Many romance movies show the start of a relationship. They show the blossoming love between two people and their journey as they determine if they are meant for each other. Marriage is often conveyed as a happy ending to the story in romantic movies. However, those who are married can attest that marriage isn’t always as easy as it appears in movies. Being married is one of the most challenging things two people can do. There will be problems, difficult phases of the relationship, and stressful situations. And yet, marriage is one of the most rewarding experiences two people can commit to.
From undergoing a divorce to sticking with your partner in the worst of times, here are the best 10 movies about marriage. These marriage movies explore real elements of marriage that are not traditionally touched on in romantic comedies.
We begin our list with one of the darker marriage movies out there, Gone Girl. This thriller takes typical marital situations and escalates them to absurd extremes. The movie was written by Gillian Flynn who also wrote the novel the movie is based on. The story follows a man after his wife disappears and is put into the spotlight by the media who suspect that he may not be innocent. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike play their roles to perfection in this film. At the core, the movie is about who people present themselves to be at the beginning of a relationship and they reveal themselves to be in marriage.
The Vow is a romance movie that looks as if it was based on a Nicholas Sparks novel. However, this movie about marriage is actually based on a true story. The movie is about a woman who gets severe memory loss from a car accident and forgets her husband completely. Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum both give solid performances as the enduring married couple. The Vow is touching because it demonstrates that love is not only about the intoxicating feeling at the beginning of a relationship, but it’s also about a commitment to your spouse for better or worse.
A self-proclaimed “sorta sequel” to Knocked Up, This is 40 is about a husband and wife who have a mid-life crisis. Judd Apatow wrote and directed this comedy and based it on his real life. He even got his wife, Leslie Mann, and two kids to play parts that mirror their real-life roles in the movie. This is 40 is about Pete and Debbie who are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, and their relationship is threatening to fall apart. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann prove to be a comedic duo and have a comfort with each other that is endearing. Although this movie follows a couple who are struggling to stay afloat financially and emotionally, it’s really about what it takes to come to terms with the life you have even if it’s imperfect.
The title of the film, Marriage Story, is ironic since it depicts the end of a marriage and the subsequent divorce. Marriage Story was written and directed by Noah Baumbach who went through a divorce himself. The film is seen as a compassionate look at how the relationship of a married couple endures a nasty divorce. Some films are powerful strictly because of the actors involved and Marriage Story is one of those films. Scarlett Johanssen and Adam Driver give career-defining performances that will send you into a whirlwind of emotions. They manage to capture the authenticity of how an emotional conflict between two people can affect their communication. Marriage Story isn’t much of a story about marriage as much as it’s a cautionary tale about where a marriage could go wrong.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are known for their roles on Titanic. However, that wasn’t the only film the two actors worked with each other on. Revolutionary Road has DiCaprio and Winslet as a couple in 1950s suburbia. The film was based on a novel with the same name written by Richard Yates in 1961. It follows a young couple living in a suburb during the 1950s who struggle to come to terms with their personal problems while trying to raise their two children. Revolutionary Road is a powerful story that shows how a feeling of unfulfillment in life and your relationship can expose the existing flaws in both.
Similar to Marriage Story, Scenes From A Marriage is about the dissolution of a relationship. Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac give authentic performances that will have viewers empathize with their characters. Scenes From A Marriage is not a movie but is a miniseries that remakes the 1973 series created by director Ingmar Bergman. The series examines love, hatred, desire, monogamy, marriage, and divorce through the lens of a contemporary American couple. The miniseries is raw, powerful, and effectively shows both sides of the relationship.
Being married means that you stick by your spouse for better or worse. A Beautiful Mind shows how a couple fell in love, got married, and struggled to stay together due to mental illness. The story is based on the real-life story of John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician who accepts secret work in cryptography and has a harrowing journey of self-discovery. While A Beautiful Mind is about how a famous mathematician struggles to overcome schizophrenia, it is also a story about how mental illness can push the relationship with your spouse to the brink.
Looking for more enthralling films that reflect the complexity of the human mind? Check out our blog post that goes through the 10 best movies that delve into the psyche.
This romantic comedy movie deals with an issue that plagues thousands of elderly couples — loss of passion. Hope Springs is a movie that is incredibly enjoyable to those that can relate to the main characters. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones have dynamic chemistry while still managing to capture the mundane problems in a marriage. The film follows an elderly couple who have been married for 30 years but their relationship has dissolved to the point where they don’t sleep in the same bed. In an effort to reconnect, they attend an intense, week-long counseling session to re-work their relationship. Although remaining married throughout old age is an incredible accomplishment, Hope Springs reminds us that complacency can also have negative effects on a marriage.
You may recognize C.S. Lewis as the famous Christian theologian and writer, most notably the writer of the Chronicles of Narnia. However, this biopic of his life doesn’t focus on how he conceptualized his writings, it instead focuses on how he met and fell in love with his wife Joy Gresham. The film was nominated for two Oscars. One for Debra Winger’s performance as Joy and another for Best Writing. Shadowlands is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. The message from the film can be best summed up by C.S. Lewis himself, “Grief is the price we pay for love”.
Hollywood movies tend to avoid the topic of growing old. It’s not as alluring as casting young actors to fall in love on screen. Amour, however, is a French film that focuses on an elderly couple in their final years together. The film follows a couple who take care of each other after one of them has a stroke. Amour depicts what people could imagine when they promise “Till death do us part.” and it provides an unflinching look at how a marriage can build a bond that lasts a lifetime.
There are a lot of ups and downs in marriage. Even though Hollywood generally depicts marriage as a happily ever after or as ending in divorce, many couples do continue to stay together against the odds. Whether it’s a comedy or a drama, these 10 marriage movies are incredibly entertaining, relatable, and provide valuable lessons.
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