Best Top 10 films about divorce you must watch

October 5, 2022
Lori C. 0
Lists, RSC Originals

This article discusses the Best Top 10 films about divorce you must watch.

Sometimes marriages end, and there’s no shortage of movies portraying relationships breaking down. Paramount+ film Significant Other is set to approach the dissolution of a partnership from a horror genre perspective, while other films over the decades have handled divorce in a more dramatic, sometimes comedic manner. Here is our pick of the best films that use divorce as a central part of their narrative.

Best Top 10 films about divorce you must watch

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

At the top of our list stands the all-time classic divorce flick, Kramer vs. Kramer. Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep star as Ted and Joanna, a married couple going through a divorce and an ugly custody battle. The film does an excellent job at portraying the growing bond between workaholic Ted and the son he previously neglected and at showing the nuances that can be found even in complicated situations. 

It’s Complicated (2009)

This charming late 2000s romantic comedy centers on a woman (Meryl Streep) whose husband (Alec Baldwin) leaves her for a younger model (Lake Bell). The two former spouses find themselves involved in a romantic affair, while at the same time Streep’s character is being courted by her architect (Steve Martin). It’s Complicated takes a more lighthearted approach to the breakdown of marriage, and it’s worth watching for Streep’s radiant performance alone. 

Marriage Story (2019)

Despite its title, this film is mostly focused on what happens at the end of a marriage. Specifically, the divorce proceedings between Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver). The pair have to navigate their feelings for each other, the ramification of one’s affair, splitting custody and sharing their assets. It’s no wonder Marriage Story was highly critically acclaimed when it came out three years ago. 

The War of the Roses (1989)

No divorce film list would be complete without the War of the Roses. This 1989 classic starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito shows just how ugly divorce can get. The black comedy centers on married couple Oliver and Barbara Rose as they become increasingly more determined to sabotage the other’s life, career and even safety. It’s a hilarious yet tragic story. 

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) 

Starring the late legendary comic, Robin Williams, Mrs. Doubtfire is the touching tale of an actor who, after separating from his wife, disguises himself as an elderly nanny so he can be closer to his kids. The film also stars Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan.

Stepmom (1998) 

Directed by Chris Columbus (known for producing three of the Harry Potter films), Stepmom is a heartwarming film about two women coming together for a common goal. Susan Saradon plays Jackie, a terminally ill divorced mother coming to terms with knowing her ex-husband’s new girlfriend will be looking after their children when she’s gone. The movie offers a touching look at the unlikely bond the two women forge with each other. 

The Squid And The Whale (2005) 

With an all-star cast and a poignant story, The Squid and the Whale is a comedy drama showing the ups and downs of a family’s breakup. The award-winning film stars Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline as two boys who find themselves stuck in the middle and forced to take sides during their parent’s (Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney) complicated divorce proceedings. Anna Paquin and William Baldwin also feature in supporting roles. 

Heartburn (1986)

Starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, this film is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Nora Ephron. Heartburn is centered on the tumultuous marriage of its two leads. The movie uses its runtime to explore themes like marriage, infidelity and the limitations of love. 

Blue Valentine (2010)

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in this tear-jerker that tries to answer a question many divorced couples have: What went wrong? The highly critically acclaimed film Blue Valentine shows scenes of the pair meeting and falling in love intertwined with scenes from their present. A present in which their love has all but disappeared and their relationship is on the verge of dissolution. 

The Parent Trap (1998)

Lindsey Lohan’s very first full feature, The Parent Trap follows two twin girls (both played by Lohan) in their attempts to bring their two divorced parents back together. This is probably the most lighthearted movie on this list, but it’s still relevant as it shows how a marriage breakdown often has the most profound effect on children.

Do you have any other recommendations for films about divorce? Let us know!


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