10 Movies to Start Discussions About Family

Is anyone here interested in those “shades of gray” characters with moral problems related to violence and the greater good and blah blah blah? no, right? Conversations about right and wrong after those movies are booooooooooooooring. But! How about a movie about right and wrong between the prodigal son versus the caregiver child? Oh yeah, that’s the stuff, that’s the thing that can set off the deep long conversations.

Kapoor & Sons

So many fun issues! Golden Boy versus Disappointment brothers, a gaslighting husband, a demanding elder care situation, and a housewife unsatisfied with her life. Watch it, and then have the group pick who they most sympathize with. I bet you will all pick someone different! Heck, let’s throw it out to the DCIB community: who do you most sympathize with?

Cake

Here’s a universal issue: the caregiver child versus the prodigal child. Familiar, right? Is it harder to be far away and miserable, or close up and struggling hands on with the problems? Throw on top of that some interesting issues about sin and punishment and guilt and resentment, and you’ve got a toxic fascinating movie. Oh, and there’s two love stories! Discussion question: Will the older sister ever be brave enough to reach for happiness? Will the younger sister be brave enough to face her guilt?

Cake Movie Review: A Recipe for Success! - Brandsynario

Dil Dhadakne Do

This one has some pretty straight forward young people’s issues, but it’s really all about the parents. What happened in Anil and Shefali’s marriage? Is there hope for them to find their way back somehow? Where did things go wrong? Discussion question: is Anil entirely to blame?

Anil Kapoor demands a reunion of Dil Dhadakne Do as the film ...

Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Lmtd.

This one is almost entirely about marriages, but lots of interesting different marriages, all just starting out. We have our older couple of widowers, our younger couple trying to figure out marriage versus dating, our arranged couple each with secrets, our cute couple who have a hidden problem, and the “perfect” couple with an absolutely ridiculous relationship problem. Discussion Question: Which couple do you think most deserves a happy ending?

Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. streaming online

Piku

The father daughter movie we all wanted! And the daughter-caregiver movie we wanted. Deepika is older and unmarried and stuck dedicating her life to caring for her very difficult father Amitabh. Discussion Question: What are Amitabh’s strengths as a father, to go along with his weaknesses?

Piku posters revealed! Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Irrfan ...

Manmarziyaan

Young people relationships one! Abhishek is the long suffering arranged fiance of Taapsee, who is struggling to get over her not quite finished relationship with the boy next door. Really interesting consideration of three people trapped together. Discussion Question: Was Abhishek more wrong to rush Taapsee into marriage, or Taapsee more wrong to cheat on him later?

Manmarziyan (Manmarziyaan) movie review and rating by audience ...

Dear Zindagi

Young woman problems. She keeps messing up relationships and feeling vaguely guilty for having so many of them outside of marriage, she feels like she should be farther in her career than she is right now, and her parents love her brother more than her. Thank goodness for magical therapist Shahrukh! Discussion Question: Were Alia’s parents more wrong to leave her with her grandparents in the first place, or to take her away from them later?

Alia Bhatt for Dear Zindagi poster | Dear zindagi, Alia bhatt

Koode

No easy answers here, a baby born with an expensive medical issue, and an older brother just barely old enough to work. Do you sacrifice the older child for the younger? Can you ever make up for that sin? Discussion Question: Was there any other choice Prithviraj’s parents could have made, and if so, should he forgive them for not making it?

Amazon.in: Buy Koode Malayalam DVD ( ALL Regions English Subtitles ...

A Death in the Gunj

Ooo, this is a hard hard watch! A family trip to the country house, with old friends along for the ride, and waiting in the country. But what about the sensitive struggling 20-something who doesn’t quite fit in with the older crowd? What about all the sensitive struggling people thrown into this heartless social group? Discussion Question: Is anyone in this film blameless for the tragedy that happens?

A Death in the Gunj (2016) - IMDb

Kaatru Velidiyai

This is a pretty straight forward movie, a love story in flashbacks between a pretty young doctor and the handsome pilot who is her first patient. But is it the perfect romantic love story it appears to be? Or are their cracks under the surface? Discussion Question: Is Karthi’s character a portrait of an abusive partner or not? And if so, should Aditi ever have gotten back with him?

Kaatru Veliyidai - 2017 Tamil Movie - Tamil Movies Database

23 thoughts on “10 Movies to Start Discussions About Family

  1. I haven’t seen most of these films but Kapoor & Sons, for sure the most sympathetic character is Sid. Too bad he’s not a strong actor because his character was the tragic victim of everyone else’s terrible behavior. What his mother did to him directly was terrible but the father didn’t pay attention to him and his older brother was too busy being famous and closeted in England to support him.

    For Piku, Amitabh accepted and encouraged Deepika to be a fierce, uncompromising person. Even though he also interfered with her ability to disentangle herself from her relationship with him and find a life partner, ultimately she turned out to be a better person because of her father.

