10 Heart-Breaking Moments Of Self-Realisation That Defined Great Movies

These pin-pricks are the real spectacles.

Groundhog Day Toaster
Columbia Pictures

Twisty plots and grand or shocking narrative events are the bread and butter of the more spectacular of Hollywood movies: they are what bring audiences almost to their feet, whether with something as simple as a jump in the dark, or the revelation that it was all just a dream anyway.

They're also the lazy man's answer to entertainment; the easy route to guarantee engagement.

Far more complex, and more affecting are the more subtle emotional penny-drop moments where we watch a character realise with horror, or downright devastation that something terrible is about to happen, or has happened, or that basically, their life is an awful lot more screwed than they could ever have imagined.

These pin-pricks are the real spectacles in movies, requiring tight writing, sharp acting and investment from the audience, which is why they are often profoundly memorable, despite their comparative brevity. First up, a moment of self-realisation that hasn't happened yet, but which definitely should soon...

Honourable Mention

Die Hard - John McClane Is Too Old For This Sh*t

die hard
20th Century Fox

There's an awful moment in every man's life when they discover that their heroes are just normal guys: can't fight off demons, can't protect against possessed robots, can't shoo off would be robbers. That's the awful moment when the penny finally drops, and you realise that these paragons of strength and honour would probably push you out of the way to run away from even the most hapless of villainous henchmen.

It must be even worse for genuine heroes to discover their own limitations: cut from granite, and stood on a sturdy foundation of infallibility and heroics, their fall into normalcy is subsequently more spectacular and more devastating.

You would think at his age John McClane would have had that notion, since he was already world-weary and exacerbated after the first three Die Hards. Sadly, Bruce Willis doesn't seem to have had that moment yet when he realises that he is too old for the characters he is still playing, and particularly McClane, so he will carry on, even beyond the point (the last film) that he was all but relegated to being a supporting character in his own franchise.

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