While they are not often the storylines that bring movies into the spotlight, many well-known movies feature strong single parents as central characters. These characters are often depicted facing many of the real-life struggles single parents face on a daily basis, and ultimately overcoming them through perseverance and an unwavering commitment to doing what is best for their children.
If you are going through a divorce or are recently divorced with children and are looking for something to watch on a Saturday night, here are eight of our all-time-favorite movies featuring single parents:
1. As Good As It Gets (1997)
Carol Connelly, played by Helen Hunt, is a single mother raising a chronically-ill son on a waitress’s income in New York City. Living with her mother (who is also a single parent), Connelly becomes close to obsessive-compulsive romantic fiction writer Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson), and the two grow close as they help one another navigate their own unique challenges.
2. Finding Nemo (2003)
In this animated neoclassic, after losing his wife to a barracuda, clown fish Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) also loses his son, Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould), when Nemo is scooped up by a human diver. Marvin subsequently sets out on a mission across the sea, encountering jellyfish and other obstacles, to rescue Nemo from a dentist’s fish tank.
3. I Am Sam (2001)
Played by Sean Penn, Sam Dawson is a single father with a developmental disability who raises his gifted daughter, Lucy (Dakota Fanning), independently until a social worker seeks to place her in a foster home. Dawson hires attorney Rita Williams (Michelle Pfeiffer) to help him regain custody of his daughter.
4. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
In this 1970s family drama, advertising executive Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) learns that his wife is leaving him and his young son, Billy (Justin Henry) on the same day he lands the biggest account of his career. After losing his job, Kramer grows closer to his son with the help of fellow-single parent, Margaret (Jane Alexander), and then faces a difficult custody battle when Billy’s mother returns to the picture.
5. Love Actually (2003)
Love Actually features the interconnected lives of several families living in London, including single father Daniel (Liam Neeson) and his stepson, Sam. Struggling with his own life challenges, Daniel helps Sam pursue his school crush, Joanna, all the way to a last-minute confessional at the airport as Joanna prepares to leave for the United States.
6. Panic Room (2002)
Newly-divorced mother Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her young daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) move into a New York mansion and discover that the home includes a panic room. They are forced to retreat to the panic room when three intruders break in, and must overcome fear and struggle together as the intruders attempt to penetrate the panic room’s secure walls.
7. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
In this beloved early-90s classic, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) moves to Seattle with his son Jonah (Ross Mallinger) following his wife’s untimely death. After Jonah calls into a local radio show asking for help finding a new wife for his father, Baldwin settles into his new life as a single parent while on a romantic collision course with a woman (Annie Reed, played by Meg Ryan) who overheard Jonah’s plea for help.
8. Spanglish (2004)
Flor Moreno (Paz Vega) is a single mother who works as a housekeeper for Deborah (Tea Leoni) and John Clasky (Adam Sandler) in order to support her daughter, Cristina (Shelbie Bruce). Unable to make ends meet, Flor moves into the Claskys’ home with Cristina, where they help one another cope with the cultural differences the two families share.
Law Office of Renkin & Associates | Certified Family Law Specialist
Richard M. Renkin is a North County, CA Certified Family Law Specialist who represents clients in complex divorces and other family-related legal matters. If you are preparing for a divorce or dealing with a post-divorce custody or child support issue, contact Law Office of Renkin & Associates online or call (888) 837-3564 to schedule a consultation today.