10 Best Movies About Dysfunctional Families

May 20, 2022 | Benjamin Carpenter

Dysfunctional families can be more entertaining to watch than to have. Every family is different but these families, in particular, are unique in that they are, well, dysfunctional in a variety of different ways. Dysfunctional families can be toxic but they can also be hilarious as well. In this blog post, we go through the 10 best movies that showcase how dysfunctional a family can be. We decided to leave out any films about organized crime since breaking the law as a family is inherently dysfunctional. Here are the 10 best movies about dysfunctional families.


10 Best Movies About Family Problems

10. Knives Out

Knives Out is a refreshing whodunnit that has an infectious enthusiasm that spreads throughout the film and into the audience. Starring Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas, the film is about a detective who investigates the death of the patriarch of an eccentric, combative family. Knives Out is a true movie about a dysfunctional family that is even more entertaining because of Rian Johnson’s fun direction along with all of the quirky characters within the family.


Where To Watch Knives Out

Prime Video w/ Freevee


Awkwafina in The Farewell

9. The Farewell

Death is one of the only things that unites every living being and yet, our responses to it are as varied as our personalities. This film touches on this topic by exploring how one family reacts to the news that their grandmother has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The Farewell is about a Chinese family that discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decides to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies. The film has humor, emotion, and a standout performance from Awkafina.


Where To Watch The Farewell



Denzel Washington and Vioal Davis in Fences

8. Fences

Fences is a unique character-driven film that manages to make you feel for every character in the Maxson family. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in the Broadway revival as Troy and Rose Maxson in 2010. Then, in 2016, Denzel Washington took it upon himself to direct and star in the film adaptation. Viola Davis also reprised her role as Rose Maxson. The two give powerhouse performances in a movie that will make you laugh, cry, and think. Fences follows Troy, a working-class African-American father who tries to raise his family in the 1950s while coming to terms with his unrealized dream of playing baseball.


Where To Watch Fences For $3.99

Google Play Movies & TV
Prime Video
Apple TV


Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding, and Constance Wu in Crazy Rich AsiansCrazy Rich Asians

7. Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians broke new ground in terms of popular cultural representation, offering a glimpse into the challenges that Asian-Americans face while also tackling themes such as status, money, and love. The film is based on the book of the same name, written by Kevin Kwan. It follows a Chinese-American native New Yorker who travels to meet her boyfriend’s family in Singapore and discovers that they are among Asia’s richest and most powerful families. Crazy Rich Asians has excellent comedic timing, a great cast, and is one of the most fun movies on this list.


Where To Watch Crazy Rich Asians



Marshala Ali and Alex R. Hibbert in Moonlight

6. Moonlight

Moonlight is a gritty coming-of-age story that puts an emphasis on the importance of parenting. There are many layers to Moonlight but, at its core, it is a story about the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood for our main character. The film takes a look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young black man growing up in Miami. His epic journey to manhood is guided by the kindness, support, and love of the community that helps raise him. Moonlight won Best Picture in the year it was released and is a must-watch for anyone looking for a film about adversity.


Where To Watch Moonlight



Ellar Coltrane growing up throughout Boyhood

5. Boyhood

Richard Linklater created something special with Boyhood. Not only is the film a grounded depiction of a boy’s experience growing up with divorced parents, but it’s also a cinematic achievement. Boyhood came out in 2014 but actually began production in 2002. Linklater’s idea for the film was to cast a young boy and to film him annually for 12 years, thus creating the ultimate film about growing up. The film tells the fictional story of Mason from early childhood to his arrival at college. Linklater cast Ellar Coltrane in the main role as Mason and worked with him from when he was 6yrs old to 18.


Where To Watch Boyhood

Prime Video w/ IFC
Prime Video w/ AMC Plus


Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Jeff Daniels, and Laura Linney in The Squid and The Whale

4. The Squid and the Whale

Noah Baumbach has shown himself to be a master of the dysfunctional family genre with films like Margot at the Wedding and Marriage Story. However, his 2005 film The Squid and the Whale takes the cake when it comes to entertaining dysfunctional family movies. The film follows two young boys dealing with their parents’ divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s. The Squid and The Whale is a warm and honest look at divorce and the emotional impact felt by every member of the family.


Where To Watch The Squid and The Whale



Read More: Movies About Marriage Problems That Are Painfully Accurate

Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple

3. The Color Purple

The Color Purple is a serious drama with dark subject material that is necessary for emotional catharsis, but difficult to watch all the same. As dysfunctional families go, the family in The Color Purple is almost as toxic as it gets. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film is about a black Southern woman who struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades. The film is unforgiving in its portrayal of the family dynamic but offers hope at the end of its story.


Where To Watch The Color Purple



Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano, and Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine

2. Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine has everything you need for a memorable comedy. Likable and quirky characters, great quotes, and an amazing cast who carry the film into cult-classic territory. The film is about a family that is determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant and take a cross-country trip in their VW bus. The film depicts dysfunctional in all of the most entertaining ways and is a must-watch for anyone looking for a good laugh. Plus, who doesn’t like a good road movie?


Where To Watch Little Miss Sunshine



The Royal Tenenbaums

1. The Royal Tenenbaums

This film could be described as Wes Anderson’s love letter to dysfunctional families. In fact, dysfunction and discord seem to be at the core of this film about the Tenenbaums. Wes Anderson’s style is on full display in the film and he creates many memorable and lovable characters. The movie is about the eccentric members of a dysfunctional family reluctantly who gather under the same roof for various reasons. The Royal Tenenbaums is a hilarious and heartwarming film about family, and it perfectly captures the chaotic nature of any dysfunctional household.


Where To Watch The Royal Tenenbaums For $3.99

Google Play Movies & TV
Apple TV
Prime Video


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