Scott Wolfe Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist/ Certified Gottman Couples Therapist

Movies for Couples


Guided Movie Discussions

 
 

Improve your relationship by watching and then discussing 
eleven of these movies over an eleven week period 


Couples-Research.com  Director: Dr. Ronald D. Rogge 


UCLA MArriAge enriChMent ProjeCt—Movie List 

A Recent UCLA study found that couples could improve their relationships by watching and discussing movies.



 

INSTRUCTIONS 

What’s Your Love Story?

 

Each of these movies listed below features intimate relationships as a major plot focus. Watch one movie a week together then discuss the
11 movie discussion questions below as a couple for about 45 minutes. 

What movie did you watch? 

Movie Discussion Questions 

DIRECTIONS: Please use the following questions to discuss the relationships portrayed in the movie. Once you’ve discussed a specific question, write your joint answer in the space provided. 

1. What was the main relationship portrayed in the movie? This is the relationship that you will focus on in the following questions.

2. What main problem(s) did this couple face? Are any of these similar to the problems that the two of you have faced or might face as a couple?

3. Did this couple strive to understand each other? Did they tend to accept one another, even if they were very different? Or did the couple tend to attack each others’ differences?

In what way was this relationship similar to or different from your own relationship in this area?

4. Did the couple have a strong friendship with each other? Were they able to support each other through bad moods, stressful days, and hard times? Did they listen to each other like good friends? Did the couple in the movie do considerate or affectionate things for each other?

In what way was this relationship similar to or different from your own relationship in this area?

 

5. How did the couple handle arguments or differences of opinion? Were they able to open up and tell each other how they really felt, or did they tend to just snap at each other with anger? Did they try using humor to keep things from getting nasty? Did it feel like they were really trying to understand each other? 

 


 

In what way was this relationship similar to or different from your own relationship in this area? 

 


 

6. If the couple got into arguments, did they tend to become heated? Did the couple ever start attacking each other, getting increasingly mean and hostile? Did they end up saying things they didn’t really mean? Once this started happening, how did the arguments tend to end? 

 


 

In what way was this relationship similar to or different from your own relationship in this area? 

 


 

7. When one of the partners brought up a problem, did he or she seem to do it in a constructive way (keeping things specific, explaining his or her feelings without attacking), or did it seem more like an attack? Did it seem like bringing up a problem became an assassination of the partner’s character? 

 


 

In what way was this relationship similar to or different from your own relationship in this area? 

 


 

8. How did the couple in the movie handle hurt feelings? Did they apologize to each other? Did the apologies seem sincere? Did they tend to jump to negative conclusions when their feelings got hurt, or did they tend to give each other the benefit of the doubt? 

 


In what way was this relationship similar to or different from your own relationship in this area? 

 

 

9. Did the partners seem to have similar expectations of their relationship? Where did their expectations differ? Did it seem like they were aware of their own expectations? Were their expectations reasonable? Did they share their expectations with each other? 

 


 

In what way was this relationship similar to or different from your own relationship in this area? 

 


10. What other things happened in the movie that might lead you to think differently about your relationship/marriage? 

 

11. What other comments do you have about this movie? 

 


 

How relevant was this movie to your own relationship? 

 


 

How entertaining was this movie? 

 


How would you rate this movie’s overall quality?

Very Poor- Below Average- Average- Above Average- Excellent



UCLA MArriAge enriChMent ProjeCt—Movie List 

Movies used in the study 

 


 

Original Movie List from the Study

A Star Is Born (1954) Mr. Blandings Builds his Dreamhouse (1948)
  Judy Garland and James Mason   Cary Grant and Myrna Loy
Adam's Rib (1949) My Favorite Wife (1940)
  Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn   Irene Dunne and Cary Grant
Anna Karenina (2012) Nina Takes a Lover (1994)
  Keira Knightley and Jude Law   Laura San Giacomo and Paul Rhys
As Good as it Gets (1997) Nine Months (1995)
  Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt   Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore
Barefoot in the Par (1967) On Golden Pond (1981)
  Robert Redford and Jane Fonda   Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda
Children of a Lesser God (1986) Pat and Mike (1952)
  William Hurt and Marlee Matlin   Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn
Days of Wine and Roses (1962) Penny Serenade (1941)
  Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick   Cary Grant and Irene Dunne
Desk Set (1957) Phffft [Pfft!] (1954)
  Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn   Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon
Dying Young (1991) Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker (1994)
  Julia Roberts and Campbell Scott   Jing Ning and Gang Wu
Fools Rush In (1997) She's Having a Baby (1988)
  Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek   Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern
Forget Paris (1995) Steel Magnolias (1989)
  Billy Crystal and Debra Winger   Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis
French Twist (1995) Terms of Endearment (1983)
  Patrick Aubrée and Josiane Balasko   Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger
Funny Girl (1968) The Devil's Advocate (1997)
  Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif   Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino
Gone With the Wind (1939) The Egg and I (1947)
  Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh   Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) The Male Animal (1942)
  Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier   Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland
Hanover Street (1979) The Out of Towners (1970)
  Harrison Ford and Lesley-Anne Down   Jack Lemon and Sandy Dennis
Husbands and Wives (1992) The Thin Man (1934)
  Woody Allen and Mia Farrow   William Powell and Myrna Loy
Indecent Proposal (1993) The Way We Were (1973)
  Robert Redford and Demi Moore   Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford
Jungle Fever (1991) Untamed Heart (1993)
  Wesley Snipes and Anna Sciorra   Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei
Love Jones (1997) When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)
  Larenz Tate and Nia Long   Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia
Love Story (1970) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
  Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal   Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Made for Each Other (1939) With Six You Get Eggroll (1968)
  Carol Lombard and Jimmy Stewart   Doris Day and Brian Keith
Mississippi Masala (1991) Yours, Mine and Ours (1968)
  Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury   Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball
Move Over, Darling (1963)  
  Doris Day and James Garner    