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    • There was a small way that the casting of Sid worked, he was surrounded by such powerhouses of charisma and acting talent, it made him feel kind of pale and invisible in contrast. Which is exactly what happened to his character, forgotten in the middle of this family of big personalities. However, I am reminded of how Ranveer in Gully Boy created a similar effect through supreme acting that turned himself into an invisible shy person, and then tore that off when he had to. They could have just cast a really good actor in the Sid M role and he could have acted invisible and charisma-less.

      Yes, uncompromising! Amitabh taught Deepika not to accept anything but the best from herself or anyone else. It almost backfired, she was almost desperate enough to settle for less than the best (stupid business partner dude), but at the last minute Amitabh’s training got her through it and she rejected him.

      On Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 9:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Recently I caught Piku and it was a good movie between a daughter and the father. The characters were so natural , funny and so casual with each other…

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  3. So much here! Going to take it one film at a time. Dil Dhadakne Do: yes, the marriage issues are pretty much Anil’s fault, while the parenting failures are more equally shared. The sibling stuff is a big part of what I like in the movie, along with the way the younger generation mutinees and overthrows their elders. Ranveer as the younger son who has been given the position and privileges of the male heir while knowing he never earned it and doesn’t even want it. Priyanka as the older sibling with the genius for business who is sidelined because she’s female. The blindness around Priyanka’s terrible marriage and their unwillingness to let her decide her own fate, that is all both parents. Whether Anil and Shefali get a happy ending depends on whether he’s learned to be a better person, which is a maybe? Whether they get to be a happy family depends on the parents being happy and also evolving to give their children freedom and be okay with it. Possibly. The young people get a good resolution. Instead of the failing family business being handed to Priyanka, she gets to keep her thriving successful business, and divorce, and find out whether she and Farhan are really meant to be. The family business is passed to the competent outsider. And Ranveer gets to break his chains, chase after Anushka, and presumably go try to be a pilot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So you don’t buy the “Anil only cheated because Shefali was pulling away from him” theory? I kind of like that theory, makes him seem sweet and forgivable. But is also probably a bit of a lame excuse.

      I’ll add that the parenting failures seem tied up in the marriage failures. Shefali indulged and defended Ranveer as a pawn in her marriage games with Anil. And Priyanka was hurried out of the house because they didn’t want to deal with her, and they still don’t want to deal with her marriage problems.

      On Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 11:54 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Manmarziyan: have to go with cheating is more wrong. It’s hard to believe Taapsee’s character is really rushed into anything. She’s running from herself, so she has to own her own mistakes. I think the movie does a good job of this actually, her character is given space to struggle and then find her way out. Abhishek sees what’s happening and goes along with it, until he doesn’t, but he’s not played as a clueless victim, which I appreciated. (I’ve been meaning to rewatch this, thanks for the reminder.)

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    • So with this interpretation, Abhishek is really just an opportunist. He sees that Taapsee is struggling to figure things out, that she is ready to leave Vicky, and makes sure he is the guy who is there for her to pick. And then just counts on her deciding to stay with him instead of go back to Vicky. He doesn’t try to influence her either way, just is THERE.

      On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 12:00 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • He is an opportunist, but not in an evil way. He likes her, he sees she’s conflicted about her ex, and he takes a gamble that if he shows her what life with him in a caring relationship might look like, she could end up choosing to be with him.

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        • I guess the worst that could be said about him is that he doesn’t respect Taapsee and Vicky’s relationship and hang back. But then, their relationship is terrible and it doesn’t take any special knowledge to see that. Plus, the whole “respect their relationship” thing tends to feel kind of weirdly man versus man. If Taapsee might want to leave Vicky, she is allowed to do that, Abhishek doesn’t have to make her think there are no other options.

          On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 8:25 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Kapoor and Sons: I think the reason I don’t all the way love this movie is that I don’t find any of the characters very sympathetic. Dad is a cheater and a liar, and got them in a money hole he can’t get out of. Mom is angry, plays favorites even as she can’t accept her perfect son for who he is, plus the whole betrayal of Sid thing. Sid had it harder, but probably not as hard as he likes to think, was a non-committal dabbler for a long time even as he blamed his family for not taking him seriously, and then went off and sulked for years. Fawad, typical oldest, doesn’t fully see the advantages he was given, only the ground he had to break, and built a whole secret life away from his family rather than endanger his perfect image. Alia’s orphan comes out the best, really.

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    • Would we say Sid is the master of the passive aggressive self pity? He really is treated terribly, but he also seems to just accept that and smile and nurture his grudges, instead of speaking out about what he is feeling. Funny, both sons kind of behave that way, keep secret hurts inside of them. While their parents yell and shout and say everything. Maybe a realistic presentation of how the children of those parents might react?

      On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 12:10 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh yes, the kids are all passive aggression, until Fawad’s turn at the end. And yes, probably realistic that they would avoid open conflict.

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        • Just a terribly dysfunctional family all around, passive aggressive children who are afraid to speak up about what they want, and aggressive-aggressive parents who can’t see beyond their own needs.

