5 great movies about troubled marriages
FILE - In this film publicity file photo released by Magnolia Pictures, Tilda Swinton, left, and Mattia Zaccaro, are shown in a scene from, "I am Love." (AP Photo/Magnolia Pictures, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play a longtime married couple who've fallen into a rut in the surprisingly honest and effective "Hope Springs." She hopes intensive couples' therapy will restore their romance; he's content to fall asleep in front of the television every night watching The Golf Channel.
Marriage, in all its states, is such a universal topic that it's been portrayed in countless films. But troubled marriages can provide showy performances and moments of uncomfortable truth. Here are five great examples:
—"Scenes From a Marriage" (1973): One of Ingmar Bergman's very best, this intimate and piercing drama follows a seemingly happy, upper-middle class Swedish couple over the years as their marriage falls apart. Marianne (Liv Ullmann) and Johan (Erland Josephson) destroy each other, drift apart and eventually wind up with other people, but still find themselves intrinsically tied to each other. Working with his longtime collaborator, the great cinematographer Sven Nyqvist, Bergman is unflinching and uncompromising in his examination of this flawed and all-too human love affair, and Ullmann and Josephson are pitch-perfect. Originally presented as a six-part TV miniseries, it was edited down to a feature film of nearly three hours. Not a moment of emotion has been lost.
FILE - In this publicity file photo released by The Weinstein Company, Michelle Williams, left, and Ryan Gosling, are shown in a scene from, "Blue Valentine." (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, File)
— "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966): I reference this movie a lot, I realize, but this week's list would seem empty without it. It's the ultimate train wreck: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton booze it up and berate each other in front a poor, unsuspecting young couple who had the misfortune of saying "yes" to their invitation to come over one night. Mike Nichols' adaptation of Edward Albee's play, his assured directing debut, would have had a relentless sense of claustrophobia anyway. But the fact that Burton and Taylor had such a notoriously tumultuous off-screen relationship (they were married to each other in real life — for the first time) made their on-screen barbs seem that much more severe. Nominated for 13 Academy Awards, it won five, including best actress for Taylor's scathing performance.