Oscars 2013: 8 Films Where Marriage Matters


Did you notice how many Best Film nominees featured marriage issues?

Boy-meets-girl has always been a winning movie theme.   How come this year simple romance has given way to a focus on long-term marriages as a significant theme in so many of the Oscar Best Film nominations?  

While I have no idea of the answer to that questions, as a marriage specialist I'm thrilled to see this return to focusing in the media on the role of marriage in building a solid base for life.

Here's a run-down of which movies had to say what about matrimony.

Amour:  Who would have thought that Europe, where marriage has been going out of fashion with co-habitation being more of a winner, would produce an internationally acclaimed movie sympathetically focused on a elder married couple! 

Dijango dramatizes a man’s quest to rejoin his wife.  Sure, it's violence-packed.  Yet it also models Black husband's long-lasting love for his beautiful wife. 

Silver Linings Playbook tracks a family with an older couple.  How do they handle their adult son as his problems begin to look overwhelming? 

Beasts of the Southern Wild No marriage here, alas.  Reintegrating Black dads into their role as fathers has been a strong priority of the Obama administration, but this film does not make the cut for movies featuring marriage.

Life of Pi offers surprisingly pro-marriagea images.  The film starts with scenes of family life, portraying the couple who are Pi’s parents.  It concludes similarly with a scene showing Pi's wife and kids, suggesting indirectly that marriage is what folks who have been saved from premature death aspire to do.

Lincoln focuses primarily on Lincoln's extraordinary political leadership, and yet secondarily says much about the President’s marriage.

Zero Dark Thirty deals with marriage in abstentia.  The unmarried heroine, at the end of the film, finds herself starkly alone.  How sad, I thought, no husband to share her relielf or her accomplishment. I would not say though that marriage was a theme in this flick.

Les Miserables doesn't quite make the marriage-focoused list, but it does at least include a wedding.

So what does all this inclusion of themes about marriage in prize-winning films say about our society? 

For many years marriage was on the decline.  Relationships were in, marriage was out.  Are we now seeing the return of marriage as an essential institution that even our media highlights in a positive way?  I do hope so!

May movies and television increasingly portray healthy marriages, with all their warts and rewards!

Denver clinical psychologist Susan Heitler, Ph.D. is author of the marriage skill-building website PowerOfTwoMarriage.com.