Additional Movies

American Beauty (1999) Obsessed (2009)
  Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening   Beyoncé Knowles and Idris Elba
Anger Management (2003) Something's Gotta Give (2003)
  Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler   Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton
Autumn in New York (2000) Surviving Christmas (2004)
  Richard Gere and Winona Ryder   Ben Affleck and Christina Applegate
Bee Season (2005) Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
  Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche   Reese Witherspoon and Patrick Dempsey
Before Sunset (2004) Sweet November (2001)
  Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy   Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron
Blue valentine (2010) Terms of Endearment (1983)
  Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams   Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger
Coal Miner's Daughter (1980) The Five-year Engagement (2012)
  Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones   Jason Segel and Emily Blunt
Couples Retreat (2009) The Back-up Plan (2010)
  Vince Vaughn and Malin Akerman   Jennifer Lopez and Alex O'Loughlin
Crooklyn (1994) The Big Wedding (2013)
  Alfre Woodard and Delroy Lindo   Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton
Date Night (2010) The Bounty Hunter (2010)
  Steve Carell and Tina Fey   Jennifer Aniston and Gerald Butler
Deliver Us From Eva (2003) The Break-up (2006)
  Gabrielle Union and LL Cool J   Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn
Devil Wears Prada (2006) The Campaign (2012)
  Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep   Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis
The Devil's Advocate (1997) The Door in the Floor (2004)
  Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron   Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger
The Family Man (2000) The Glass House (2001)
  Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni   Diane Lane and Leelee Sobieski
Fatal Attraction (1987) The Good Girl (2002)
  Michael Douglas and Glenn Close   Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal
Father of the bride (1991) The Horse Whisperer (1998)
  Steve Martin and Diane Keaton   Robert Redford and Kristin Scott Thomas
Fool's Gold (2008) The Marriage Chronicles (2012)
  Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson   Jazsmin Lewis and Darrin Dewitt Henson
Four Christmases (2008) The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
  Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn   Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges
Her (2013) The Money Pit (1986)
  Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams   Tom Hanks and Shelley Long
Hope Springs (2012) The Notebook (2004)
  Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones   Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams
It's Complicated,(2009) The Story of Us (1999)
  Meryl Streep and Steve Martin   Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer
Julie & Julia (2009) Think Like a Man (2012)
  Amy Adams and Meryl Streep   Chris Brown and Gabrielle Union
Jumping the Broom (2011) True Lies (1994)
  Paula Patton and Laz Alonso   Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis
Just Married (2003) Unfaithful (2002)
  Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy   Richard Gere and Diane Lane
Life as we know it (2010) Waiting to Exhale (1995)
  Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel   Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett
Longtime Companion (1989) Wanderlust (2012)
  Stephen Caffrey and Patrick Cassidy   Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd
Love and other drugs (2010) What Lies Beneath (2000)
  Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway   Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer
Marley and Me (2008) When a man loves a woman (1994)
  Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston   Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia
Meet the Fockers (2004) Why did I get married? (2007)
  Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro   Tyler Perry and Janet Jackson
Monster-in-law (2005) You, Me and Dupre (2006)
  Jennifer Lopez and Michael Vartan   Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) Don Jon (2013)
  Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie   Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Before Midnight (2013)
  Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet   Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy
The Best Man Holiday (2013) This Is 40 (2012)
  Monica Calhoun and Morris Chestnut   Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann

 

RANKINGS: To help you select movies, here are some recent rankings of movies on these lists made by 1,100 couples who gave this process a try.

 

RANK

 

TOP 20: USEFUL FOR DISCUSSIONS

 

RANK

 

TOP 20: RELEVANT TO OWN RELATIONSHIP

 

1

 

America Beauty

 

1

 

Before Sunset

 

2

 

Funny Girl

 

2

 

Obsessed

 

3

 

Before Midnight

 

3

 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

 

4

 

Two for the road

 

4

 

Funny Girl

 

5

 

Obsessed

 

5

 

Before Midnight

 

6

 

When a Man Loves a Woman

 

6

 

Fools Rush In

 

7

 

Husbands and Wives

 

7

 

Four Christmases

 

8

 

The Marriage Chronicles

 

8

 

Marley and Me

 

9

 

I Give It A Year

 

9

 

Father of the bride

 

10

 

Hope Springs

 

10

 

When a Man Loves a Woman

 

11

 

The Way We Were

 

11

 

The Five Year Engagement

 

12

 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

 

12

 

Hope Springs

 

13

 

Yours, Mine and Ours

 

13

 

This is 40

 

14

 

Out of Towners

 

14

 

Husbands and Wives

 

15

 

The Five Year Engagement

 

15

 

Children of a Lesser God

 

16

 

Her

 

16

 

Love Story

 

17

 

Children of a Lesser God

 

17

 

Couple's Retreat

 

18

 

Fools Rush In

 

18

 

Yours, Mine and Ours

 

19

 

Four Christmases

 

19

 

Devil's Advocate

 

20

 

Dying Young

 

20

 

Forget Paris

You do not have to restrict yourself to the movies on these lists. You can use other movies provided that they spend at least some screen-time showing the day to day struggles of romantic relationships (movies showing couples falling in love generally don't do that).