Top 10 Divorce Movies
Some to give Katie strength in the darker times; remind her that her girlfriends are so much more important than men and give her some top tips on burning her soon-to-be ex-husband and David Miscavige’s collection of matching black silk shirts. Some to make Johnny and Vanessa reassess their decision and climb back aboard for another go. And some to make you rejoice in the power of love, despair at the inadequacies of your own life and do that hiccupy laugh/cry thing into your tub of Ben and Jerry’s all alone on your sofa.
#10 One Fine Day
It’s possible you won’t recognize the title but I bet you’ve seen this during one of the days you looked pale enough to be allowed to lie on the sofa and drink Lucozade instead of going to school. It’s about two divorced parents in the form of Michelle Pfieffer and George Clooney who meet when they both fail to get their respective progeny on the bus for a school trip and have to spend the day looking after the kids. Will they get from the soccer game to the make-or-break presentation in time? Will the make-or-break presentation feature an epiphany for the presentation giver concerning being a better parent? Will the class goldfish survive the day? You bet. Except for the goldfish, he gets eaten by a cat. They hate each other, but then they hook up. You hang in there single parents of Manhattan!
#9 Waiting to Exhale
Yes Ladies! Four friends (including Whitney Houston and Angela Basset) lament their various men problems, dance around and burn their husbands’ clothes. Proving that men come and go but you’ve always got yo’ girlfriends! There’s divorce aplenty as well as learning to love yourself and making great candy yams. All four give a stonking performance and President Palmers in it. Glorious.
Watch Angela Basset burn her husband’s clothes here. It’s superb
#8 Old School
So, they’re not technically married but when Luke Wilson catches his long term girlfriend in the throes of an orgy he calls time on their relationship. He moves into a frat house complete with buds-for-life Vince Vaughan and Will Ferrell, and rekindles the awesomeness he’d lost being in a relationship. Ferrell, as Frank the Tank, actually does get divorced when his wife catches him streaking, therefore qualifying this masterpiece for the list and teaching us a powerful message about Bros before Hoes. David will always be there for you Tom. Who needs women?!
#7 The First Wives Club
Don’t get Mad, get Everything cheers the poster as Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn sport phenomenal white pant suits, seek revenge on the worthless ex-husbands who left them for younger models and perform a rendition of ‘You Don’t Own Me’ that became the karaoke power anthem of jilted women everywhere. Technically of course, Katie doesn’t qualify for this particular club. That prize belongs to Mimi Rodgers, who Tom left for Nicole Kidman, but slap a matching pant suit on Suri, Katie and belt out ‘You Don’t Own Me (Or My First Born and You Can’t Sell Her to Scientology)’.
Good luck even watching the trailer for this one without wanting to cry. An absolute laugh/cry/laugh/sob hysterically for the next week classic from the late 90s with Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts as the mother and the new girlfriend raising the kids. Obviously it’s an absolute cheese-fest but Roberts and Sarandon are so good that you forget that you’re watching a film about an ex-wife and a new girlfriend finding a bond deeper than the one they respectively have for the man that’s caused all the problems. Its possible you don’t know what happens so I won’t spoil anything, but trade your cynicism for a hanky and get ready for a film with a healthy disregard for your emotions.
#5 The Parent Trap
Oh Look at Liddle Lindsay Lohan before she ruined her life. Being all clever and playing BOTH PARTS and making us all wish that we went to summer camp and met our identical twin. Lets just all ignore the staggeringly poor parenting decision that makes the movie possible and focus on which twin has a better life – one has a pool but the other has lovely, lovely Natasha Richardson.
This is one of only two films in the Getting Back Together camp – what can we learn here? Don’t lie to your children? Love conquers all? Being good at poker is genetic? Whatever, someone swallows a lizard, it’s made it to number 5.
#4 The War of the Roses
‘If love is blind’, Danny DeVito intones ‘then marriage is like having a stroke’. A black comedy this one. Perhaps we could even call it a hilarious romp through a bitter and outrageous divorce battle while a couple once madly, sofa-jumpingly in love, try and kill each other. Oliver and Barbara Rose (WHAT a clever title) fight each other to the bitter end over their marital possession while DeVito, as the divorce lawyer telling their story years later to another client, tries to convince us to Settle Out Of Court. Maybe Tom and Katie have already seen this 80s morality tale and heeded Devito’s advice – quick, clean settlement and back to filming Oblivion. If they haven’t maybe we’ll let the dust settle a bit and watch this one in a few years when everyone’s ready to laugh about the whole thing.
#3 The Squid and the Whale
Not only an incredible divorce movie but also an incredible movie. We watch Laura Linney (Love Actually) and Jeff Daniels (Terms of Endearment, but more importantly 101 Dalmations) get bitterly divorced through the eyes of their teenage children, with Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) taking a turn as the confused and obnoxious 16 year old Walt. It’s a painful domestic tragedy told as a comedy with an exceptional cast and a stunning script. A real ‘rings true for every family’ film, but actually good.
*Bonus Totally Unrelated Fact* – The band Noah and the Whale takes its name from a combination of the director’s name (Noah Baumbach) and the film’s title
#2 Kramer vs. Kramer
Justifiably littered with Academy Awards, Kramer vs. Kramer is particularly remarkable for not picking sides and casting equal weight to the rights of both Meryl Streep, who leaves her husband and son to find herself, only to return 15 months later, and Dustin Hoffman as the workaholic dad who forms a real bond with his son in her absence. With court room drama, character assassinations and tears aplenty, this one might be a bit much for those fresh from their own legal custody battles, but definitely required viewing if you’re feeling emotionally stable.
#1 Mrs Doubtfire
The ultimate divorce movie. What is the announcement of divorce without a goat mournfully eating a birthday cake? Everyone and everything about this movie is perfect. ‘I miss Dad’ ‘Me too’ ‘Me three’. Oh God! And then she chooses silly old Robin Williams over Pierce Brosnan in his prime, proving that love triumphs over all. And Mara Wilson’s in it, before she decided at the age of ten that she’d made three perfect movies (Matilda, Mrs Doubtfire, Miracle on 34th Street) and that was quite enough perfection for one person thank you very much.