Spoiled Children of Divorce


“Being Flynn”

A couple of months ago I saw a really incredible but disturbing movie called Being Flynn.  It’s based on the real life story of a son who works in a homeless shelter and reconnects with his Father who comes in for help.  Robert DeNiro plays the Father and Julianne Moore plays the Mother.  Paul Dano plays the son.   Don’t know what he looks like in other roles but here he actually looks like someone who comes from divorce.  His posture, his attitude.  I stated before that I think that people from divorce generally have much different personalities from people who aren’t from divorce but never really thought that I attribute a certain type of physical look.

The original book on which the movie based is written by Nick Flynn and was originally titled Another Bullshit Night in Suck City.  Sorry, I’m very behind on my reading.  Flynn’s Mother committed suicide so his early life was extremely difficult.  Did I find his birth date?  Probably.  The astrology will be pretty interesting, if not beyond understanding.

Interesting website for the movie here.  Although this is a great movie I don’t recommend seeing it if you’re going through a difficult phase and especially if you’ve ever had to deal with suicide or homelessness or have known anyone who has.

Oh yeah, although I haven’t finished it, I really like the style of Flynn’s writing.



A.C.O.D.
June 23, 2012, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Movies About Growing Up in Divorce

A satirical comedy about Adult Children of Divorce is currently in production.  It’s called A.C.O.D. and stars all kinds of great actors.  Can’t wait.  Synopsis here.

 



“A Separation”

The 2012 Oscar for Best Foreign Film was given to a movie made in Iran.  It’s called “A Separation.”  It’s also a movie about Divorce, but the Hollywood film scene thinks it’s a movie about a couple struggling to make a better life for themselves in a different country. 

Anyway, this isn’t another immigration story with a happy ending. Unless you want to move to Iran because artists and intellectuals there are capable of expressing deep thoughts.  The IMDb database describes it as:

A married couple are faced with a difficult decision – to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s disease.

If that’s what the U.S. viewer thinks this is the story he’s going to see he’s in for a rude awakening, especially if he’s a divorced parent.  Or, at least I think he might get an awakening.   Divorced parents are pretty stubborn people.  Hollywood certainly didn’t get it.  If it had it certainly wouldn’t have given an award to it.

So, during the first scene you see the couple explaining their divorce to a judge.  They both give their arguments.  Things get tense, the judge has to tell them to shut up a couple of times and then they file for the divorce which the wife wants and the husband doesn’t want.  They have a 12-year old daughter who wants to stay at home with the father and grandfather. 

The Mother goes to live with her parents and the Father is faced with having to hire someone to stay with his Father all day long.  He hires someone who is not comfortable with the job.  Things get worse and worse and the caretaker ends up leaving the grandfather in the house alone tied to the bed.  This leads to the Father coming home and getting really angry and shoving her out the door.   Pregnant, she falls and suffers a miscarriage.  The Father is taken into court for murdering the unborn child and the dirty laundry and guilt/innocence of everyone involved gets aired.

Where things get interesting from a Child of Divorce’s point of view is seeing the divorce through the 12-year old daughter’s eyes, of course.  Through all the emotional traumas both the parents’ flaws come to the forefront.  One can see that they are both good people and loving parents. One can also begin to see why they don’t get along.  One can also see that they can’t discuss the other’s flaws with each other.  And while they can’t talk to each other they can easily tell the daughter what they are thinking and feeling.  She then relays the message because, as a 12 year old she is trying to figure the whole situation out herself.  The flaws sort of seem like trivial differences.  The daughter can see the games that men and women play with each other long before she learns about this from her own relationships as is natural. 

The daughter’s presence was strongly felt throughout, but I realized that her point of view was never shown until somebody asked her a question and the camera stayed on her face and she just stared off blankly not saying anything.  There it was.  The amazing silence!

After that I was emotionally involved with her.  Divorce is an extremely emotional experience about relationship failure, but during divorce people don’t think about feelings or relationships, they talk and they talk and they think it will all be okay once the papers are signed.  They are intent only on the action of splitting, even if it means splitting the kid in half.   The way the movie handles the silences and the communications is unbelievably brilliant.   The last scene brings an extreme emotional shock which brings this idea of Silence and the impossible feelings that exist within Divorced families. 

 What was even more shocking was to be watching the movie in a theater in California with mostly older couples.  California being the Divorce capital of the world, I can only assume there were some couples were working on second and third marriages in that room.  Either way, the air in the room was thick when I walked out, and, nobody was talking.  I hadn’t felt that in a long time because my parents have been dead a long time.  It would always lead to my step-mother making a weird sucking sound in her throat and to my Mother havin to go out and get drunk.  My Father would act as if the family were normal.  It involved guilt and denial and blame.  I always knew that life would be easier if I just avoided talking at those points.



