Like the old song goes, we always hurt the ones we love. I mean, WE don’t, but people in movies do. Some of the most searing, emotionally brutal films are the ones that explore the painful familiarity of a long-term romantic relationship, like this week’s new release Between Us, which follows in a rich tradition of deep, dark, painfully honest relationship dramas. These movies can sting — the truth hurts — but they can also point out pitfalls to avoid in our own lives, and help us to reflect on our own reasons for holding onto uncomfortable emotions. What the heck, it’s cheaper than therapy…
Two couples’ all-night conversations, set several years apart, reveal the ways they’ve grown apart, the changes within their relationships, and why not everything should be up for discussion, even with your closest friends. Starring Julia Stiles, Taye Diggs, Melissa George, and David Harbour.
Elizabeth Taylor, the most glamorous star in the world in 1968, confounded everyone when she aged herself up to play a boozy, bossy, braying wife of a professor, played by her real-life husband Richard Burton, as they host a younger couple for a drunken evening of emotional warfare. Taylor won an Oscar for the role.
Marlon Brando rose to film stardom (but, alone among the cast, did not win an Academy Award) as crude, working-class boor Stanley Kowalski, whose tumultuous relationship with his wife Stella is complicated by the arrival of Stella’s sister Blanche, a fading beauty with a fishy story about how the family plantation was lost. The acting is terrific and the writing is brutal, and if you only remember this one from reading it in high school, is well worth another look.
In another Tennessee Williams adaptation, an alcoholic ex-jock and his sensuous young wife (1958 Paul Newman and 1958 Elizabeth Taylor) return to his family’s plantation to attend to his sick father, but things start to turn ugly when the relations start asking why they haven’t had any kids.
Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet reunited eleven years after the smash success of Titanic to dissect a bleak postwar marriage crumbling under the couple’s unrealized ambitions, boredoms, and efforts to conform to the mores of the time. Both Dicaprio and Winslet give sensational performances, if a little too real for comfort.
See more after the jump.
The strange cultural hangover left by the sex and drug experimentation of the ’60s wreaks havoc on a pair of Connecticut families over Thanksgiving 1973, as both the adults and the kids wrestle with boredom, dissatisfaction, and expectations. A great script buoyed by an extraordinary ensemble cast headed by Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, Christina Ricci, and Tobey Maguire.
The alienation of stay-at-home parenthood is explored, on both sides of the gender divide, as Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson meet at the playground they bring their respective kids to and each soon decide that everything missing from their lives can be found in the other. How could that possibly go wrong?
Julianne Moore won rave reviews and an Academy Award nomination playing a 1950s housewife who scandalizes the neighborhood when she seeks comfort with a black man (Dennis Haysbert) as her husband (Dennis Quaid) struggles with homosexual urges.
After his wife (Nicole Kidman) admits to having intensely fantasized about another man, Dr. Bill Hartford (Tom Cruise) goes on an all-night odyssey around New York City looking for revenge. He finds a variety of options for illicit sex, but each comes with its own perils and helps to underline how and why sex is best with the person you love.
Jack Lemmon is best known for his light comic touch but gives a career-best performance as a man whose struggles with alcoholism drag his wife (Lee Remick) down with him. His efforts to recover are met with resistance from his wife, and soon both are forced to choose which relationship is the most important.
Diane Lane and Richard Gere play a happily married couple whose marriage is rocked when Lane begins an affair with a dreamy French bookstore owner after a chance meeting. Directed by Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction), the movie is interested in the random, chance nature of life-changing events (as opposed to more melodramatic bitterness or spite fueling things), and handles it soberly; but not before delivering some seriously hot scenes between the gorgeous-at-any-age Lane and young hunk Oliver Martinez.