Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Married Couples Movies


Another week has gone by and it's time to talk about three more movies connected by a theme in Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks!  I'm loving these, for it gives me something to work for each week, and the diversity in the lists each blogger comes up with makes for a really fun read.  So, this week's theme was actually suggested by one of the contributing bloggers, Wendell over at Dell on Movies.  

It's also a theme I take very personally...



Like I said, I take this subject very personally.  Having been married for eleven years now, I feel like I know something about the subject, and having been through a rocky marriage at that, I feel a connection to films that try to exploit the intimacies and accuracies of marriage and all that it can bring to those involved.  My three picks are three films that I personally feel capture the honesty of marriage better than pretty much every other film I've seen on the subject.

Gone Girl

I've said a lot about this already, but I meant every word, and the more time that goes by the stronger I feel about this truly being the most inciteful exploration of human relationships in many, many years.


Scenes from a Marriage

I haven't reviewed this on the blog, but I did on Amazon (and you can read it here) and I did hand it the Fisti for Best Picture in 1974, it's that powerful a look at a marriage, a complete marriage, and all that happens after marriage. 


Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

I reviewed this here as a part of the Five Obstructions Blogathon, and it's stuck with me ever since.  This exploration of the destructive nature of some marriages and relationships is almost too real it's scary.  Astonishing, really.

And I just realized that I didn't pick any 'happy' marriage movies...but...like...whoops.

36 comments:

  1. I've only seen Gone Girl, but I've read about the other two. Nice picks. Everyone one of these I've read so far has said something sweet about marriage, and I was just like "yeah dysfunction!!" Whoops :S

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    1. Destruction just feels more honest.

      Eeek...

      ;-)

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  2. I missed Gone Girl in the theatre much to my regret, time just didn't permit but will be catching up with it soon. I've avoided reading too much about it so that I'm approaching it with fresh eyes but am looking forward to it.

    I've been slowly watching some Bergmans this year, loved Wild Strawberries but I'm variable on the others I've seen, haven't caught up with Scenes from a Marriage but it's on my list.

    I love Dyan Cannon and especially Natalie Wood so I couldn't believe how much I hated B&C&T&A. It's been at least 15 years so perhaps if I gave it another look it might hit me differently but at the time it was torture to sit through.

    My three for the week:

    The Marrying Kind (1952)-Considering she only made nine films I'm surprised I have two Judy Holliday movies in a row but they fit the themes so perfectly. This is a funny, sad look at a marriage from courtship through breakdown. Decidedly on the more sober side in its portrayal of marriage the Garson Kanin/Ruth Gordon script has touches of levity making it feel very true. The situations are as relevant now, money troubles, miscommunication etc., as they were then and played with infinite sensitivity. Judy Holliday considered this her best work and it's probably Aldo Ray's as well. Would be perfect for a remake with the proper actors although these two would be hard to top.

    The Way We Were (1973)-Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford as perhaps the ultimate couple who are both perfect for each other but also a complete mismatch at the same time. A fine study of people coming from different life experiences who are drawn together by undeniable attraction and then driven apart by their innate dissimilarities which they can not change despite the fact that they will always love the other. Wonderfully directed and beautifully shot.

    Fools Rush In (1997)-A comedy about a couple who meets and marries impulsively. Not only do they have to learn to live with each other's idiosyncrasies but since he is a Manhattan born and bred only child, moneyed and ambitious and she from a large, effusive Latino family there is a huge culture clash especially when their parents become involved. Fluffy but with some beautiful location filming, a solid supporting cast and Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek have a nice chemistry as the lead pair.

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    1. I've only seen Fools Rush In, from your list, but The Marrying Kind sounds right up my ally.

      Gone Girl is so seriously demented in the best ways.

      I can't recommend Scenes from a Marriage enough. It's practically four hours of conversations between two people, but it says so much about marriage and relationships in general. It's just astonishingly beautiful.

      Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is a very divisive film, and it should be, but I felt like it said so much about relationships and the pressure of friendships and the murkiness of love. I'd love to hear your thoughts on my linked review of the film!

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    2. I jumped over and read your review, its very deeply felt, but I'm going to have to re-watch the film before I comment on it, it's just been to long for me to remember the particulars. Fortunately it looks readily available so I'll try and give it a view next week, I'm hoping time will have altered my initial reactions to it.

      The Marrying Kind knocked me out the first time I watched it. I only knew Judy Holliday from frothy comedies but this afforded her so much more opportunity. Even though I thought Shirley Booth was terrific in Come Back, Little Sheba if I were to pick a Best Actress winner for that year Judy would be it. I'd love to hear what you think of it after you watch.

      Hope you give The Way We Were a chance too, it's more than just a love story. Though Sydney Pollack focuses on the lead pair's story the film does delve into the blacklist and how people's principles can drive them apart. It also has a lot of nice period detail, which is always a plus for me.

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    3. Can't wait to read your thoughts once you do rewatch it.

      I'll be sure to check out both The Marrying Kind and The Way We Were. I've only heard great things about The Way We Were and it's been on my watch list for a long time, so I'll try and bump it up soon.

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  3. I haven't seen either of the last two films on your list, and now I want to. Scenes From a Marriage has been to my to-watch list forever.

    Great post! I loved the personal angle too. I've been married ... well ... forever. :-) Celebrating 25 years this spring. That made me appreciate the themes in Gone Girl all the more, since I feel like I've progressed through both the false and destructive and loving and genuine phases of a relationship -- does that make sense?