Horror Movie about Dad’s House
November 21, 2011, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Horror, Movies About Growing Up in Divorce

Don’t like Horror movies but this one is about having to go live with Dad and his Girlfriend in a haunted house.  In this case, the hauntings are done by 19th century artists who turn into tooth fairies.  And the house gobbles up the Girlfriend so everyone’s happy in the endDon’t Be Afraid of the Dark.



“Thirteen”

Saw this movie a while ago, so don’t know how well I remember it.  Thirteen is supposed to be an autobiographical movie directed by Catherine Hardwicke who also directed the Twilight movies.  I’m not sure how the autobiography part is related.  I believe that Hardwicke wrote it with her 14 year old daughter and it is based on the behaviors of the daughter of an ex-boyfriend.   It’s the story of a teenager going through a pretty brutal rebellious phase.  Story includes the liberal Mother, the boyfriend in Rehab, the Father who isn’t around, the destructive girlfriend and her Mother.  And, of course, experimentation with drugs and sex.  And the daughter is completely rehabilitated by Age 14.

Yahoo explains it better.



Biutiful

After I watched the movie Biutiful last night, all 2.45 hours of it, I was not feeling very good.  It’s Spanish movie about a guy who is dying and, all I could really think was that I must have aged out of the European movie market.  I figured I just can’t handle the reality anymore.  Then, this morning I woke up thinking, “O my God, Uxbal is my Father!”

So, why I’m listing this movie on this blog is because Javier Bardem, as always, gives the most amazing performance of a Father who is divorced.  One realizes how much he loves his children and wants to provide for them.  He has custody because the children’s Mother is Bipolar and unreliable. There are two children in the story.  The oldest daughter has her 10th Birthday during the time that the movie takes place.  Her parents do everything they can to make it special for her, but their complicated lives and personal problems turn the celebrations in to one catastrophe after another.

I don’t know who the actress is who plays the wife/ex-wife, but she is brilliant.  Society really has come a long way when one sees that children are not expected to live with their Mother when she is that mentally ill.  My generation; usually the Father couldn’t handle it, and took off, the way mine did.  This character acknowledges that his children will turn out however they will turn out, whether he is around or not in the same way that he and his brother both turned otu, but he also acknowledges the importance of providing for them as a parent.  This centers around his obsession with leaving enough money to keep the rent for their apartment.

But, here, what is so incredible is to see the portrayal of this Father from so many different angles.  He sees his life through his spiritual side, which is strongly related to death and unresolved grief, as both his parents died when he was very young.  He makes a few extra bucks helping newly dead people to pass over.

One sees that he just keeps going, focusing on fixing other people’s problems but perpetually unable to break out of the slums that he is born into.  Finally his body just gives out.  Incredible scene where he goes to the toilet;  looks out the window to see a guy passed out in the street, you can see that he is feeling bad for the guy and meanwhile looks down to see that his urine is full of blood.  He himself has waited too long before going to the Doctor.

Better description than what I can provide here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biutiful



“Blue Valentine”

Saw the movie Blue Valentine this week-end, a movie about a married couple whose relationship is falling apart.  They have one daughter.  The story is about the struggle to stay together together, the shock of not being able to make it work.  There is one child, a daughter.  The movie unfolds in a series of flashbacks which shows both why the relationship came together and why it fell apart. The deciding scene takes place in a creepy motel room called “The Future Room” in which one can see that there is no future here.  The acting, by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, is really incredible.

I don’t think I’m going to say more, except to say that the husband is from a divorce background.  One can see his Child of D personality as he is abnormally sensitive to other peoples’ feelings but also can’t put his life in forward gear.  This is dragging his wife down.  Gosling’s characters’ Mother left the family when he was 10 and was never seen again.  He didn’t finish college and and has worked in low paying jobs his whole life, maintaining a light hearted personality while dragging his life down with obsessive smoking and drinking.  He has no ambition to do anything in his life, and has no connections with the past.  He is portrayed in all kinds of mercurial relationships with home and house.  First he works as a mover, unpacking an old man’s belongings in the old folks home with uncharacteristic care.  Then he works as a house painter, delighting in seeing other people so happy with the improvements he can make in their homes.  Meanwhile, his own inability to find his own passion for living is what destroys his family.

Michelle Williams’ character is surrounded by family, although not necessarily a happy harmonious family.  I couldn’t tell if her parents were divorced.  She is mostly connected with her grandmother.  Williams’ character works as a nurse.   Gosling’s character met her just at the moment when she became pregnant from a bad boyfriend and rushed in to making a family with her.

Kind of interesting how in the final scene I felt a tinge of relief as they moved on, even though it was pretty clear that Gosling’s character was probably going to just get worse.   Of course, the last scene shows the daughter being ripped from her father, and, quickly recovering.

Maybe someday there will be a realistic movie about how she deals with her Mother’s second marriage.

No.  Wait.  Here we go:     Brady Bunch Theme Song.

Here’s a review.

Imdb