          On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 8:27 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. It’s been one year and half since I saw Koode and I don’t remember all the details but definitely there was an other, better choice the parents could do instead of sending their little son to another country. Why the father didn’t go? Correct me if I’m wrong, but was there any problem with the father? Why he didn’t find a better job? I only remember him repairing old cars and toys.
    He always felt so guilty because he knew he could do better.

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    • Good point! The father was a mechanic with a garage and a pretty decent business. But obviously the son could make more money overseas than he could at his garage, why couldn’t the father go do that instead? Leave the son home to finish school and keep growing up? At the very least, let the son come home after a few years when he was clearly unhappy and send the father instead.

      On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 3:28 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Piku: Amitabh was clearly a brilliant man whose house served as a de facto cultural salon. Deepika was raised in an atmosphere of intellectual freedom and creativity, around many fascinating people. Amitabh recognized her brilliance and potential and pushed her to set her own course in life. Nothing wrong with all that, just that he turned out to be also selfish and egotistical, and refused to recognize how his actions were keeping her trapped in a domestic role, contrary to his beliefs.

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    • It was so frustrating to have Amitabh talk about how woman should do more than just wait on men, at the same time he was driving his daughter crazy with his demands on her!

      On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 8:34 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. Cake: this one has so much! The guilt of the absent sibling versus the sacrifice of the caretaker sibling is real and shown so effectively. Then there is the family’s choice to protect the younger daughter by sending her away, simultaneously blowing up the older daughter’s romance. Should Sanam have known? This seems like too much to expect. She could have, she probably did on some level, but that’s a hard thing to confront on your own. Should Aamina have defied her parents and said something? I’m going to say yes. For her own sake and her relationship with her sister, she should have told Sanam the truth much earlier. The amazing thing about this film is that the conflict is just as raw as in Kapoor and Sons, and the moral questions are even more serious, but all the characters manage to be sympathetic. We even can understand why the parents made the choices they did, even as it destroyed their family.

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    • And there’s Aamina choosing to end Sanam’s romance, telling herself it was to protect Sanam from ever learning the truth but really out of simple spite and anger at what Sanam had done to her secret romance. A terrible thing to do, almost unforgivable, but when put in the context of Aamina’s love being sent to jail for a crime he didn’t commit, it suddenly becomes easy to forgive. And I suppose almost the same, Aamina’s parents didn’t know about her love for Romeo, did not realize they were picking one child over the other by picking their daughter over the servant. Unforgivable once they have the proper context, but they didn’t have that context, because Aamina and Romeo kept quiet.

      Maybe it’s all about people not telling people things? But in a way that you can understand, in a family you want to keep things to yourself, you want to have some privacy. The downside being, because people don’t know things, they can hurt you by accident. Of course Aamini should have told her family that she and Romeo were in love, of course Sanam should have been told the truth about the boy she killed, and that Romeo went to jail for her, but it’s hard to say those things, and you end up getting twisted with secrets.

      On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 8:46 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. Kapoor and Sons – I most sympathize with Sid and Fawad. Sid, for always thinking that his parents don’t think he is as good as his brother is to actually realizing he was right all along because his horrible mother gave his book idea to his brother because she did not think he was good enough. UGH. Fawad for never being able to share who he is and his life with his parents because he always have to pretent to be the “perfect baccha.”

    DDD – Yes, Anil is to blame. He not only cheated on Shefali, he continued to body shame her. EW. Agree with Emily that there is equal blame with regards to the parenting failure.

    Honeymoon Travels – I hope Pinky gets a happy ending given that Vicky is gay and chooses to keep Pinky in the dark. I cannot imagine this will end well.

    I’ll get to the others in just a little bit.

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    • Their mother is horrible!!!! Their father is horrible too, but at least he was horrible in a kind of unthinking purposeless way, Ratna set out to actively do things that would hurt her sons. Plus there’s her whole reaction to Fawad coming out.

      No one has sympathy for hot Anil? I felt at least a little bit that he sinned first, but Shefali set out to hurt him after that, making clear she no longer loved him but not telling him why, just generally torturing him. When she confronted him with the cheating, his response was horror that she knew and had been hurt by it. Okay, maybe I am grading on a curve, but at least he didn’t think he had a right to cheat! Or not care that Shefali was hurting. He had true remorse specifically for hurting her, not even some abstract “breaking his marriage vows” thing.

      I worry about Pinky. Although she seems to need very little to keep her happy, so maybe just having a house she likes and a kind husband will keep her perky.

      On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 4:21 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  10. I think that Alia’s parents in Dear zindagi should have taken her with them as soon as they discovered they are expecting another child or even earlier. It’s another movie I saw long time ago and don’t remember well, but I do remember how shocked I was when they came with the baby.
    I can understand their decision to leave Alia with the grandpas at the beginning. Their house was better place, but only for few months. There should be some deadline, a date little Alia could look forward to. She should have known it’s only for few months and that the parents want her with them. Instead they let her wait and later they appeared with a new baby. That was what messed her up – they kept saying they can’t afford to have her there but could afford having a newborn.

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    • And can we have a moment for the newborn being a boy? Leading to Alia’s lifelong sense that as a woman she has to always be proving herself?

      On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 5:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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