1. Kramer Vs. Kramer
Robert Benton’s 1979 Kramer vs. Kramer is really the go-to movie about divorce. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman, and Best Supporting Actress for Meryl Streep. Raw and complex, this is an earnest, truthful, warts-and-all look at the implosion of a family.
2. War Of The Roses
Not everything that appears perfect on the surface is so idyllic underneath. Such is the case in Danny DeVito’s 1989 War of the Roses. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner star as a married couple on the verge of dissolving their union. Trouble is, they can’t decide who gets the house, and a vicious property battle ensues as each attempts to oust the other from their domicile in this blackly comic satire of divorce and division of property.
3. Old School
On the surface, 2003’s Old School is a comedy about three middle-aged dudes reliving their hard-partying glory days. But it’s also about middle-aged guys coming to terms with break ups, divorce, and troubled marriages. And off color humor, lots of off color humor. And once the divorce agreement is signed and filed, you’re going to go out and get rowdy, right?
4. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Okay, Michel Gondry’s surrealist romance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind isn’t specifically about divorce. But it is about the dissolution of a long relationship, the often painful nature of both clinging to memories of the past and moving forward, and letting go. And Jim Carrey has never been as good as he is here playing the lovelorn sap, even when talking out of his butt.
5. Mrs. Doubtfire
Divorce is tough when kids are involved, especially if you wind up the noncustodial parent. You may have to fight to get to see your children, or do what Robin Williams does in Mrs. Doubtfire when his ex won’t let him see the rug rats: don heavy prosthetics, a dowdy outfit, and dress up like an elderly British nanny (though one with a Scottish accent). Delightfully manic Robin Williams performance notwithstanding, this strategy will likely get you thrown in jail. Maybe find another way to spend time with the young ones.
6. Blue Valentine
A crumbling marriage isn’t usually happy, and sometimes you need to wallow. Derek Cianfrance’s 2010 independent drama Blue Valentine certainly fits that bill. A haunting, intimate portrait of a married couple—Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams—trying to salvage a relationship that can’t be saved, Blue Valentine is definitely a movie about love, just not super cuddly, everything-is-going-to-be-fine love. It’s also a movie probably best known for an erroneous NC-17 rating.
7. Wedding Crashers
Divorce mediation has never looked quite as awesome as in the opening scene of Wedding Crashers. Then again, you probably won’t have the bro-tastic duo of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson presiding as you and your soon-to-be ex haggle and argue over how to split up the airline miles.
8. The Royal Tenenbaums
No one screws up kids quite like their own parents. And few movie fathers have ever warped their children quite as bad, or quite as delightfully, as Gene Hackman’s Royal Tenenbaum in Wes Anderson’s twee dramatic comedy (or comedic drama if you prefer) The Royal Tenenbaums. This brood includes an overprotective single father, an emotionally distant adopted daughter, and a suicidal former tennis star.
9. The Way We Were
Sometimes being in love in and of itself isn’t enough. Two people can care a great deal about each other but can’t find a way to make it work. Take Barbra Streisand’s vehement Marxist and Robert Redford’s carefree socialite in Sydney Pollack’s romantic melodrama The Way We Were . United by love but driven apart by politics, it’s a reminder that we ultimately have to be who we are.
10. The First Wives Club
Who doesn’t want to watch three of the most celebrated actresses of their generation—Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler—exact revenge on their philandering ex-husbands through a series of elaborate schemes? The First Wives Club may serve as catharsis (or possibly inspiration) for the wronged in the audience and as a warning to those who may stray from the bonds of matrimony.
Bitterness, anger, and frenzied rage are all feelings that may accompany divorce, especially in instances of infidelity. Sure, revenge might be liberating, but it may also result in an extended prison stay. How about you checkout the 1989, Roseanne Barr-fronted She-Devil instead. If watching the comedian wreak havoc on Meryl Streep and Ed Begley doesn’t settle you down, we’ll figure something out. On second thought, maybe skip this one, we don’t want you getting any untoward ideas on our account.