Hollywood’s Marriage Fantasies

I read this interesting article today about how Hollywood’s preoccupation with reconciliation stories may be impacting kids’ expectations about separation/divorce. My favorite line might be this one:

“…Hollywood has always been interested in extreme and unlikely tales. Happy marriages are almost as uncommon in movies as rational divorces.”

I was particularly surprised by the point that the author could only find two movies (“Mrs. Doubtfire” and “The Santa Clause”) that presented positive acceptance of divorce at all. In a country with so many families going through divorce, arranging their lives around custody agreements, and making these complicated decisions actually work every single day, it’s amazing that there are so few representations of that reality on the big screen.

I had the (rare) chance to see a first-run movie in a theatre recently – it was “Crazy Stupid Love” with Steve Carell and Julianne Moore playing the separated couple. It was a great movie: funny, cute, not too cliched, etc. But I was so frustrated by how the separation came about (SPOILER ALERT). Yes, I get it, for plot-development and entertainment purposes, they needed to separate quickly. But as a couples counselor, watching Carell leap out of the car before Moore was even able to articulate her reasons for wanting out of the relationship…ugh. Again, an unrealistic representation of the basic struggles of marriage. Their classic maximizer/minimizer dynamic would have been so fulfulling to work with in a counseling session. Maybe that part will be explored in a sequel?

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