If you're planning a wedding, it can be discouraging to settle in for a movie or TV show in which marriage is, well, not cast in the nicest light. Here I've rounded up some movies and one TV show that may be great entertainment but won't exactly give you the warm fuzzies about getting married.
American Beauty — Sure, there's a lot more going on in American Beauty than just a failing marriage, but the union between Lester (Kevin Spacey) and Carolyn (Annette Benning) still isn't exactly inspirational. In addition to general suburban dystopia, there's a lot of infidelity, ogling of teen girls, and overall contempt within the marriage. Oh, and that ending is a pretty big downer.
More titles to avoid if you read more.
Little Children — I'd say you'll want to avoid both watching this movie and reading the original work by Tom Perrotta. Like American Beauty, it's riddled with infidelity and overall malaise surrounding married life. The main female character, Sarah (Kate Winslet) is enormously bored with her quiet life and her role as wife and mother. Handsome stay-at-home dad Brad — also dissatisfied — manages to temporarily fill the void in her but at the end of the day nobody can truly do that. General feeling after watching this movie: bleak.
The Ice Storm — Speaking of bleak, The Ice Storm serves up cold desolation and hopelessness in spades. A wintry storm symbolically covers everything in New Canaan, CT, in a stark, numbing chill as two families celebrate Thanksgiving. For marrieds Ben and Elena Hood (Kevin Kline and Joan Allen) this mostly means drinking way too much and despising each other. Don't let the promise of young, adorable versions of Christina Ricci, Katie Holmes, and Elijah Wood lure you in. It's too cold in this movie.
Kramer vs. Kramer — Anger, fighting, divorce, custody battles . . . you're just going to want to avoid this one for a while. As you probably know, the story is based on the real-life court battle in which a divorced couple fought over custody of their son. It is poignant and stars some phenomenal actors (Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep), but it's definitely not "oh baby, marriage is awesome" material.
Tell Me You Love Me — Well, at least these couples are getting therapy, but still, as excellent as this HBO show is, it can also be incredibly depressing. While one couple is busy not communicating, another is fighting over their inability to get pregnant, and a third is still haunted by a long-ago extramarital affair. Good times. And by "good times" I mean "avoid this like the plague before getting married — especially if you have a tendency to get cold feet."
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