Films on Divorce

Divorce Wars (2011)

Documentary CNBC Originals 2011 TV-PG 43m. CNBC Originals takes you inside the battle for control, power and revenge that comes when couples become combatants. Powerful people suddenly find themselves powerless as they discover how great wealth can be a liability.

The War of the Roses

Drama 1989 R 116 minutes. Danny DeVito directs and co-stars in this explosive portrayal of a 17-year marriage gone wrong. Oliver (Michael Douglas) and Barbara (Kathleen Turner) Rose are calling it quits as a couple, but neither wants to give up ownership of their house. Instead of going about an amicable negotiation, they declare all-out war on each other, with alternately hilarious and horrifying results. Sean Astin and Heather Fairfield co-star as their neglected children. See Full Review

Kramer vs. Kramer

Drama 1979 PG 105 minutes. Ted (Dustin Hoffman) is a career-driven yuppie — until he finds out his dissatisfied wife (Meryl Streep) is leaving him and their 6-year-old son. But just as Ted begins to love being a full-time parent, his wife reappears to reclaim the boy. Poignant and beautifully acted, this cinematic tearjerker swept the 1979 Academy Awards, winning Oscars for Hoffman and Streep in addition to Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay honors.

Eddie Murphy: Raw

Documentary 1987 R 1hr 30m. Filmed live during two concerts at Madison Square Garden, this stand-up comedy classic showcases Eddie Murphy in a series of uproarious observations about the unfairly high cost of divorce and its tendency to make him remain single, plus celebrity impressions, remembrances of his childhood and much more.

Ruthless People

Dark Comedy 1986 R 93 minutes. Unscrupulous Bel-Air millionaire Sam (Danny DeVito) plans to murder his shrewish wife, Barbara (Bette Midler). But when he arrives home to do the deed, he finds she’s been kidnapped. The kidnappers (Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater) ask for $500,000 in ransom or they’ll kill her. Sam, naturally, believes this to be the answers to his prayers. But Barbara and her kidnappers have other plans. Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker co-direct.

Divorce: Guiding You Through the Process

Documentary 2008 NR 120 minutes. Learn everything you need to know about the ins and outs of divorce with this helpful instructional program. Whether you’re in the process of becoming divorced or just contemplating it, the information here will help guide your decisions. Five experts share their knowledge and tips on topics including the legal process of divorce, handling the emotional fallout, co-parenting, financial success, setting goals and more.

Kids & Divorce: For Better or Worse

Documentary 2006 NR 60 minutes. Hosted by journalist Dave Iverson, this program explores the best ways for families to manage the repercussions of divorce, focused primarily on helping kids through the emotional process. Through interviews with children and parents, insight from legal experts and child psychologists, and an examination of the current judicial system, this video offers a structure for dealing with a difficult experience, one shared by millions of Americans.

Why Did I Get Married?

Romantic Comedy 2007 PG-13 118 minutes. In this big-screen adaptation of Tyler Perry’s stage hit, eight married college friends gather for a weeklong reunion in the snowy mountains of Colorado. But a startling revelation of infidelity sets off a chain reaction of soul searching.

Why Did I Get Married Too?

Romantic Comedy 2010 PG-13 121 minutes. An annual Caribbean retreat turns into a week of life-altering revelations when four couples bust their relationships wide open in filmmaker Tyler Perry’s take on modern love, devotion, unfaithfulness and forgiveness.

The Squid and the Whale

Drama 2005 R 81 minutes. This insightful indie drama looks at the crumbling marriage between a self-centered novelist — whose career is waning — and his up-and-coming writer wife. Meanwhile, the warring couple’s two sons are caught in the cross fire.

Le Divorce

Romantic Comedy 2003 PG-13 117 minutes. When charming young American Isabel Walker (Kate Hudson) travels to Paris to visit her expat sister, Roxanne (Naomi Watts), she finds that Roxanne’s philandering French husband has abandoned her at her eighth month of pregnancy. Isabel wants to help Roxanne untangle herself from the mess, but soon is enmeshed in her own romantic folly in this Merchant-Ivory comedy of manners based on Diane Johnson’s best-selling novel of the same name.

Far from Heaven

Drama 2002 PG-13 108 minutes. When she finds her husband (Dennis Quaid) with another man, a Connecticut housewife (Julianne Moore) finds herself dealing with infidelity and the racial tension that epitomized the late 1950s at the advent of the Civil Rights movement in America. As a coping mechanism to deal with the emotional turmoil, she develops an unlikely friendship with her African-American gardener (Dennis Haysbert), who’s full of sage wisdom.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman: The Play

Drama 2002 NR 123 minutes. On the day of her wedding anniversary, a devoted wife’s life turns upside down when her husband announces he wants a divorce in Tyler Perry’s bittersweet play, which inspired a hit 2005 film adaptation. After learning that two-timing Charles is leaving her, Helen loses all faith and turns to her crazy granny Madea, her cousin and her mom for support in her time of crisis. Playwright Perry takes on dual roles as Daddy Charles and the outrageous Madea.


Drama 1998 PG-13 125 minutes. DivorcĂ©e Jackie Harrison opposes the presence of her ex-husband’s new girlfriend — career-woman Isabel Kelly — in the lives of her two children. But the chasm between the two women disappears when Jackie is diagnosed with cancer.

