The new Steve Carell comedy-drama “Crazy, Stupid Love” is generating some discussion as to whether its depiction of a separating couple is realistic. The movie is attracting some criticism because (spoiler alert), the separating couple reunites at the end.
Adults probably know this movie is a work of fiction that is meant to entertain and so is not terribly realistic. Almost half of all first marriages end in divorce and nearly 60 percent of second marriages end the same way – very few of them result in the couple remarrying.
But Hollywood seems to love men and women who fall back in love with each other, and some people think that is not such a great trend when it appears in children’s movies. From classics like “The Parent Trap” to the recent Jim Carrey film “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” movies aimed at younger audiences seem to like divorced parents who get back together.
One film critic called this trend “dangerous.” He said he is afraid it sends the wrong message to children – not the message that divorce is sometimes the best thing for a family, but the message that there is the chance for reconciliation even after a reunion is no longer possible or even desirable. He also said these movies tend to minimize the reasons couples separate. He called such movies “wish-fulfillment fantasies” and said they may confuse children and give them false hope.
If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, it may be a good idea to speak to your children about why you are separating. Depending on your children’s age, some concepts may be beyond their grasp, but assuring your children that you care for them and that you and your spouse’s decision to end your marriage is not their fault might provide them with a lot of reassurance. If you are not sure how to begin this conversation, check for parenting resources at your local library or see if you can make an appointment with a family therapist. Your family law attorney may have a relationship expert he or she could recommend. This may be a difficult discussion to have with your children, but it might make things easier on them in the long run.
Source: ABC News, “In Movies, No Marriage Woes Are Irreconcilable,” Jake Coyle, Aug. 9, 2011.