5 Funny Movies About Divorce
Divorce can lead a child to do dark things — like becoming someone who writes movies about divorce. As with everything, creating art about difficult subjects can help people cope. There are plenty of movies that show the uglier, more dramatic sides of divorce, like Kramer vs. Kramer, an incredible film, but a disorienting look at what can happen when nuptials disintegrate. But not all divorce movies are quite so devastating. Some really lighten the mood and provide the perspective that splitting up can be incredibly liberating. If you don’t feel the urge to stand up and sing “You Don’t Own Me” along with Bette Midler in The First Wives Club, something may be wrong with you.
On that note, here are five funny movies about divorce that don’t involve a convoluted plan with your long-lost identical twin to get your parents back together…
The First Wives Club
Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Midler joined forces in this 1996 comedy to teach a crash-course on divorce: Don’t get mad, get even. The trio of funny women play wives who, as the film’s title suggests, wouldn’t be their husbands’ only marriages. When the men all leave them for younger women, the First Wives plot, scheme and exact their revenge against their misogynistic exes. Of course, by the film’s end, the real lesson is that harboring these feelings of resentment for too long is unhealthy and that there are other ways to process a broken relationship — like doing a little dance with two of your closest friends.
The War of the Roses
An asset that can complicate a divorce proceeding is the home the once-happy couple shared. Such is the case in The War of the Roses, where Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner go toe-to-toe after falling out of love and into battle over their Washington, D.C. mansion. The pitch black comedy also features Danny DeVito, who directs and acts in the film as the lawyer caught in the middle of the sparring couple.
What’s an irresponsible-but-loving father with limited custody rights to do when he wants to see his three children? Dress up as a housekeeper and get a job in his ex-wife’s home as a nanny, obviously. Mrs. Doubtfire is completely absurd on paper and would scare conservatives if it were pitched today, but dedicated performances from Robin Williams and Sally Field cemented it as a family favorite.
Lying in a courtroom is what separates a good defense attorney from the great ones. In domestic life, however, it’s a skill that ruins your marriage and tarnishes your relationship with your children — a lesson that Fletcher Reede learns the hard way. After a young boy gets fed up with his career-focused parents (Jim Carrey and Maura Tierney), he makes a birthday wish that for one entire day his father could not tell a lie. The wish comes true in this satirical fantasy, sending Fletcher on a truth-filled journey of self-discovery that lets him refocus his relationship with his son and mend the damage with his ex-wife.
The Awful Truth
Where there are lies revealed in a marriage, there are also truths revealed in a divorce. This 1937 screwball comedy stars Cary Grant and Irene Dunne as an incredibly distrustful couple who decide to part under the mutual assumption that they’re cheating on one another. But as they attempt to part, even going as far as to date other people, they end up interfering with one another’s romances thanks to one awful truth: They still love each other.