tug at the heartstrings

tear/tug/pull at/on (one's)/the heartstrings

To elicit strong feelings of sympathy or fondness. I don't know why, but that piece of music always tears at my heartstrings. That documentary really pulls on the heartstrings—you'll want to adopt all of those kids after watching it.
See also: heartstring, on, pull, tear, tug

tug at the heartstrings

or

tug at your heartstrings

COMMON If someone or something tugs at the heartstrings or tugs at your heartstrings, they cause you to feel pity or sadness. Miss Cookson knows exactly how to tug at readers' heartstrings. Note: You can use verbs such as pull and pluck instead of tug. Unlike many charity campaigns, it doesn't pull at the heartstrings. Note: You can also omit the word at. McLachlan tugs the heartstrings with a succession of ballads. Note: Heartstrings is used in many other structures and expressions with similar meanings. This is not a movie that aims for the heartstrings. Note: In medieval times, it was believed that `heartstrings' were tendons which supported the heart.
See also: heartstring, tug
References in periodicals archive ?
So making a seasonal stopover back in Bristol (Old People's Home for Four-yearolds at Christmas, Monday, 9pm, Channel 4) was always going to tug at the heartstrings.
LITTLE Oscar Turner gets a cuddle from his RAF airman daddy in a picture that will tug at the heartstrings of every military family.
Salinger, there is something special about simple narratives that tug at the heartstrings.
Headlining the event are The Lake Poets, aka Martin Longstaff, whose "beautiful and quietly devastating" music, never fails to enduce goosebumps and tug at the heartstrings.
For those looking for something authentic and raw, this moving documentary is sure to satisfy--not to mention tug at the heartstrings.
While the gothic auteur's leftfield filmmaking inevitably has a tendency to plunder the macabre for inspiration - his films are invariably awash with emotional depth that tug at the heartstrings while dispensing with the dictates of convention.
The presentation and design will tug at the heartstrings of every senior gamer with a penchant for speed, violence and gaming nostalgia.
GLORIOUS Beauty and the Beast can still tug at the heartstrings
The story, created by French street theatre company Royal de Luxe, is a poignant one and is bound to tug at the heartstrings of the thousands upon thousands of people who are expected to line the route.
While SOURCE CODE is an edge of the seat action thriller, The Impossible based on a true story of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand will tug at the heartstrings.
It shares the lush arrangements, bombastic percussion and eclectic instrumentation of his other band, along with silky, frayedat-the-edge vocals perfectly pitched to tug at the heartstrings.
He also knows how to tug at the heartstrings with anecdotes about players overcoming personal problems.
It's not only a bid to tug at the heartstrings of consumers, but also a sign of how important media is to the company's ongoing struggle for market share.
Yet here's Heather convinced she can tug at the heartstrings while nursing a pounds 24.