Sometimes it seems that every movie family is dysfunctional. That is because it is much easier to create drama — and comedy — from failures of communication and absence of support. But the movies have also given us some wonderfully functional families, and I was happy to see an excellent list at the always-reliable Cinematical, gathered by Jette Kernion. It was charmingly meta that she asked her own family for suggestions and led off with Meet Me In St. Louis, her mom’s choice. I love the opening scene in that film, with almost the entire family weighing in on the sauce cooking on the stove. One of the many pleasures of that fine film is the way the family members listen to one another so respectfully — most of the time. Well, without some conflict, it wouldn’t be very interesting to watch!
Other favorites of mine on Kernion’s list: The Incredibles and Little Women. And I would add Cheaper By the Dozen (the original only!), and National Velvet. As with real life, not all functional movie families fit the traditional structure. From Cher in Mask to the dotty but devoted uncles in Unstrung Heroes, the movies remind us that what makes a family work is kindness and love.
Oh, and Kernion has a list of favorite dysfunctional movie families, too.