If Your Parents get divorced, Don’t Sulk, or else!
A very unusual film for its time. Its theme is how traumatic divorce is for children. The message is effective because there are no good guys or bad guys in the film. The mother cheats on the husband, but the husband was neglectful of his wife. It is made clear that they were never passionately in love. Her lover, whom she marries, is a good guy and tries his best to win over his stepdaughter. The father eventually also gains a fiancée, who also seems very nice. But he continues to be away from home too much due to his career. The two parents both love their daughter very very much, but due to her disruptive attitude (not bad, just disconcertingly unhappy and unaccepting of the two new people in her parents’ lives) they put her away in a nice boarding school on the advice of her doctor. It is made clear that though everyone loves little Roberta this solution is a relief to both parents. The last scene is Roberta pretty much getting the scoop on what her future with her parents is going to be from her more experienced roommate, another child of divorce. Both of the little actresses are wonders in this film. Sadly, the message to the children seems to be, If your parents get divorced, pretend to be happy, or else. Everything is pretty much left unresolved, and there is no closure provided. Realistic, yes, but Not what I prefer in a film.
June 2, 2019