbo, and Timothy) crying, but I couldn't find it anywhere online.

The song takes on a whole new meaning when you consider that this movie was released only a couple months before the Japanese Empire's infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. When America entered World War II, many children would end up relating to Dumbo; their fathers would all be off fighting in the war (many of them would be killed in action (especially in the hands of German or Japanese soldiers), and thus never come back to their families), and their mothers would be working in the factories to take their husbands' place, too busy to be at home with their children. Even children today, especially ones who have parents that are either in prison or have a job that takes them far away from home, can relate to this scene and the song.

I also cried at Michael Crawford's rendition of the song from 2001 as well:

Anyway, my question is this:

What is your own top five movie moments that really, personally touched your own heart?

Feel free to write about what other movie moments touched your own hearts in the comments below this article. Good luck!

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