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    1. Perfect sense! I saw so much honesty in Gone Girl through all that audacity. I feel sad for all those who missed that.

      And Scenes from a Marriage is genius.

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  4. I knew Gone Girl will be here :)

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  5. LOVE B&C&T&A and so glad someone chose it this week! Scenes From a Marriage is VERY high on my watchlist. I've had the DVD for years now.

    For all that I'm a bit down on Gone Girl the movie, it is absolutely a perfect portrait of modern marriage (as I understand it from friends - I'm not married myself though I was in a relationship for seven years). But if I was going to pick one from 2014 for this I would have gone with The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, the double-feature version. Very insightful and just as cutting as Gone Girl while ultimately being more hopeful.

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    1. Eleanor Rigby is VERY high on my watchlist. I really need to see that one!

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    2. Just DON'T watch the combined "Them" version. It's pretty much meant to be seen as double-feature "Him" followed by "Her". It's supposed to work either way but I can't imagine the other way round being anywhere near as satisfying. The prologue is one of the most romantic scenes I saw all year.

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    3. I can't wait to see them! I'll be sure to see the separate versions and avoid the combined one. I've heard it's vastly inferior.

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  6. Hi Drew! Interesting that you picked the bad marriages on here, and Gone Girl certainly is the quintessential pick for that :) I haven't heard of the other two, nice to see you highlight some unexpected ones here.

    P.S. I decided to participate on Thursday Movie Picks this week, mine will be up shortly.

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    1. YAY! I can't wait to see your post.

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  7. Oh wow-Gone Girl is not the typical marriage. That gal is one calculating nutjob. What I did enjoy about Gone Girl regarding marriage is how sex played a major role in their relationship yet they had no idea or rather, he, had no idea who she was. The manipulations can happen in a marriage. The 3rd film is so much of the times-the swinging 60's and shows another sad part of marriage. I have not seen the 2nd film but marriage is no easy task. I thought it was real life couples in a film together like Bogie and Bacall. I would have picked Adam's Rib, Brief Encounter and Make Way for Tomorrow.

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    1. Brief Encounter, while about a marriage per say, feels too much about an affair and one side of that affair...I mean, how much screen time does the husband even have?

      And I LOVE that movie.

      You really should see Scenes from a Marriage. It's stunning.

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    2. Birgit, I didn't even think of it but Make Way for Tomorrow is a beautiful choice for the theme. Heartbreaking and amazingly acted.

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    3. Now I have another film to try and fit in!

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    4. I would pick Brief Encounter because it is about the act of a possible affair and the torment the woman goes through that I find so appropriate. Her husband is not in it much but the little he is in shows he is aware of something amiss. Yes please see Make Way for Tomorrow-very sad

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    5. I just added it to my Netflix queue!

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  8. Gone Girl, bro! It had to go here, right? I have not seen the other two. I'm seriously lacking in Bergman watches. Need to fix that. I've only seen Persona and Wild Strawberries. Where should I start? The other one I've only barely heard much about.

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    1. OMG...Bergman has a filmography so rich!

      Scenes from a Marriage is my favorite, I think, but Seventh Seal is astonishing (and so beautiful to watch) and Fanny and Alexander, while long, is just a gorgeous tapestry of familial issue and resolutions.

      I'm still discovering him, and I'll be watching Cries and Whispers (one of his most acclaimed films) as part of my Blind Spot series this year.

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  9. Gone Girl, I know thi one is coming :) Haven't seen the other movies, but I can sense that your picks are all strong movies.

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    1. Very strong. I recommend you check them out. They can be tough to get through, especially if you've ever experienced a rocky relationship, but they are so worth exploring.

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  10. I've only seen Gone Girl but that is one terrifying marriage.

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    1. What I love so much about Gone Girl is that, while terrifying, it's so honest. Like, it's a complete extreme of a film and it tries to push things out of the realm of reality and yet the core themes it speaks to are so real. It's all about that stuff between the lines.

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  11. VERY intriguing picks! I like the list because it features two films I haven't seen. Like you this is a very personal subject for me as well. My wife and I are about to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. It's an amazing thing but it isn't easy.

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    1. Congrats to 20 years, Keith, and you're right...so worth every minute, but it's not easy! I hope you get a chance to check out the two you haven't seen. Bergman's masterpiece is especially profound.

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  12. Three great picks. Scenes and Bob & Carol are must sees for anyone wanting to checking out depictions of marriage in film.

    I think my three favourites are On Golden Pond, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe, and Mike Leigh's brilliant Another Year.

    I actually did a top 10 some months back: http://www.top10films.co.uk/archives/15032

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    1. Brilliant Top Ten!

      I thought of so many others when I was done with this, like The Awful Truth and Two for the Road. This topic is something that is explored so often in film.

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  13. I have yet to see Gone Girl, but will real soon. Have only heard about Scenes of a Marriage recently - sounds interesting, and there's a criterion edition so I'm going to try and borrow a copy of that some time.

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    1. Scenes is such a richly rewarding film, and of the three is the most 'hopeful' because it shows how a relationship can live on, even after separation and divorce. It's hard to watch at time, and truly heartbreaking if you have been in that kind of a situation, but it is not as crushing as the other two.

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  14. Good stuff. I still need to see Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Must do that!

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