10 Dysfunctional Film Families That'll Make You Feel Better About Your Own

Think of the Torrance family when you need to feel better about your own.
Think of the Torrance family when you need to feel better about your own.

The holiday season is upon us which means that we, as a nation, must collectively endure time with our families.

For some lucky few, this is a joyful endeavor. For the rest of us however, it's an annual ritual we'd rather do without.

Instead of drinking your way through the next few months, we say it's time to gain a little perspective. Therapy? No way. Lucky for you, pop media culture is all you need to work out your psychological demons.

What follows is a list of cinematic families that are surely more fucked up than your own.

Upcoming Events

The Prince of Tides, 1991
Ok, so we all have problems. And most of these problems come from a real messed up family. But in this film, Nick Nolte takes the cake with his character Tom, who had a brutally abusive stepfather. But it doesn't stop there. The dark family secret stems from an incident in which convicts broke into the home and raped Mom, Sister and (guess who?) Tom. This memory is so damaging that it ultimately drives this desperate character to make love with Barbara Streisand. Yuck.

The Godfather, 1972
I don't know about you, but Dad's emotional unavailability and Mom's drinking problem doesn't seem to be that big of a deal when you consider the Corleone family dynamic. Where should one start? How about when daddy Don Vito orders a dead horse head delivery to someone's freakin' bed? Or when pregnant baby sister gets her face rearranged by her asshole husband? Of course, then adopted brother has to beat the tar out of the guy in front of all the neighborhood kids all while goody-two shoes biological son is forced to give up the straight life so he can murder his way to the top. And you think you've got family pressures.

Mommie Dearest, 1981
Here's the most mindfucker of a mother you'll ever see in cinema history. We all know (and love...in a sick way) the "No wire hangers!" scene. But the movie is filled with other awful mommy moments like when Joan Crawford (played by Faye Dunaway) maliciously gives her daughter's birthday presents to charity ... or when she locks the kid in the closet ... or when she hacks up the rose garden in a ball gown. If you've got mommy issues, be sure to watch this maternal nightmare to set you straight.

Grey Gardens, 1975
We're not talking about the HBO film, we're talking about the documentary where one can witness the true mother-daughter insanity unfold. Edith Bouvier Beale and daughter Edith Beale (Big Edie and Little Edie) live in a mansion in the Hamptons with 28 cats, a gaggle of raccoons and probably about five million fleas. While the living conditions alone scream family dysfunction, watching the two bicker, scream and sing (yes, sing) their way through their dreamy days of doing absolutely nothing is pretty sickening. And oddly reassuring.

Upcoming Events

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >