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Hollywood and Divorce

Hollywood and DivorceThere have been many instances throughout pop culture where divorce has been dramatized both on the big screen and in TV programs. Some movies have taken a light hearted approach bordering on the absurdity of the strain a marriage can put on both men and women. While others have taken a serious and in-depth look at the failure of this ingrained institution and it’s after effects on children and the peripheral parties involved. While there are too many quality movies to list let’s take a look at some prominent ones that both touch on the ridiculousness failure that marriage can become as well as the serious nature that broken love can have on us as people and our society.




Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Probably the most recognized and successful movie critically, containing dramatic and emotional elements about family dissention and divorce. Kramer vs. Kramer stars Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Steep as Ted and Johanna Kramer. Justin Henry plays their son Billy. The plot revolves around the subsequent divorce of Ted and Johanna. After not being around much or knowing his son Billy, Ted is forced to be a single parent and attempts to bond with Billy. Over a year after walking out, Johanna returns and a heated and emotional custody battle begins. Kramer vs. Kramer won 5 academy awards including:

  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman)
  3. Best Director (Robert Benton)
  4. Best Adapted Screenplay (Robert Benton)
  5. Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep)

Kramer vs. Kramer was not only successful but significant in its equal portrayal of perspectives form both the male and female side. Released in 1979 it came out at a time where divorce was moving from taboo subject matter to mainstream understanding within our society and marks a cultural shift towards our now modern understanding about divorce and the affects it has on children and families.

The War of the Roses (1989)

Starring Michael Douglas, Danny Devito and Kathleen Turner this dark comedy takes in house marriage battles to a whole new realm. Turner and Douglas play a successful married couple who at the beginning seem happy. Tuner (Barbara Rose) eventually becomes restless and begins to completely despise Douglas (Oliver Rose). After attempting to file for divorce and throw him out, in which Oliver finds a snag in the system to stay, the two proceed to begin a deeply personal and bitter battle to one-up each other. From running over cats to trapping one in a heated sauna, The War of the Roses uses absurdity and comedy to play out a much hated battle. Danny Devito co-stars as Michael Douglas’s lawyer and the story is told through his recollecting while giving advice to a current client. The War of the Roses has since become a classic movie in itself and is a staple when talking about divorce related movies.

The Squid and the Whale (2005)

The Squid and the Whale Takes a more modern dramatic and critical look at the affects of divorce and separation on children. Starring Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney as a married couple there becomes separated the story revolves around the perspectives of their two sons, played by Jessie Eisenberg and Owen Kline respectively. This 2005 film takes a grittier and psychological look into the behavior kids can exhibit at different ages when faced with a family breakdown.  Due to confusion and lack of communication the 2 sons take separate sides on which parent could be blamed for the separation and divorce. Both children emit obvious cries for help by engaging in various obscene and sometimes deviant behaviors. The Squid and the Whale was a critical success gaining awards at the Sundance Film Festival and Golden Globes as well as garnering an Academy award nomination for best original screenplay.

Many more insightful dramatizations about families, divorce and their affects have been made. These are just three prominent ones, each taking different views and made in 3 different decades. Personal relationships and their affects are often deeply analyzed by many facets in our modern society. At online divorce forms website,we understand and sympathize with people’s ongoing search in figuring out what people need to make us happy.


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