This week’s highly-viewed Academy Awards ceremony has perhaps put movies on the public’s mind more than usual. This year’s Best Picture-winner, Slumdog Millionaire, is a touching romance as well as a fascinating family drama. Like most cinematic love stories, its emphasis is on youthful romance and premarital courtship. This is not a knock on Slumdog; I loved the movie and highly recommend it. That said, the moviegoing world has had plenty of instruction on how to fall in love. It’s staying in love and working through challenges often seems hard to find at the multiplex. During the Oscars, a friend of mine was diligently scribbling down a “must-see list” of the award-winners, an act that got my relationship-focused mind thinking on a parallel track: “What are the ‘must-see movies’ about making a marriage work? While a complete list on the topic is beyond the scope of this blog (you’ll likely think of many that I didnt’), I thought I could get the ball rolling on with some suggestions for your next visit to Netflix or the video store:

A BEAUTIFUL MIND: This 2001 Best-Picture winner finds Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connely supporting each other through dangers and mental illness.

BIG FISH: First of all, it takes place in Alabama! Second of all, Tim Burton’s eye-catching family drama, with one foot in reality and the other in fantasy, has a terrific portrayal of marital fidelity, with a couple entering their golden years with a life full of memories and an attitude of cherishing each other.

CINDERELLA  MAN: Underseen gem has Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger as a Depression-era couple trying to make ends meet. Very inspiring.

ENCHANTED: Okay, this is cheating a little bit, because this is a “falling in love” story, but worth including because of its emphasis on striking a balance between romance and realism, and for showing that new healthy relationships are attainable after a divorce.

FATHER OF THE BRIDE (PARTS ONE AND TWO)- These winning Steve-Martin/Diane Keaton family comedies find the pair coping with the joys of parenthood together.

THE INCREDIBLES: This Pixar/Disney collaboration carries a surprisingly insightful examination into the strains and joys of longterm marriage, carefully disguised as a superhero action adventure.

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL: This sweet and powerful Italian film is a rarity: a heartwarming film about the Holocaust. Roberto Benigni and real-life wife Nicoletta Braschi star as loving parents who fight to give their family hope during World War II.

PATRIOT GAMES/CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER: Political thrillers have CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) and his surgeon wife (Anne Archer) supporting each other and raising children in times of danger and stress.

UNBREAKABLE: M. Night Shyamalan’s underrated “realistic” superhero thriller has brilliantly understated performances by Robin Wright Penn and Bruce Willis, as a married couple who haven’t seen conflict; they’ve simply drifted apart. Their story is the emotional backbone of the film, providing poignantly real heartache, as well as the undercurrent of hope that they can find their love for each other again.

WORLD TRADE CENTER: Also underseen, Oliver Stone’s true story of two policemen trapped in the towers, and the families who love them, is nothing short of inspiring.

These should get you started! Feel free to add more suggestions in the comments section!



  1. Christina Bradley-Hernandez Says:

    The new movie “Fireproof”, starring Kirk Cameron, is awesome. It’s a story about a couple who have drifted apart-both only concentrating on what they are not getting from the other instead of trying to give the other what he/she needs. The wife asks for a divorce but the husband’s father gives him a 40-day challenge called “The Love Dare.” Each day he has to do something for his wife and each day builds on the previous day. It’s amasing to watch this couple find a new kind of love for one another. After watching this movie over the weekend, my husband and I have decided to renew our wedding vows for our 10th anniversary (this November), and to treat our marriage as a covenant and not a contract. I loved this movie and would reccommend it to everyone, especially couples. It really shows that no matter how far you think it’s gone, God can turn it back around!

    “Fireproof” was made by a church in Georgia. They also made the movie “Facing the Giants”, which is also a great movie to give people hope, especially couples. It’s the story of a losing coach at a Christian school and his wife. They have struggles left and right and desperately want a child but face each problem together. Once the coach finally decides to give everything to God and give him the glory no matter what, things start falling into place for the couple, the football team, and the school. This heartwarming movie had me crying a happy cry both times saw it!

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