Posts Tagged ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou]’

TheRef

Growing up I had the odd experience of being the one of the only kids in my school, whose parents were still together. When you are surrounded by the societal norm for your community, you start wondering when you’ll conform. I remember asking them very casually when they would be getting a divorce. Luckily it never happened.

Hollywood has created some interesting movies that touch on divorce. They aren’t supposed to be conversation pieces about relationships but they could be. They aren’t the most cliché divorce movies you’ve heard of like, War of the Roses or Kramer vs Kramer. A lot of the movies I’ve watched that talk about divorce in a more realistic, less dramatic fashion are outlandish comedies. Starting with spies and we end with crimes! Enjoy.

5. True Lies

Summary: Harry Tasker is a secret agent. His wife has no idea. Helen Tasker is bored with her life because she is growing apart from her husband. Using his  friends at the agency, he concocts a plan to make her life more interesting and reconnect. The plan goes horribly wrong when Harry is interrupted by actual counter-espionage, revealing his real occupation.

How this movie touches on divorce: Harry Tasker doesn’t realize how boring life seems to his wife. She looks for an outlet and starts to consider cheating. The movie is really discussing how important it is to do things outside the daily routine, together. Their solution is to make her an international spy! That way they can share their unusual day-to-day work.

In real life they suggest going out to eat at a new restaurant or taking a dance class. In the real world, you wouldn’t become a spy just by getting kidnapped by a terrorist organization that has Tia Carrere as their evil leader.

4. Mr. and Ms. Smith

Summary – John and Jane Smith are married but they are growing apart. In reality they are spies working for rival agencies. Neither is aware till they are given the assignment to eliminate each other.

How this movie talks about divorce: This marriage was never based on the truth. In the very beginning of the relationship these two spies lied about everything. In fact, I’m not sure how they could legally be married because … well never mind. They start suspecting that the other is cheating and start working on  getting a divorce. This movie is really talking about how you can’t have a stable marriage if you kill people for a living… I mean if you lie to your loved ones. They realize after they have to band together to get out alive that they need to tell each other the truth.

Eventually they work it out, even in the midst of a fire fight.

3.  Moonrise Kingdom

Summary – Two young lovers flee together to get married. The town Sheriff and the Girls family band together, putting their problems aside to find the two kids before a hurricane hits the island.

What does this have to do with divorce? Suzy’s parents have a very distant relationship. Both parents have their issues. Suzy’s Mother has been cheating with the town Sheriff. Suzy’s Father, pretty knows that his marriage is a failure. Suzy, decides to run away with her secret love so that she doesn’t wind up like her Mother in a sham marriage. That’s when the adults realize that, while they care about each other, they are hurting themselves by behaving badly. Sam, is a troubled orphan that goes to the island every year with a scouting troop. Well, his foster parents don’t want him back this time. Suzy’s parents don’t divorce them but the sheriff adopts him, realizing that the kid just needs the right influence in his life. All of Wes Anderson’s movies deal with dysfunctional families. This one has a happy ending because once everyone realized how their happiness was tied to each other, they got the help they needed.

2. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Summary – Steve Zissou is a naturalist, exploring the underwater realms in his yellow submarine. This is his escape from the surface world where he has to deal with the death of a dear friend, the fall out from his divorce and the sudden appearance of an illegitimate child.

Divorce is the basis for most of the character relationships in this movie. The main character Steve Zissou has an ex-wife Eleanor who controls part of his world. She’s still deeply involved in his life even though they are no longer married. This deals with the aftermath of divorce and how different people cope. Although the marriage bond has been severed, you are most likely still going to deal with that person. Why not try to become friends or at least civil? Sometimes, your ex may even know you better than you know yourself. Even through Eleanor has issues with her ex, she still wants to support him in his goal… to an extent.

1. The Ref

Summary – Talk about a bad night. Gus, a professional cat burglar, breaks into the wrong house on Christmas Eve. His partner abandons him and he has to take a family hostage.  The family fights even while tied up and being robbed blind. The burglar finds himself playing marriage  and family counselor instead of getting his job done. It helps that Dennis Leary is the unfortunate burglar.

How does this talk about divorce? They couple in the movie is at each other’s throat. The rest of the family isn’t much help. The son is a blackmailer. The husband is considered a weakling by his overbearing wife. Everyone has their own issues caused by the image they want to project. They are stuck in a suburban life, miserable and can’t even tell each other why they are unhappy. The situation helps them work through their issues by forcing them to actually de
al with each other. I am sure though, if we saw a sequel, there was divorce over the horizon.

All of these movies bring up divorce in their own bizarre ways.

Runners up: Death Becomes Her and She Devil. Both movies involve Meryl Streep. In both movies Meryl Streep steals another woman’s man and both movies have novelists. They also both have a supernatural twist after divorce and getting revenge on the other woman and ex husband. This is why I didn’t add them to the list. I don’t want to shame any party in a relationship. Both movies are bizarre in their own way. Death Becomes Her involves a treatment that makes you younger, more beautiful and… immortal. She Devil involves a deal with the devil that gives Roseanne Barr’s character the ability to summon everything she needs to get revenge.

 

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