Domestic disturbances in film 

According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, almost 20 people are victims of domestic violence per minute. Domestic violence has been in the national headlines lately not only because it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but mainly because of several incidents involving the NFL concerning the abuse of women and children. It’s a severe issue that even Hollywood has portrayed. Here are a few movies that show us the atrocity of domestic violence and how it negatively affects the abused and their loved ones.


“The Burning Bed” (1984)

Based on a true story, Farrah Fawcett plays Francine Hughes, a battered wife who humanizes the quote “your life or mine” in this sympathetic biopic. Hughes was accused of murdering her husband and pleading not guilty by claiming temporary insanity. Her case made an example on how domestic violence cases should be handled in the future.


“Sleeping With the Enemy” (1991)

Julia Roberts plays Lauren Burney, a victim of domestic violence who managed to escape her harsh reality by faking her own death. Little did she know, her little white lie would soon come back to haunt her. With the help of a new love and a new life, Lauren refuses to let her past control her future.


“Radio Flyer” (1992)

This movie portrays the story of two brothers, who use their imaginative fantasies to escape their harsh reality of physical abuse at home. When their mother starts dating a new man, Mike and Bobby’s lives quickly take a turn in the wrong direction. The only way to escape the drama at home is to make their realistic fantasies come true.


“What’s Love Got to do With It” (1993)

Angela Basset plays singer Tina Turner in this heartfelt biography. Dealing with constant physical and verbal abuse from her spouse and manager Ike Turner, Tina is faced with the decision to consider the well-being of her life or career. The ultimate decision she makes allows her to take control of her life and her career.


Enough (2002)

Jennifer Lopez plays a submissive housewife who learns how to defend herself in this chilling movie. Slim Hiller is an endearing mother and devoted wife, who is fed up with her husband’s infidelity and violence toward her and her daughter. Mustering up the courage to finally leave him, she finds herself in a bigger problem than the one she was in before. Once she finds out he’s stalking her every move, Slim finally realizes that the only way to stop the harassment from her husband is to fight back. She learns how to defend herself and proves to her husband that he’s not the only one who can through a punch.



“Precious” (2009)

This movie vividly shows that domestic violence is not just a spousal problem. “Precious” is about a 16-year-old girl who is overweight, illiterate and constantly abused by her parents. Her mother physically and emotionally abuses her, calling her demeaning names and forcing her to believe that she will never amount to anything in life. Her father has raped her for as long as she could remember, fathering both of her children. Precious eventually finds the true meaning of family when she enters an alternative school and proves to her parents that with or without their support, she will succeed.


For Colored Girls” (2010)

With an all-star award-winning cast, “For Colored Girls” tells the story of seven women dealing with domestic issues, involving violence, infidelity, abortion and suicide. This real-life drama exhibits how the strong bond between women battling similar problems can inspire those recovering from those problems.

Domestic violence is a disturbing issue to watch on screen but a life-threatening issue to experience. Women all over the world are being subjected to physical, mental and verbal abuse. Movies such as these help reveal the everyday lives of abused women. Though biographies like “What’s Love Got to do With It?” are quite melancholic to watch because of their authenticity, others like “For Colored Girls” evoke a bittersweet emotion, because they feature women who find comfort in realizing that they are not alone.

While domestic violence movies manage to expose the severity of the issue, they also manage to uncover the confidence, strength and assurance that women possess, on and off the screen. Though easier said than done, these movies prove that ending an abusive relationship is well worth the fight.

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