12 Best Movies About Abusive Relationships Update 07/2024

Movies About Abusive Relationships

Domestic violence and relationship abuse have been addressed in a number of films over the years. While many have attempted to portray the genuine horrors of abusive relationships, few few have succeeded. Writing is sometimes lacking in complexity and actors tend to go overboard in their portrayal of characters in films. Films that tend to be highly manipulative and sanctimonious are also common, preventing viewers from fully comprehending the subject matter. The sensitive nature of the topic makes it a difficult subject for most filmmakers to tackle..

The films in this list explore the intricacies and horrors of domestic violence. Some films deal with sexual abuse, while others deal with adolescent exploitation. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime all have some of the best movies on abusive relationships.

12. Sleeping With the Enemy (1991)

Sleeping With the Enemy (1991)

Although it isn’t one of the better films on the list, “Sleeping With the Enemy” does a good job of capturing the reality of an abusive relationship. It depicts the story of a woman who is yearning for a divorce and eager to change her appearance and identity. When her husband discovers that she has been having an affair with a schoolteacher, the situation becomes even more tense. Despite the lack of subtlety and restraint in the narrative, Julia Roberts’ performance is genuinely memorable.

11. Dolores Claiborne (1995)

‘Dolores Claiborne,’ based on Stephen King’s novel, explores the turbulent relationship between a mother and a daughter. For the murder of an elderly woman, the mother has been implicated. By screenwriter Tony Gilroy’s standards, the picture is a masterpiece. The mother-daughter bond is the heart of the story. When the daughter finds that her mother was mistreated by her own father, things take an unexpected turn. Many different issues are addressed in the film, including sexism and violence in the home.

10. Dangerous Intentions (1995)

Dangerous Intentions (1995)

Michael Tushiyuki Uno’s 1995 television drama, “Wife and Child,” portrays the story of an abused wife who leaves her husband and child to start a new life. Her quest for justice is aided by her encounter with Kaye. In spite of the sloppy direction and out-of-place acting, the film was able to depict the genuine horrors of an abusive relationship, making it a worthwhile viewing experience. The film’s centerpiece is Corbin Bernsen’s performance as a violent and abusive husband.

9. Edge of Madness (2002)

The 2002 film adaption of Alice Munro’s ‘A Wilderness Station’ focuses on the lives of a young woman who is forced into an arranged marriage and is subjected to domestic violence by her husband. As she confesses to the murder of her husband, the video illustrates the difficulties she would encounter throughout her life. Even if “Edge of Madness” isn’t one of the best-written films of all time, its cheap budget and honest approach to the subject make it a worthwhile watch.

8. What’s Love Got to Do With it (1993)

What’s Love Got to Do With it (1993)

Since its release in 1995, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” has remained a mostly overlooked film. Angela Bassett portrays Tina Turner, a legendary Rock n’ Roll singer who seeks to leave her abusive husband. Things take a dramatic turn for the worst when her husband discovers her skill and turns her into a rock ‘n’ roll star, but it’s not all bad. Angela Basset’s multifaceted performance raises the film to a new level as she manages to convey the various shades of her character with flawless precision and deep sympathy.

7. Nil by Mouth (1997)

‘Nil by Mouth’, Gary Oldman’s excellent film about a dysfunctional English family, is based on a true story of abuse. As the film begins, Ray (the protagonist) is an unpleasant, abusive man whose wife is unable to cope with her alcoholism. Film follows the family’s struggle to deal with the harsh truths of life, as they try to rebuild shattered connections and find a new way to communicate with each other. Although riveting and unsettling, the picture has a particular realism about it.

6. When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

Meg Ryan plays an alcoholic mother who is striving to overcome her own issues in this love drama. Andy Garcia, who plays her husband, makes numerous attempts to assist her in her battle with addiction. Actress Ryan bravely steps out of her rom-com comfort zone to give us a performance that genuinely demonstrates her talents as an actor. In spite of the film’s over-the-top attitude, the honesty with which it addresses the subject matter and Ryan’s masterfully layered portrayal make up for the film’s weaknesses.

5. The Color Purple (1985)

Perhaps not one of Steven Spielberg’s greatest works, but “The Color Purple” is nonetheless a well-executed film with all the Spielberg hallmarks. In this story, the protagonist is Celie, a black lady who is unable to accept her identity. Celie’s father, an alcoholic, impregnated her, and the film illustrates how she overcomes her own issues and accepts her worth and identity despite her circumstances. The film, despite being a little overly melodramatic and even manipulative at times, has an undeniable charm and good intentions.

4. Bleeder (1999)

Bleeder (1999)

Heavily acclaimed Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn returns in his follow-up to his best-known murder thriller, “Pusher.” ‘Bleeder’ tells the story of a teenage drinker who enjoys watching nasty movies. When he learns that his girlfriend is pregnant, his relationship with her evolves into an abusive one. After being suddenly confronted with having to make a significant shift in his life, he spirals out of control, lashing out in anger, anxiety, and frustration. Some of the film’s most harrowing scenes could keep you awake at night for the rest of your life. One of the most undervalued films of the 1990s is “Bleeder.”

3. Flight (2012)

In spite of the fact that Robert Zemeckis is most renowned for masterpieces like as ‘Forrest Gump’ and ‘Back to the Future,’ this tiny gem that he made six years ago remains a forgotten classic for some reason. When it comes to portraying the devastation caused by an alcohol addiction, “Flight” is one of the most honest and devastating. Denzel Washington plays Whip Whittaker, a skillful pilot who is able to save nearly all of his passengers following an in-flight mechanical malfunction. Whittaker’s abuse and troubled relationship with his family are progressively revealed throughout the course of the novel. We can’t help but be moved by Denzel Washington’s portrayal of the character Whip Whittaker, who manages to conjure a wide spectrum of emotions from us with such scary authority and control.

2. Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet (1986)

On the big screen, mysteries have never looked more beautiful, interesting, and sensual. The 1986 masterwork by David Lynch is one of the most weird and unsettling depictions of human sexuality ever made. When Jeffrey discovers an ear that has been cut off near his home, the film’s plot revolves around him. His journey takes him to Dorothy Vallens, a beautiful woman in a sadomasochistic drug dealer’s relationship. During the course of the night, Jeffrey observes Frank engage in a series of weird sexual acts on Dorothy. Surrealism, humour, and mystery are all intertwined in the film’s plot, in the style of classic Lynch. Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire are two more of Lynch’s masterpieces that we hold dear to our hearts, but we will always remember his groundbreaking approach to cinema in “Blue Velvet” because it would become his trademark in the years to come.

1. The Shining (1980)

Jack Torrance, a middle-aged alcoholic, takes up a position as a caretaker at a remote hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s legendary horror. Even more weird is the fact that Jack begins to lose his sanity and descends into an abyss of pure darkness. After a while, Jack develops violent tendencies against his wife and son. As a damaged, alcoholic man, Nicholson’s performance was heavily criticised for being overblown and almost hilarious at times. But in the hands of Kubrick, the performance works well with the director’s signature style, which incorporates a mixture of terror, violence, and humor. One of the greatest films ever made and one of the best pictures about an abusive relationship.