Divorce affects every family differently. It doesn’t matter if your parents parted long before you could talk and walk, or if you witnessed every moment of their separation only recently – you are entitled to feel sad, angry and confused. You might even feel absolutely fine about it, but also a bit weird because you think you should be more sad.
It’s okay to feel whatever it is you’re feeling, because there’s no ‘right way’ of dealing with it.
Of course, there are lots of great counselling services to take advantage of out there. And talking things over with your friends and family can be a really positive way of sharing and processing your emotions. But what about the times when you’re feeling a little blue and just want some time to yourself? Getting lost in a good film while being wrapped up in a cosy duvet with a bag of popcorn can often do the trick.
So if you’re looking for characters that get what you’re going through, take a look at these fantastic films that we think explore the subject of divorce optimistically but always honestly.
Robin Williams is hilarious and heart-breaking as the devoted dad who can only visit his kids once a week until his divorce with their mum is settled. To spend more time with them, he does what any sane person would do and…well, impersonates an elderly, Scottish woman, to nanny them after school. Although there are plenty of LOLs along the way, it’s a touching story about having a family in your heart forever, even if your mum and dad aren’t together anymore.
The Royal Tenenbaums
Think you’ve got a dysfunctional family? The Tenenbaums might just make you feel normal. Richie, Margot and Chas are the exceptionally gifted children of Royal Tenenbaum, who can only be described as a ‘bad dad’. They lose touch over the years but return to their family home when Royal tells them that he’s ill and wants to set things right. This Wes Anderson film is quirky, witty, stylish and stars Gwyneth Paltrow at her peak. It also shows that it’s never too late to reconnect.
Ah, growing up with the Toy Story trilogy is enough to make anyone get nostalgic about their childhood. For Andy, his family is his single mum, his little sister, his dog and of course, his toys. Together, they all made the beautiful memories that the third film celebrates – despite not having a dad around. We all have our own sense of family and the memories we create with them, which should always be cherished, no matter what changes life brings.
Divorce can bring extra struggles with it, such as financial worries and unstable housing situations. This story shows just how strong women, especially single mums, can be during these times. Based on a real story, Erin Brockovich (played by the flawless Julia Roberts) is feisty, broke and looking after two small kids. She goes on to win a huge court case against a huge company after investigating the fatal effects of contaminated water in the local area. Single parents really can kick ass!
An absolute classic about the world’s most loveable alien, E.T., and his friendship with young boy, Elliot. The departure of Elliot’s dad is mentioned early into the film, and there is obvious tension between the whole family about what has happened. When he finds E.T. and hides him away from danger, it proves that families can move on in the most unexpected ways. Look out for a teeny-tiny Drew Barrymore as Elliot’s adorable little sister.
If you’re struggling to cope with life during or after your parents’ divorce, please do contact one of these helplines or services. They are there to talk, listen and give advice. Relate: 0300 100 1234, or visit their website for a live chat. Childline: 0800 1111, or share your experience on their message board or book an appointment with your GP, who will happily help you arrange to see a counsellor in person.
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Image: Mrs Doubtfire