February 16, 2015

“Boyhood” Movie: Profile of Children in Divorce

149261495Every once in awhile a movie comes along that gives us an important glimpse into the world of divorce.  Richard Linklater’s movie Boyhood is one of those rare films. It tells the story of a divorced family over a period of twelve years in a way that has moved audiences and impressed critics all over the world. It won the Golden Globes and Critics Award for Best Picture and is one of the favorites to win the Oscar for best picture as well.

One of the unique features of the movie is that it was filmed over a period of 12 years, so you actually watch the boy grow from age 6 to 18. Seeing the real actors grow over time does seem to make it feel more real and by the end of the film the viewer gets a powerful sense of how this world feels, particularly for the children. Parents who have been through a divorce, or who see the possibility of divorce, are likely to be particularly moved by the film.

While the movie clearly shows the pain and difficulty that the children face from living in two homes, and in having to adapt to new step-parents, it is not a grim account designed to make us feel that children of divorce are doomed. Indeed, Linklater, who acknowledges that the movie is based loosely on his life, says he was more interested in just showing that, for many families this world is very real. Over the twelve years, the boy, and his older sister, face many of the same issues faced by most children; the fact that they experienced those issues in separate homes adds a different dimension to their lives but, at least in this movie, does not devastate the family.

Without spoiling the movie, it can be said that the divorced parents in the movie, while clearly imperfect, work through their life experiences without intense bitterness toward each other and, in the end that seems to have made all of the difference. I have, over the years, observed divorcing parents who never truly overcame their grief or anger. When I imagine the “Boyhood” story with these parents, I realize the story would have a completely different feeling.

For me one of the messages that the movie underscores is that divorcing parents can be imperfect, and they can make the mistakes that we all make; but if their love of their children prevails, and they come to resolve their issues of grief and anger, their children can thrive.

In my 32 years as a divorce attorney, I have witnessed every variation of the “Boyhood” story. My observations have convinced me that, for most divorcing parents, the method they choose for their divorce can make all of the difference. When it comes to divorce, some sadness, fear, and anger are inevitable. However, choosing a process that will help you resolve those issues, rather than inflame these emotions is crucial. To learn more about your choices, go to www.collaborativelaw.org or www.divorcechoice.com.

Ron Ousky
Attorney, Ousky Law Firm

Ron Ousky is a Collaborative Attorney and mediator who has worked with divorcing families for thirty years and focuses on helping his clients find better outcomes through Collaborative Practice, mediation and other creative alternatives. Ron is also the co-author of The Collaborative Way to Divorce, and has trained divorce lawyers throughout North America and in Europe. He is also the co-founder of the Collaborative Alliance, an office sharing suite in Edina, that brings lawyers, mental health professionals and financial experts together to find better solutions for families. To learn more about Ron and his practice, go to www.Ousky.com

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