Why in the world would you want to watch a movie about divorce when you are going through a divorce? 

When a couple is going through a divorce, even if it’s amicable, there are feelings of loss, pain, regret, doubt, confusion, vulnerability, loneliness and fear of the unknown. Allowing yourself to feel all of the emotions is part of the grieving process and is beneficial in your healing journey.

Humans gravitate towards connection. Even connection to fictional characters in books or movies that are experiencing something similar to what we are going through. Emma Seppala, Ph.D., explains that social connections strengthen our immune system, help us recover quicker, have lower rates of anxiety and depression and may even lengthen our lives.

Movies are one tried and true way to distract yourself as you are going through your self healing process. Some therapists even believe in “Movie Therapy”, suggesting movies help us change the way we think and feel. Prepare yourself though, as you choose to watch these movies, there is a pretty good chance that they are going to make you cry. But that is the point!

Have you ever heard the expression, “I just need a good cry”? That is said because crying is actually healing. A 2014 study found that crying has a self-soothing effect on people. The study explains how crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps people relax.Tears during emotional crying have a chemical composition containing higher amounts of prolactin, which differs from other types of tears. So let’s get to relaxing, lengthening our lives and releasing some prolactin.

If you Google movies about divorce, most sites you are directed to are going to list the same 5-10 movies, including:

These are all great movies! I think they are great choices to watch, but here are a few other movies you might have skipped over when you were planning your Divorce Movie Marathon Night. Grab your snacks, get a box of tissues and let’s do this. Ready…Get Set…Release Prolactin!

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5-Day Divorce Recovery Crash Course. Take the first steps in your recovery and start healing today! Send me the free emails

Movie #1: The Breakup

Year: 2006
Starring: Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston
Description: “I deserve somebody who gives a $H!t”

The movie unfolds with Gary (Vaughn) and Brook (Aniston) meeting. Within the first ten minutes you see their relationship unfold and the couple buy a condo together. Gary and Brook are never married in the movie, but they are living together, they have a loving, committed relationship and have merged their lives as married couples do. Brook begins to feel underappreciated, she feels the effort to work on the relationship is one sided and tension begins to build. 

After a series of escalating arguments the couple decide to part ways, but neither want to give up the condo they purchased together. The movie shows the complexities of splitting assets, the hurt that you can encounter when you discover you find your ex is dating someone new and the growth you see from both characters as they begin to rediscover themselves after they split.

Movie #2: Definitely, maybe

Year: 2008
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Banks and Abigail Breslin
Description: “How do you tell someone that you care about that you don’t want the things that they want anymore”

This movie is sweet, funny, endearing and yes a little sad. Will Hayes (Reynolds) is trying to help his eleven-year-old daughter understand and accept the imminent divorce from her mother. He tells his daughter a story about how he met her mother, but he throws in other romantic relationships he had before he married her mother, changing the names, letting his daughter figure out which woman is her mother. 

The story shows how two loving parents who no longer love each other romantically can move forward with a divorce and still be amazing parents and friends. There is also a twist in there that might (or might not) lead Will back to someone from his past.

Movie #3: Love Actually

Year: 2003
Starring: Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant and so, so many more!
Description: “Love Actually Is All Around Us”

This is, in fact, a Christmas movie. Nevertheless, I love it so much I watch it whenever I am scrolling through the TV and see it’s on. This movie follows 10 loosely interrelated stories of people who are dealing with love in their lives. There is a funeral, a wedding, new love, young love and even divorce. Jamie (played by Firth) discovers that his wife is cheating on him with his brother. Jamie is crushed and escapes to France to write a novel when he unexpectedly meets a woman he begins to fall for, despite the language barriers that keep them from being able to communicate with words.

You bounce between each story, watching them all unfold as they get closer to Christmas. This won’t ruin the ending for you….after the stories are wrapped up, the camera pans Heathrow Airport as you watch travelers embrace and The Beach Boys song “God Only Knows” plays. Yep, I’m crying thinking about it!

Movie #4: Marriage Story

Year: 2019
Starring: Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson
Description: “Sometimes the ending, is when the story begins”

This one actually is a pretty obvious choice, however it’s newer and it’s only currently available on Netflix so it might not be one you have come across. I remember the night I decided to watch this movie. My dad called to check on me to see what I was doing and when I told him the movie I was going to watch he said, “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” It certainly was a cry filled evening, but I was able to relate to many pieces of this particular movie. Henry (Adam Driver) is a successful theater director and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) is an actress.

Their lives begin to move in different directions and despite their differences they try to stay together for their son Charlie, until Nicole is offered a job in Los Angeles and they both agree to split amicably.

The story follows their journey while they are navigating the struggles that accompany divorce and co-parenting. You see them both change from being bitter to kind and witness how being kind, during one of the most difficult events two people can experience, can actually be when a new story begins.

Movie #5: Cast Away 

Year: 2000
Starring: Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt (and Wilson as the volleyball)
Description: “At the edge of the world, his journey begins”

Ok, I stumped you. You are thinking, “Isn’t this a movie about a plane crash and a man surviving on a desert island?” Think about that though, maybe that is what we are doing when we are going through a divorce. The crash and the desert island are our divorce. We are struggling, some days feel like we are fighting for our lives, we are getting stronger, doing things we NEVER thought possible while learning so much about ourselves. 

Marriage is terminable by divorce OR presumption of death. Although Chuck Noland (Hanks) and Kelly Frears (Hunt) were not married, they were madly in love and in a committed relationship when Chuck went missing after his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean on Christmas. 

Chuck is forced to discover himself in a completely different way after his plane crashes into the ocean. Surviving alone on a deserted island Chuck is tested mentally, physically and emotionally in order to survive.

After several years on the island, he is rescued and returns home to find the love of his life is married. Kelly didn’t break his heart by divorcing him, his pain was learning that the woman who kept his heart alive and kept him fighting to return home was no longer his person and he had to let her go from his heart.

Chuck now has to lean on all the strength he gained and taught himself while he was on a deserted island to overcome the devastation he feels, accepting Kelly’s life has moved on.

This movie shows us that just because you have your life planned out, it doesn’t always turn out how you think it’s supposed to. Chuck certainly didn’t want to crash into the Pacific Ocean and lose the love of his life, but something that he brought back from the island let’s you know that maybe things DO happen for a reason. Kelly was A love of his life, but not THE ONLY love in his life. Chuck see’s a sign at the end of the movie and gets a smile on his face, reminding us life moves forward whether we want it to or not.

See that quote from the movie above? Let’s rephrase that for you today, “At the end of this chapter, your journey begins”.

5-Day Divorce Recovery Crash Course. Take the first steps in your recovery and start healing today! Send me the free emails
5-Day Divorce Recovery Crash Course. Take the first steps in your recovery and start healing today! Send me the free emails

About The Author

Jasmine Rice is a certified professional life coach with a passion to support individuals in creating their own healthy “life recipe” after divorce. Wanting to fast-forward through her own difficult divorce, she has implemented what she has learned through her own experiences and promotes that recovery is an ongoing journey; there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to healing your heart. Her blog is written to encourage others to build personal strength and find balance in their own lives when navigating a difficult life transition. Learn more at Good Things Are Gonna Come.