20 Movies That Got So Real About Marriage

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If you want a fairy-tale ending, watch a Disney film. If you want pure romance, watch a Nicholas Sparks film. If you want a hilarious send-up of wedding madness, watch Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. The Zac Efron-Anna Kendrick comedy hits theaters this weekend and everyone who's not being dragged to yet another wedding will no doubt be guffawing into their popcorn.

Of course, if you want a movie that gets really, really real about this whole marriage and wedding business, you can always turn to Woody Allen and John Cassavetes. At the risk of sending every little lovebird out there screaming down the altar and demanding their deposits back from the harpist and caterer, some films get that marriage isn't the saccharine love-fest that Hollywood often makes it out to be. It's messy, it's complicated, it's agonizing.

These films get that. Sure, your own nuptials may not involve trust issues, infidelity, ennui, or Viagra, but it's always good to go into something with your eyes wide open. And if it all gets a bit bleak, you can always go back to watching Wedding Crashers.
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Before Midnight (2013)
The third film in the Richard Linklater's Before trilogy sees Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) hashing out their relationship while vacationing in Greece. Though they aren't technically married, their struggle with parenting, custody issues, and trust is very real — with or without a ring.

Pictured: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
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It's Complicated (2009)
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes divorce, then comes the affair with your ex. Or not. This Nancy Meyers rom-com has Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin navigating the murky waters of post-divorce life. If you're up for a Meryl vs. marriage binge-fest, add on Kramer vs. Kramer, Hope Springs, and Heartburn.

Pictured: Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin.
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Faces (1968)
Gena Rowlands starred in this intense drama written and directed by her real-life husband, John Cassavetes. The plot centers on a man's decision to divorce his wife after several years of marriage.

Pictured: Gena Rowlands and John Marley.
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I Think I Love My Wife (2007)
Is this a great film? No. But the Chris Rock comedy, based on the French film Chloe in the Afternoon, does offer an interesting look at infidelity and the theory that the grass is always greener.

Pictured: Gina Torres and Chris Rock.
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The Five-Year Engagement (2012)
The lesson of this Emily Blunt-Jason Segel rom-com: Maybe don't drag out your engagement. Also, try to avoid getting sucked into the stressful, but more or less pointless, details of wedding planning.

Pictured: Emily Blunt and Jason Segel.
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Love Is Strange (2014)
Alfred Molina and John Lithgow play a same-sex couple who finally make things legal, only to find their relationship falling apart soon after.

Pictured: Alfred Molina and John Lithgow.
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Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
If you can just direct your attention away from Ryan Gosling's abs for one moment, you'll discover a sweet story about a separated couple (Julianne Moore and Steve Carell) struggling to make the best out of a bad situation.

Pictured: Steve Carell and Julianne Moore.
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Le Week-End (2013)
Longtime marrieds Nick and Meg (Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan) turn their romantic Paris getaway into a debate about the state of their marriage 30 years later.

Pictured: Lindsay Duncan and Jim Broadbent.
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This Is 40 (2012)
Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann dig up the banalities of marriage and aging in this Knocked Up sequel for grown-ups. Spoiler: Viagra jokes abound.

Pictured: Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann.
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Closer (2004)
Proof that some people can and will do anything to fuck up a relationship. Maybe add "don't stalk online sex chat rooms" to your vows before the big day.

Pictured: Julia Roberts and Clive Owen.
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Little Children (2006)
Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson begin an affair after finding their own marriages lacking. Again, the grass is not always greener.

Pictured: Jennifer Connelly.
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Why Did I Get Married? (2007)
Tyler Perry headlines this film (and its 2010 sequel) about four couples dealing with every marital issue out there, from unsupportive spouses to a lousy work-life balance.

Pictured: Sharon Leal and Tyler Perry.
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Friends with Kids (2011)
If this indie film is to be believed, reproducing will ruin your sex life, alienate your friends, and turn you and your spouse into bitter shrews. Fun!

Pictured: Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm.
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Blue Valentine (2010)
Sometimes, even the cutest love stories unravel. This drama documents it all in raw, heartrending detail.

Pictured: Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling.
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Husbands and Wives (1992)
This film about disgruntled married couples fittingly marked the end of the professional partnership between Mia Farrow and Woody Allen. The pair ended their relationship after Farrow discovered Allen's affair with her daughter (now Mrs. Allen), Soon Yi. On the bright side, you are not marrying Woody Allen.

Pictured: Mia Farrow and Woody Allen.
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The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Their children's search for their biological father unsettles the relationship between same-sex partners Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore). Long story short: Mark Ruffalo is a douche.

Pictured: Annette Bening and Julianne Moore.
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The Story of Us (1999)
This mostly forgotten Rob Reiner film sees Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer as parents contemplating whether or not they should have been married in the first place.

Pictured: Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer.
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The Squid and the Whale (2005)
If you should ever separate, try not to behave as badly as Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney's sniping exes. Your children will appreciate it.

Pictured: Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney.
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Scenes from a Marriage (1973)
Originally shot as a TV miniseries, this art house classic explores the often-contemptuous marriage of a Swedish couple over a 10-year period.

Pictured: Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann.
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Revolutionary Road (2009)
The scariest part of this drama, directed by Kate Winslet's then-husband Sam Mendes, is how the two characters are so convinced that they're not like any other couple. Their suburban life proves otherwise and their respective reactions are gut-clenching.

Pictured: Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.

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