In the upcoming film Eat, Pray, Love (based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert), Julia Roberts' character goes on a "journey of self-discovery" after a messy divorce. Actually, let's call it what it is: a year-long vacation. With child-custody a non-issue, she gorges on Italian food (in Italy); finds spiritual guidance in India; and falls in love in Bali. And she pays for it all on a book advance. How idyllic. Were we all so lucky.
The opposite is true in Art Attack's two favorite films that explore the painful process and aftermath of divorce. In these movies, tragedy is always looming, and young minds are possibly scarred for life while parents bicker and snipe at each other in embarrassing (and often very funny) displays of self righteousness. We'll call them "journeys of self abuse."
Let us know your favorite divorce-themed movies and win a pair of tickets to Eat, Pray, Love. It can't be all bad, right? Mail us at HPcontest@houstonpress.com
Now bring on the pain.
The Squid and the Whale
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Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney give terrific performances in this 2005 tragicomedy about two married writers who separate, after which their two sons take opposite sides in their parents' combative shenanigans. The split takes its toll most on the kids: The youngest (Owen Kline) develops a gross obsession with leaving traces of his DNA in public, and the oldest (Jesse Eisenberg) takes credit for others' accomplishments, most notably when he wins the school talent show with a performance of Pink Floyd's "Hey You," claiming he wrote it. Cringe.
Kramer vs. Kramer
Winner of the 1979 Academy Award for best picture, Kramer vs. Kramer is the quintessential divorce film, with brutal character assassinations in a bitter custody battle over a child. As the couple in question, Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep give knockout performances, as does Justin Henry as their son. Reason trumps law when, after the court decides a child is best raised by the mother, Streep's character relents, recognizing the father-and-son bond that had developed after she left the marriage.