5 Under-Appreciated Movie Divorces

Today’s post is from a guest blogger, Annie Babbitt.  If you like Annie’s article, visit her link at the end of the article:

There’s a set of Divorce movies that everyone thinks of when the topic comes up, and while we all love Kramer vs. Kramer, Liar Liar, Mrs. Doubtfire,  and War of the Roses, some movie divorces are simply under-appreciated when we can learn so much from them! Here are five:

1. Melanie and Jake Perry (Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas), Sweet Home Alabama

The movie is well-loved as a chick flick but since the divorce never actually happens it gets lost in all the romance and scheming. Melanie’s antics in getting Jake to finally sign the seven-years waiting divorce papers are hilarious for sure, but their fighting and reunion are a sweet reminder that people can change, and that should be considered before divorce.

Melanie initially tries to divorce Jake because of his seeming aimlessness and irresponsibility, but upon her return finds that he’s grown up and started a successful glassblowing business. She eventually realizes she still loves him, and their marriage will work now that they’ve both matured a bit. So depending on the circumstances, it can be worth giving your spouse another chance.

2. Sam Loomis (John Gavin), Psycho

We never meet the former Mrs. Loomis or even her name, but we gather from how much extra money Sam has to pay her each month that she’s fairly dislikable. She is, indirectly, the reason Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) can’t become the next Mrs. Sam Loomis—which is why Marion steals the money she was meant to deposit and ends up at the Bates Motel Sam’s was not a cheap divorce, and it—and his father’s debts—is the cause of all his financial problems.

Don’t get into debt, because you’ll fall in love and then she’ll steal money for you—and die. Not really; the real lesson here is to get the best divorce lawyer you can afford; otherwise your life could become a lot harder than it has to be even after you’re free of a bad marriage.

3. Thorne and Serena Jamison (Michael Sheen and Parker Posey), Laws of Attraction

We’re all so focused on Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan (let’s be honest, ladies: it’s hard not to focus on Pierce Brosnan) that we miss out on the actual divorce that takes up most of the film: rocker Thorne Jamison and his wife Serena’s nasty split.

The pair have become so materialistic and caught up in their separate rockstar lifestyles that they cheat on each other and don’t reconcile until a mad rush to the castle brings them face to face with their anniversary—at which point they decide to make a clean start.

Don’t let materialism and other things get in the way of your marriage. Remember why you fell in love, and give the marriage priority—before you nearly have a venom-filled divorce.

4. Maria Bertram and Mr. Rushworth, Mansfield Park

The book was better, but there have been some pretty fantastic adaptations of this beloved Jane Austen novel over the years. It’s hard not to feel sorry for heroine Fanny Price’s cousin Maria Bertram (despite the fact that she’s been awful to Fanny for most of Fanny’s life). You marry a dude for financial security then leave him to follow your one true love—only to have your one true love go back on his promise to make an honest woman of you and left alone, divorced, and disgraced.

Granted, part of Maria’s problem is the age she is born into; women had to marry for financial security and divorce/adultery was practically unforgivable, never mind emotionally fraught. But, even so, she was still fairly young to rush into marriage with Mr. Rushworth.

If everyone in your family thinks your intended is a bit dim, and if you find yourself attracted to another person, you should reconsider. Never rush into marriage or use it as a rebound from another failed romance.

And think about the character of the person you’re running away with; if he’s romanced your cousin as well as you and your sister, he’s probably not worth it.

5. Charlie & Muriel Lang (Nicholas Cage and Rosie Perez), It Could Happen to You

Nicholas Cage doesn’t get enough credit as the cop with the heart of gold in this early 90’s rom-com drama. Charlie Lang and his wife Muriel win the lottery after Charlie has offered to split the ticket with waitress Yvonne (Bridget Fonda) in lieu of a tip. Charlie is a giver, which irritates his materialistic wife, and she eventually throws him out. But things work out, and Charlie is free to marry Yvonne. Their lifestyles and moralities match up better than Charlie’s & Muriel’s, and they are much better off for it.

Divorce can be painful, and you can lose a lot. But you can also gain more—such as a better life and love—in lieu of what you lost in the first place.

Even though these movies don’t get as much love as the divorce movies everyone thinks of, they deserve it just as much. Learn from the mistakes (and successes) of these characters as well as the ones who get the attention.

Annie Babbitt writes about her interest in current events, political science and philosophy. Annie loves helping promote change and being an advocate for those in need.

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