8 Movies that explored complex parent-child relationships
As young adults, one of the significant emotional encounters we have is with our parents. We often find ourselves in conflicting situations with our parents which steers way to resentments and fights. Caused mainly due to lack of understanding from both parties, these resentments, if not handled well can lead to lifelong bitterness which will slowly start impacting your personal life without you even realizing it. While the obfuscating dynamics of parents and children have been going on forever, everyone has their own versions of stories to tell.
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There are several movies that have used this as their theme and portrayed the complex parent-child relationship with magical realism. These movies have captured the emotional dilemma faced by both parties. And maybe that is why we are able to sympathize with our parents after watching these films. I don’t know about you but I see a bit of myself in most of these movies. Here’s a list of movies that I believe explore the meddling parent-child relationship with emotional accuracy and maturity.
1.Lady Bird (2017)
Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is in the most challenging and confusing days of her life; her teenage years. Wildly energetic and with a zest to explore her best life, Christine struggles with her strained relationship with her mother. Her mother too, finds it difficult to control her. While her mother’s words and actions come in the best interest of her daughter, she forgets that Christine is in a stage where she needs to make her own mistakes and learn from them. All she needs is the assurance that her mother will have her back, always.
2. Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)
Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do mirrors everything wrong with our Indian society. What may seem like “rich people” problems are actually devoid of any class distinctions. The story is the same everywhere, rich or poor. The Mehras, a family masquerading as the perfect Indian upper-class menage, use their kids as pawns for their business propaganda. The interests of their kids, Ayesha and Kabir, are of no interest to them. Ayesha receives no support from her family as she tells them about her failing marriage and how she wants to get out of it. Kabir also struggles to keep up with his parents’ expectations. Kabir and Ayesha find it tough to get their parents to like them for who they are.
3. Kapoor & Sons (2016)
Kapoor & Sons is and will always be one of the best family dramas ever made in Bollywood. While the parents struggle with their difficult marriage, the kids who grew up witnessing all this also get affected. One sibling being favored by the parents and the other being subjected to constant comparison are scenes inspired by most Indian families.
4. Dear Zindagi (2016)
Parental negligence is also one of the reasons for the fraught relationship between parents and children. That was what happened in Kiara’s case well. She felt neglected all her life which further forced her to distance herself from her parents.
5. Udaan (2010)
The case in Udaan, though probable, is not a common scene in most families. Rohan’s father Bhairav is an annoyingly disciplined man who forces his son, even tortures him to follow the life Bhairav has planned for Rohan. The only escape for Rohan was running far away from his father, which he does eventually.
6. Gehraaiyan (2022)
Alisha tries too hard to escape the troublesome childhood she had, taking every step with utmost caution only to end up in the same spiral. After what happened with her mother, her relationship with her father takes a downhill with Alisha blaming him for everything. Her past keeps on haunting her and she takes it all on him, holding him responsible for everything. The reconciliation that happens towards the end is one of the most beautiful aspects of Gehraiyaan.
Read: Gehraiyaan Movie Review- Refreshing but not satisfying
7. The Meyerowitz Stories (2017)
Noah Baumbach is a genius filmmaker who knows how to peek into the emotional complexities and vulnerabilities of his characters. The Meyerowitz Stories is another Baumbach marvel that explores the conflicting dynamics between parents and children. From being abandoned to not being respected as an individual the Meyerowitz siblings endure a lot from their parents, especially their father who often lives in denial.
8. Spadikam (1995)
So rare right, a movie from the 90s accurately projecting the parent-child dilemma? Spadikam, one of the most memorable Malayalam movies, displays the impact that bad parenting can have on children, and how it can rip them off of happiness and turn them into self-loathing and pitying humans. While Chacko Maash may be a prolific maths teacher, he was a horrible father who fails to notice and appreciate his son’s brilliance and turns him into a goon. Imagine what Thoma could have turned into if his father had acknowledged him and told him that he was proud of him. The only good thing that came out of Chacko Maash’s bad parenting was the iconic Malayalam character that will be celebrated for generations!
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