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Marriage stories

Entertainment | Skip the latest feature-length divorce drama for something more pro-nuptial
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 12/13/19, 04:23 pm

Hollywood loves breakup and divorce movies, even if the average moviegoer doesn’t. Movies like Annie Hall and Kramer vs. Kramer—even Mrs. Doubtfire in its last 20 minutes—leave viewers with an indigestion-like feeling of unresolved discomfort while critics and awards-show voters applaud louder and louder. It’s as though making a movie that’s painful to watch represents some sort of career achievement level for actors, writers, and directors.

If that’s the goal, director Noah Baumbach has succeeded with Marriage Story. He takes viewers on an uphill slog through the worst moments in the small lives of the most self-absorbed spouses in the world. Adam Driver was more sympathetic as a budding Sith Lord in the latest Star Wars movies than as the clueless, entitled husband Charlie. He starts off understanding and accommodating but flips to resentful and verbally abusive faster than you can say, “Charlie, come to the dark side.”

Wife Nicole, played by Scarlett Johanssen, treats Charlie like a genie who should grant her every wish. When he doesn’t deliver, she punishes him with the help of Los Angeles’ most monstrous divorce lawyer. There are hints in the film’s final minutes that maybe their dumpster fire of a divorce has changed Charlie and Nicole for the better. But that change comes at the expense of the well-being of their 8-year-old son, Henry, who is academically, emotionally, and socially stunted.

Hollywood is drooling over Marriage Story. It earned six Golden Globe nominations—more than any other film this year. Maybe in a subculture with a divorce rate twice that of the rest of the country, a film like this provides a sort of comforting validation.

For those who understand marriage as a covenant between helpmates, not a means to personal fulfillment, I asked WORLD News Group staff members to name their favorite pro-marriage movies and TV shows—beyond the obvious titles by the Kendrick brothers (Fireproof, Courageous, War Room). Not all of them deal directly with marriage, but they portray married couples growing together through trials.


  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
  • The Family Man (2000)
  • The Incredibles (2004)
  • Instant Family (2018)
  • The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  • Up (2009)



  • Madam Secretary
  • The Goldbergs
  • The Middle
  • This Is Us

Editor’s note: While none of the above movies and TV shows are rated R, not all are suitable for children.

Courtesy of Newsha Tavakolian/Magnum photos Courtesy of Newsha Tavakolian/Magnum photos “Somayeh” from Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album by Newsha Tavakolian

Women on film

The Smithsonian’s My Iran: Six Women Photographers collection includes photos from life before and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when thousands of people died and hundreds of thousands fled the country.

One photograph showcases the last day women were allowed in public without wearing hijabs, just after the revolution in March 1979. Another displayed several women living in exile.

“Those who live in Iran tend to idealize life in the West, and those who live outside long for home,” one of the photographers, Mitra Tabrizian, noted in a caption. “But what both groups have in common is the will to survive.” —Onize Ohikere

Associated Press/Photo by Siobhan Morrissey Associated Press/Photo by Siobhan Morrissey Gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin next to Italian artist Maurizio Cattlelan’s Comedian at the Art Basel exhibition in Miami Beach, Fla., last week

Entertainment notes

  • It’s impossible to tell what’s more absurd: that a Miami art show displayed a banana duct-taped to a wall, that someone ate the banana and called it a performance, or that someone paid $120,000 for the art, which will require the periodic replacement of the banana when it rots. Maybe the greatest absurdity is that we can’t stop talking about it.
  • Britt McHenry, a host on the Fox Nation streaming service, sued Fox News and her former co-host, professional wrestler George “Tyrus” Murdoch, for sexual harassment this week. The lawsuit claims Murdoch sent McHenry sexually explicit texts and Fox News excluded her from company events and shows when she complained. Fox News denies any wrongdoing. Bombshell, a movie about how female Fox News hosts handled sexual harassment by the late CEO Roger Ailes, premiered in theaters on Friday.
  • Major League Baseball is amending its drug-testing guidelines for players to remove marijuana as a “drug of abuse” and add opioids and cocaine. MLB will still test for marijuana use but treat it the same as alcohol. On July 1, 27-year-old Tyler Skaggs, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, died after consuming alcohol and opioids. —L.L.
Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Sat, 12/14/2019 02:27 pm

    That someone paid $120 Grand for a banana and some duct tape is proof of something, I’m just not sure exactly what.  

    Maybe that having a lot of money is certainly no indication one has a lot of intelligence. 

  • Katie
    Posted: Mon, 12/16/2019 10:38 am

    Regarding pro-marriage movies, I wouldn't normally recommend a Jim Carrey movie for anything, but I love that in his Mr. Popper's Penguins remake, he and his wife are divorced but actually treat each other well and in the end realize they made a mistake and they get back together. It's a very pro-family film and funny.