5 Dysfunctional Family Films for the Holiday Season - Raindance

Decorations. Themed music. Gifts. Food. All are core components of the holiday season.

But let’s get to the crux of the November-January period – the reason that, despite all these wonderful things, many of us are stressed out of our minds: family.

Going home for the holidays can be a relaxing, wholesome experience. For most people, however, there’s always a point where the cabin fever sets in and your smile begins to crack. From then onwards, the dinner table becomes a battleground.

Here are five films that let you know you’re not the only one who is going stir-crazy. Who knows? You might even be able to laugh at these all together.


1. The Royal Tenenbaums

Wes Anderson could make an airport bathroom look muted, retro, and glam, but his specialty is familial angst. Take Margot Tenenbaum as your muse, throw on a luscious fur coat and take a long walk when your family becomes too much to handle.

2. Moonstruck

This is meant to be a romcom, but the mother’s performance? Her soliloquies on the difficulties of marriage? Her smooth sidestep of the sleazy potential lover and solid advice to her only daughter? This film is about every family member. It’s also extremely Italian American, so it supports loud fights, but also family reconciliation. It’ll get you through this.

3. A Christmas Story

That this is festive is clear from the title, but A Christmas Story’s hilarious depiction of how ridiculous families can be is what really makes this a worthwhile film. Parents and children alike will laugh at these classic capers.

4. The Godfather

Mafia means family, and family means no betrayal gets left un-avenged.

5. I, Tonya

Ice skating is wintry and festive, right? And now, as of this list being published, so is Allison Janey chain-smoking with a parrot on her shoulder while she trash-talks her daughter. You’d be hard pressed to find relationships more dysfunctional –  and more hilarious – than the ones depicted in this film.



Sylvie Dumont is not quite Italian and not quite American. And certainly not French.

When she is not in the Raindance office, she is crying about her undergrad dissertation. If you know anything about Sicilian folklore, please contact her.

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