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    15 Movies About Dysfunctional Families To Get You In The Holiday Spirit

    Knives Out, Step Brothers, Shiva Baby, and 12 other dysfunctional family movies to prepare you for going home for the holidays.

    The holiday season is officially here, which — along with carving turkeys, decking halls, and roasting chestnuts — means spending a whole lot of a time with family. And while you obviously love your family, they also probably can make you crazy in a way that nobody else in your life could ever dream. So to prepare you for the impending madness, here are 15 dysfunctional family movies that you can stream right now.

    1. Shiva Baby (2020)

    Rachel Sennott talking to Polly Draper.
    Utopia / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Anxiety can be found in many areas of life but there is a specific kind of anxiety that can only be found when you are around your parents. And Shiva Baby is a masterpiece of that very distinct brand of anxiety, so much so that, tonally, it feels like a horror movie that replaced a deranged serial killer with parents. As you watch the tension and dread grow as Danielle (Rachel Sennott) tries to get through a shiva observance with her parents, you may find yourself on the edge of your seat wondering how she will survive her mom's passive-aggressive judgment and her dad's clueless ability to deliver stream-of-conscious monologues about absolutely nothing in particular to no one in particular. 

    Watch it on HBO Max.

    2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

    Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, and Bradley Cooper talking.
    Weinstein Company / Courtesy Everett Collection

    After spending eight months in a mental health facility, Pat (Bradley Cooper) is released under the condition that he lives with his parents. While his mom tries her best to keep the family together and afloat, the relationship between Pat and his dad is one of immense friction that leads to multiple shouting matches and one physical altercation. And the dysfunction only grows when Pat's brother shows up and attempts to connect with him by reminding Pat of how terrible everything is in his life (in contrast to his brother's life, which he claims is going great). The whole family dynamic is a mess that never really gets resolved, which, honestly, is a fair summary of a lot of people's relationships with those they grew up with.

    Watch it on Netflix.

    3. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

    Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, and Adrien Brody riding a motorcycle.
    Fox Searchlight / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Peter (Adrien Brody), Francis (Owen Wilson), and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) Whitman reunite for the first time since the death of their father to embark on a journey of spiritual self-discovery across India. Along the way, the three fight like only brothers do, at one point literally fighting and getting thrown off a train as a result. But they also bond in the ways that only brothers do, sharing the grief they are still experiencing because of their father's death and revealing the hard truths about their own failures and disappointments in their lives. 

    Watch it on Amazon Prime via Starz.

    4. The Fighter (2010)

    Mark Wahlberg, Melissa Leo, and Christian Bale talking in front of a car.
    Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is a boxer whose attempts to fight for a welterweight title are constantly thwarted by his family. His mother is a dangerous combination of manipulative and controlling, and his half brother Dickie (Christian Bale) is an addict who doesn't think about how his actions are affecting anyone around him. And then there are his sisters, whose idea of support is attacking Micky's girlfriend Charlene (Amy Adams) at her house. As much as he tries, Micky can't quite quit his family, even when they put his entire career at risk. Hopefully, your time with your family involves a little less shouting than what we see out of the Ward family.

    Watch it on Hulu.

    5. Knives Out (2019)

    Katherine Langford, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Riki Lindhome, and Jaeden Martell looking up.
    Lionsgate / Courtesy Everett Collection

    After Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead the morning after his 85th birthday, his family is less concerned with grieving as they are with what will become of his massive fortune. And as private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) gets to know the family, he discovers they are a collection of the worst type of humans on the planet, to the point where he begins to suspect one of them could be responsible for Harlan's demise. But regardless of whether or not one of them offed the family patriarch, it's undeniable that the entire Thrombey crew is guilty of being the most insufferable movie family of the last five years.

    Watch it on Amazon Prime.

    6. Step Brothers (2008)

    Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly sitting on the grass.
    Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Dale (John C. Reilly) and Brennan (Will Ferrell) are fortysomething men-children whose blissfully ignorant lives are ruined when their parents decide to get married. Rivalries between stepsiblings are a common thing but the battle between these two fully grown men escalates to the point where Brennan literally tries to bury Dale alive. Eventually, the two unite over the one thing they have in common: a shared hatred for Brennan's younger brother Derek (Adam Scott) but, unfortunately, they prove every bit as destructive as allies, literally becoming the source of their parents getting divorced. No matter how much your siblings drive you insane, you can hopefully take solace in knowing none of them have attempted to murder you.

    Watch it on Netflix.

    7. Pride & Prejudice (2005)

    Keira Knightley and Rosamund Pike walking.
    Focus Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Elizabeth Bennett (Keira Knightley) is one of five sisters and given that they are all growing up in Victorian England, their mother is fixated on one thing when it comes to her daughters: ensuring that they all marry wealthy and rise above their station. This obsession causes great stress on each of the daughters, especially Elizabeth, who has the absolutely ridiculous notion of marrying someone she actually likes. While some of the social conventions have changed, parents still insist on prying into our love lives and usually prove to be every bit as clueless as Mrs. Bennett when it comes to knowing what their kids really want.

    Watch it on HBO Max.

