As one of the omnipresent problems, decay of marriages has always been a subject of interest for many master filmmakers. Many auteur have tried to look into the problems leading to the collapse of a marriage and the aftermath of it. There have been some milestone works on the subject. As the subject itself, most of these works are bitter and tragic, yet fine pieces of art. Here is the list of top 10 amazing films on failed marriages.
10. Kramer v/s Kramer (1979)
Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep play Ted and Joanna Kramer in this movie directed by Robert Benton. The Kramers, after the separation, fight a legal battle for the guardianship of their child, triggering the worst moments of their lives. Perhaps slightly behind the times now, but it is still one of the most amazing films on failed marriages. The film is packed with emotional scenes and great performances by the leading actors.
9. 5×2 (2004)
French filmmaker Francois Ozon might not be as famous as his compatriots like Gaspar Noe or Jacques Audiard. But his film 5×2 is a fantastic work in itself. The movie traces the slow disintegration of the couple Gilles and Marion in reverse chronological order, presenting us with five seminal episodes of their lives. It stars Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Stephane Freiss. Ozon has used many romantic Italian songs to escalate the mood of the film.
8. The Squid and the Whale (2005)
Directed by Noah Baumbach and produced by renowned filmmaker Wes Anderson, this film is rather a unique one in this list as it is in the points of view of the two children of a troubled couple. Counted among the best films on failed marriages, it focuses on Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and Frank (Owen Kline), who have to deal with their parents’ divorce in their own ways. The parents are played by Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney. The film is considered to be semi-autobiographical, and has won numerous awards and accolades.
7. Blue Valentine (2010)
Starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, this movie was directed by Derek Cianfrance was an unsympathetic look at the mechanism of troubled relationships. The director has captured various stages of the lives of the couple, portraying the slow decay of bond between the couple and their fruitless attempts to reignite the passion. One of the strongest features of the movie is the performance of the leading actors.
6. Husbands and Wives (1992)
Directed by Woody Allen and starring Sydney Pollack, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow and the director himself, this movie revolves around two couples whose marriages are on downward curve. While one couple decide to part ways, the other make a final attempt to save their relationship, only to get nowhere ahead. Shot in a documentary style, the film reiterates the fact that married couples don’t indeed live in paradise.
5. The War of the Roses (1989)
As you probably think, the title is a clear allusion to the clash for the throne between the Houses of York and Lancaster in middle age England. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner star in this black comedy as Oliver and Barbara Rose, an apparently ideal couple whose marriage slowly disintegrates as they get wealthier. An inevitable divorce is needed and it all comes down to the material possessions. The film ranked among the best films on failed marriages, was directed by Danny DeVito, who also plays a major role in the film.
4. La Notte (1961)
This film by Italian master Michelangelo Antonioni won the Golden Bear at Berlin Film Festival. Starring Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau, La Notte delves into the unfaithful and unhappy life of Giovanni Pontano, a writer, and his wife Lidia. Antonioni lay bare the innermost feeling of alienation between the couple and their fruitless efforts to deny it. The film was also somewhat notorious at the time because of its explicit scenes.
3. Scenes from a Marriage (1973)
Swedish auteur Ingmer Bergman documents the disintegrating bond of Marianne and Johan, through their marriage and beyond the divorce, with a ruthless impartiality. Perhaps the movie drew inspiration from the life of the director himself, who was married five times. Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson play the lead characters in the film, which was originally conceived as a television series. As usual, Bergman uses close-up shots to their maximum effect in the film.
2. A Separation (2011)
Iranian filmmaker Asghar Fahardi is one of the greatest craftsmen of our times. While dealing with family matters in his movies, he ever so subtly comments upon the social restraints. A Separation follows the troubled marriage of Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami), and conflicts related to it. The film bagged numerous awards, including the Golden Bear at Berlin Film Festival, and the Oscar and Golden Globe for the Best Foreign Film. A Separation ranks second in our list of top films on failed marriages.
1. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
The directorial debut of Mike Nichols, this movie was adapted from the play by Edward Albee. It stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor as a mentally estranged couple, who play hosts to a newly married couple, played by George Segal and Sandy Dennis. A late-night party slowly turns into a nightmare, when anger and bitterness begin to seep out of the characters. The film was nominated for 13 Oscars, and both the female actors won for their outstanding performances.
Top 10 Films on Failed Marriages
- Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
- A Separation (2011)
- Scenes from a Marriage (1973)
- La Notte (1961)
- The War of the Roses (1989)
- Husbands and Wives (1992)
- Blue Valentine (2010)
- The Squid and the Whale (2005)
- 5×2 (2004)
- Kramer v/s Kramer (1979)
Written by: Nikhil Rajagopalan