The Parent Trap (1998)

Drama 1998 PG 128 minutes. When Hallie Parker and Annie James meet at summer camp, they think they have nothing in common — only to discover that they’re identical twins. Soon, they’re up to their freckles in a scheme to switch places and get their parents back together.

The Parent Trap / The Parent Trap II (2009)

Drama 2009 G 210 minutes. Hayley Mills takes on four starring roles in this double feature about mistaken identity. In The Parent Trap, a teenage Mills plays identical twins separated at birth trying to reunite their parents. She reprises the roles in The Parent Trap II. Released 25 years later, the sequel follows one sister’s attempt to help her divorced sibling find love by impersonating her on a date with an attractive widower (Tom Skerritt).

The Other Woman

Drama 1995 NR 93 minutes. Single mom Tessa Bryan (Jill Eikenberry) is managing well enough on her own, but everything changes when she’s diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now, determined that her two girls will have a mother when she’s gone, Tessa tries to get them to accept their stepmom (Laura Leighton) — a much younger woman whom she and the girls have despised. Confronted with this daunting task, Tessa takes the kids and their stepmom on a road trip.

Mrs. Doubtfire

Comedy 1993 PG-13 125 minutes. Loving but irresponsible dad Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams), estranged from his exasperated spouse (Sally Field), is crushed by a court order allowing only weekly visits with his kids. When Daniel learns his ex needs a housekeeper, he gets the job — disguised as an English nanny. Soon he becomes not only his children’s best pal but the kind of parent he should have been from the start. Not surprisingly, the film won an Oscar for Best Makeup.

Not Without My Daughter

Docudrama 1991 PG-13 1hr 55m. In this fact-based thriller, Sally Field plays an American housewife who finds herself virtually trapped in Tehran when she accompanies her Iranian husband on a vacation to his native country — and he decides to relocate the family to his homeland.See Full Review

Divorce Wars (1986)

Documentary Frontline 1986. Half of all American marriages end in divorce. Using unique access to mediation and court proceedings, Frontline profiles the couples, the lawyers, the judges, and most poignantly, the children caught between parents.

Divorce His, Divorce Hers

Drama 1973 NR. In a story containing more than a few parallels to their own, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton play a divorced couple who reflect on the dissolution of their 18-year marriage. While the husband blames the sadomasochistic nature of their relationship for the breakup, his ex-wife remembers things differently, citing family neglect as the reason for marital failure in this incisive drama that explores divorce from two perspectives.

Divorce American Style

Dark Comedy 1967 UR 109 minutes. Ex-couple Richard (Dick Van Dyke) and Barbara (Debbie Reynolds) Harmon come to realize that after the trials and tribulations of dating, debilitating alimony payouts and commiserations with fellow divorcĂ©es, married life isn’t so bad after all. Eileen Brennan, Joe Flynn, Van Johnson, Jean Simmons and Jason Robards co-star in director Bud Yorkin’s dark comedy about the paralyzing process of splitting up.

Divorce, Italian Style
(Divorzio all’italiana)

Satire 1961 UR 104 minutes.  Marcello Mastroianni stars as Ferdinando, a self-centered nobleman who’s facing a midlife crisis and has lost all interest in his wife. But there’s no divorce in 1960s Italy, so he devises an elaborate scheme for another man to seduce his wife. That would, under Italian law, allow him to kill her with impunity in defense of his honor. Highlights include the fantasy murders Ferdinando imagines as he pursues his goal.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Drama 1966 NR 131 minutes.  On a serene New England campus, emasculated professor George (Richard Burton) and his rancorous wife, Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), turn an evening of cocktails into an unrelenting onslaught of wrenching disclosures and bellowed epithets. Soon, the couple’s guests — junior professor Nick (George Segal) and his wife, Honey (Sandy Dennis) — get sucked into the vortex of the warring duo’s unbounded fury. Taylor nabbed an Oscar for her role.

A Doll’s House

Drama 1973 G 1hr 35m. A young bride reexamines her outwardly perfect life and marriage when her husband takes ill. She ends up forging her father’s signature on a bank loan and becomes the victim of blackmail in this adaptation of the play by Henrik Ibsen. An excellent realization of Ibsen’s protofeminist classic. Written in 1879, this story puts Ibsen 100 years ahead of his time.  Claire Bloom did a wonderful job of showing Nora’s development from childishness to maturity. Never mind her age; she’s a much older person at the end of the play than at the beginning, even though the action takes place in just a few days. Anthony Hopkins was even better: complacent, obtuse, and needy all at once. I saw more of myself in him than I really wanted to. The interplay between them in the final scene was breathtaking. Our ideas of women, love, and marriage have come a long way from Ibsen’s day, and Ibsen did raise consciousness about this. A Doll’s House criticises the traditional roles of men and women in 19th-century marriage. To many 19th-century Europeans, this was scandalous. Nothing was considered more holy than the covenant of marriage, and to portray it in such a way was completely unacceptable. However, a few open-minded critics such as the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw found Ibsen’s willingness to examine society without prejudice exhilarating.


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