    8. Moonstruck (1987)

    Vincent Gardenia, Cher, and Nicolas Cage talking at a table.
    Mgm / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Loretta Castorini (Cher) is 37 and lives at home with her parents following the death of her husband two years earlier, resulting in a relationship with her mom and dad that is simultaneously heartwarming and entirely frightening. The honesty and care she shares with her parents are certainly admirable, to the point where they both are more than willing to share their extremely honest thoughts when Loretta gets engaged to a man she does not love. But that intimacy is a double-edged sword, as the extreme closeness she has with her family unquestionably leads to a certain level of (admittedly hilarious) codependence.

    Watch it on HBO Max.

    9. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

    Mary Lynn Rajskub, Emily Watson, and Adam Sandler talking.
    Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    There is nobody in the world who can get under your skin and make you want to punch a wall like your siblings can. They know every button to push to get you from completely calm to irrationally angry in a matter of seconds. But typically, there's an underlying affection that lets you both know you love each other, even when you're making each other crazy. Not so in the case of Barry (Adam Sandler) and his seven emotionally abusive sisters. Their delight in insulting and belittling their brother has caused him to have intense social anxiety and repressed anger, the latter finding a way of coming out at the worst possible moments.

    Watch it on HBO Max.

    10. Nebraska (2013)

    Bruce Dern and Will Forte looking up.
    Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) is determined to get to Lincoln, Nebraska, in order to collect a million-dollar sweepstakes prize he believes he has won. His son David (Will Forte) knows it's a scam but after his dad won't stop insisting, he agrees to road trip with him to Lincoln. Woody, for the most part, is an unpleasant alcoholic who basically tells his son that he did not want to have kids and never loved his wife. It would be hard to blame David for leaving his dad on the side of the road but, instead, he sticks by his dad's side and helps him find the pot of fool's gold at the end of the rainbow.

    Watch it on Amazon Prime via Showtime.

    11. Our Idiot Brother (2011)

    Paul Rudd smiling at a door.
    Weinstein Company / Courtesy Everett Collection

    When you hit rock bottom, you often find family members are the only people you can count on. And that's certainly the case for Ned (Paul Rudd), who is released from jail only to find that his longtime girlfriend has moved on and even took his dog Willie Nelson. With nowhere to go, Ned calls upon his three sisters, all of whom reluctantly take him in while dealing with their own issues in the forms of a failing marriage, unrequited love, and freewheeling self-sabotage. As all of them try to grow and face their problems head-on, they find themselves turning on each other and Ned becomes the person most of the blame is pointed at. Because when you feel dissatisfied with your own life, it's often easy to put the culpability on the people around you instead of yourself.

    Watch it on Netflix.

    12. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

    Nia Vardalos, Lainie Kazan, Stavroula Logothettis, and Gia Carides talking.
    IFC Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Being a part of a big and loving family can be great but it can also leave you feeling overwhelmed and unable to really be your own person. That's certainly the case for Toula (Nia Vardalos), who meets the man of her dreams but is afraid that he will not be approved of by her Greek family because Ian (John Corbett) is not Greek. Even if your family loves you dearly, they may not fully understand everything you want and may even see your desires as a betrayal. But ultimately, you gotta do what you gotta do and hope that your family gets on board.

    Watch it on HBO Max.

    13. Krisha (2015)

    Krisha Fairchild smoking while Bill Wise looks at her.
    A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

    After being estranged from her family for years, Krisha (Krisha Fairchild) decides that she wants to come to her sister Robyn's (Robyn Fairchild) house for Thanksgiving. While some members of the family are open to reconciliation, others, including her son Trey (Trey Edwards Shults), are opposed to her coming at all and doubt her claims about her sobriety. This movie pulls no punches when it comes to how difficult family can be and how good intentions aren't always enough to make up for a lifetime of selfish living. It also examines the difficult balance many people have to keep between protecting yourself and trying to forgive when it comes to family.

    Watch it on Amazon Prime via Showtime.

    14. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

    Alan Arkin, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, Toni Collette, and Greg Kinnear sitting in a diner.
    Fox Searchlight / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Every member of the Hoover family is dysfunctional in their own special way. Sheryl (Toni Collette) is an overworked mom just trying to keep herself and her family together. Her husband Richard (Greg Kinnear) is trying (but mostly failing) to get his career as a motivational speaker going. Her brother Frank (Steve Carell) is living with them temporarily after a suicide attempt. Her son Dwayne (Paul Dano) has taken a vow of silence until he can become a fighter pilot. And her father-in-law Edwin (Alan Arkin) has started using heroin after being evicted from his retirement home. But they all have to band together to form a semi-functional family to help Olive (Abigail Breslin) make it to a child beauty pageant in California. Because no matter how screwed up everyone is as individuals, a family unit can be a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Watch it on Amazon Prime.

    15. Pieces of April (2003)

    Patricia Clarkson smiling at John Gallagher Jr.
    United Artists / Courtesy Everett Collection

    April Burns (Katie Holmes) is estranged from her family but decides to invite them to visit her in New York for Thanksgiving, largely because it is very likely the last Thanksgiving her mom Joy (Patricia Clarkson) will be around for due to cancer. As the family makes its way to April's place, both sides find themselves questioning if they made the right decision. But while not all of the problems within the family are resolved by the time they finally make it to New York, they do all learn to focus on the important things rather than get dragged down by the petty squabbles we often let ruin relationships.

    Watch it on Amazon Prime.