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Image for article titled 21 Dysfunctional Film Families to Make You Feel Better About Your Own

Photo: The Royal Tenenbaums/Touchstone Pictures

Thanksgiving’s coming around again, and this year, we have no excuses. For many, one of the (very) few upsides of the pandemic was that it provided a solid excuse to avoid toxic family holiday gatherings—and if a reluctance to spend time with your relatives is entirely alien to you, congratulations.

If some of us who experienced more fraught upbringings don’t approach family gathering season with unalloyed joy, perhaps we can be forgiven. And if we like to watch movies about broken families instead of spending time with our own, well, maybe that’s OK too. Sometimes they remind us that we’re not alone; sometimes, it’s nice to remember that things could be worse.

What makes a dysfunctional family, you ask? The families in these films have problems: dramatized and sometimes exaggerated to make for a good film. They aren’t bad or broken beyond repair, necessarily; as in real life, dysfunction can be a chronic condition that manifests from time to time (particularly during the holidays), or it can be terminal, and eventually rip a family apart. And also as in real life, sometimes dysfunction is hilarious.

Note: Most of these movies (even the funny ones) deal with issues that can be triggering for people with troubled family histories. If that’s you, I’d strongly suggest doing a bit of extra research—IMDb often offers keywords and content warnings—before diving in.



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