FEATURED MOVIE REVIEW: Six must-watch marriage movies
By John Mulderig/OSV News
NEW YORK. Hollywood seems to find more drama in decaying marriages and divorce than in marital stability. Yet memorable films portraying successful marriages have appeared over the years.
Following, in alphabetical order, are capsule reviews of six movies that depict happily spliced couples, together with their OSV News classifications and, if applicable, their Motion Picture Association ratings. All are available on disc and/or for streaming.
“The Awful Truth” (1937)
After suspicion of infidelity, a New York couple (Cary Grant and Irene Dunne) are granted an interlocutory divorce, and while waiting for the final decree the wife reluctantly takes up with an Oklahoma oil man (Ralph Bellamy) and the husband with an heiress, though each tries to sabotage the other’s relationships because, at heart, they still love each other. Leo McCarey’s classic comedy showcases the two stars at their peak, working with a witty script with the kind of serious subtext that anchors the best comedies, and overall provides a ringing affirmation of marriage. Implied infidelity, sophisticated banter, mildly suggestive nightclub number. The OSV News classification is A-II — adults and adolescents.
“A Beautiful Mind” (2001)
Absorbing biography of mathematical genius John Forbes Nash Jr. (Russell Crowe), who was afflicted with schizophrenia, but eventually triumphed over the disease with the help of his devoted wife (Jennifer Connelly), going on to win the Nobel Prize. Elegantly weaving scenes from a fine script, director Ron Howard presents a very human story of brilliance, insanity and marital love, despite the familiar trappings of an inspirational story. Intense, mature theme dealing with mental illness, a few sexual references, a scene of violence, and minimal crass language and profanity. The OSV News classification is A-III — adults.
“Friendly Persuasion” (1956)
Winning adaptation of Jessamyn West’s novel about a Quaker household (Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire and Tony Perkins) at the time of the Civil War. Director William Wyler’s lyric treatment of family life and human relationships heightens the conflict between the hard realities of the war and the pacifist convictions of the Quaker faith. Still a warm and cheering experience for family viewers. The OSV News classification is A-I — general patronage.
“The Thin Man” (1934)
Classic murder mystery from the Dashiell Hammett story in which private detective Nick Charles (William Powell) announces his retirement after marrying rich socialite Nora (Myrna Loy), then gets involved in trying to help a young woman (Maureen O’Sullivan) find her missing father, the eccentric inventor of the title (Edward Ellis). Director W.S. Van Dyke II paces the suspenseful plot with numerous suspicious characters, witty dialogue, and affectionate kidding between happily married Nick and Nora. Menacing atmosphere, some stylized violence, hard-boiled types and heavy drinking. The OSV News classification is A-II — adults and adolescents.
“Tokyo Story” (1953)
Elderly couple on their first visit to the Tokyo homes of their children meet only disguised rejection except, ironically, for the kindness of their dead son’s wife. When the mother dies shortly after returning to their country village, it is only the widowed daughter-in-law who shows any real feeling of loss. Director Yasujiro Ozu’s eloquent treatment of old age makes it a uniquely moving hymn to life. The OSV News classification is A-I — general patronage.
Off we go into the wild blue yonder — literally — with this instant classic, the story of a grumpy septuagenarian (voice of Ed Asner) who decides to get away from it all by relocating his home to South America with the help of thousands of colorful balloons. Joined by an earnest 8-year-old stowaway (voiced by Jordan Nagai), a gigantic squawking bird and a “talking” dog, he finds the adventure of a lifetime as the ragtag group battles evil in the Venezuelan jungle. This touching fable from director and co-writer Pete Docter offers lessons for young and old on love and loss, marriage, friendship and perseverance in a gorgeously rendered, very amusing and highly entertaining film. Some serious thematic material and a few scenes of intense peril may disturb small children. The OSV News classification is A-I — general patronage.
(John Mulderig is media reviewer for OSV News. Follow him on Twitter/X @JohnMulderig1.)