Family Law Movies That Make Men Cry

Wednesday, April 20 by Robin Raven

If you are looking for a film that will help get out pent-up emotions, yet one that also has a strong storyline regarding an important topic, check out these 10 family law movies that make men cry. There are some popular movies on the list, but there are also some critically acclaimed ones that sailed a bit below mainstream radar. Give them a chance, and you'll be reaching for the tissues and feeling satisfied about having seen a great movie.

  1. "Kramer vs. Kramer" This 1979 classic film is probably the most well known and enduringly beloved movie about family law. It stars Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman. The movie takes a stark, realistic and brave look at family law and how it impacts children and parents when going through the ongoing trauma of a divorce and its aftermath.
  2. "Mrs. Doubtfire" When Daniel Hillard (played by Robin Williams) loses custody of his kids in the court system after a divorce, the rest of his world comes crashing down around him. He realizes that the only way he can see his kids is to be someone else. He is inspired to go in disguise as a nanny in order to spend time with his children, and he and his family get a huge wake-up call.
  3. "Irreconcilable Differences" Drew Barrymore is the child star of this movie from 1984. She stars as Lucy, an eight-year-old child who is suing her parents for a divorce, so she can live with another family. Through her and her parents' testimony (and seen primarily through flashbacks), we see the young girl's difficult journey through her parents all-consuming Hollywood life and subsequent divorce.
  4. "The War of the Roses" This is a cautionary tale on how far a divorce can go if you let it. The family suffers through a comical, exaggerated, yet tragic fate in this movie that stars Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas, and Kathleen Turner.
  5. "Liar Liar" Yes, this is a Jim Carrey comedy, but it also has deep emotional themes that come to the surface. Carrey plays a divorced father who is also a divorce lawyers. Lying is his compulsion and necessary for how he makes a living. When his son gets impacted by it one too many times, though, and custody looks questionable, a shift happens, and the truth comes out in a big way.
  6. "Parent Trap" Both the original classic comedy starring Hayley Mills or the remake that turned Lindsay Lohan into a child star are great movies. This film looks at what happens when children are split by family law or the parent's own decisions. Each parent took a twin and raised them without knowledge of the other. When they meet in summer camp, they switch places, and reunion attempts begin.
  7. "Lantern Hill" This is both a coming-of-age drama and a movie on the lasting effects of separation on the children and parents. It's an uplifting mystery movie as well. Trivia note: Critically acclaimed actress Sarah Polley appeared as a small part in this movie as one of her first roles as a child star.
  8. "The Squid and the Whale" Two teen boys end up split apart when their parents divorce. Each one picks a parent, and it's a battle of sides. This movie brings a microscope to the pain suffered by kids that are caught within the unspoken and spoken pressures of families dealing with law and custody issues, as well as the loyalties that are tested within a divorce.
  9. "Wonder Boys" Michael Douglas stars in this movie about a man going through a divorce, while contemplating his career, concern for his students, romantic feelings, as well as the legal and emotional rights to a child that's being carried by the mistress he loves.
  10. "Jake's Closet" This movie from 2007 delves deeply into the mind of a little boy who is dealing with the trauma of a divorcing family. It will tear at the heartstrings at it addresses the deep, immediate emotional complications of fractured families.

-Robin Raven