Abusive Parents/Films

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search


  • Bill Heslop in Muriel's Wedding degrades his children at every turn, including this little gem in the middle of a restaurant where he was supposed to be impressing a pair of Japanese Businessmen: "Useless. You're all useless! A bunch of useless no-hopes..."
  • Gordie's father in Stand by Me.
  • Honorable mention to Mary Jane's father from the Spider-Man movie. We heard him yelling at her, and we hear him mentioned, but we never lay eyes on the man. Well, he's abusive so it's no great loss that we don't know anything more about him.
  • In House of Games, the main character Dr Margaret Ford has a patient whose father repeatedly called her a whore during her childhood.
  • Though thankfully not shown onscreen, Zack is regularly beaten by his father (who also beats his mother) in Kindergarten Cop, and, as a result, is emotionally stunted and regularly comes to school with bruises from "falling down the stairs". When your homeroom teacher happens to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, you can bet that the child-beating brute is going to get a delightful collection of bruises of his own...
  • Dawn Weiner has some of the worst parents in the history of film. Her mother is condescending, cruel and constantly talks down to her, while her father doesn't want to know/care she exists. When her little sister is kidnapped, she heroically runs away and tries to find her. Her sister is found, but Dawn's parents don't even care/know that she's gone. Someone call child services.
    • In the director's later film Palindromes, it is revealed Dawn committed suicide as a result of the abuse.
  • In The Alzheimers Case it's revealed that Laddo and his brother were physically and sexually abused by their father as children, which explains Laddo's hatred of harming children as an adult.
  • Frank Abagnale's parents in Catch Me If You Can are actually very supportive of their son, but his father engages in emotional abuse in one of his last scenes. Frank has been trying to stop his criminal lifestyle for a while now, but can't go through with it until his father tell him that it's alright to do so. Instead Frank Sr. refuses and tries to use his son as a weapon against the government because they didn't support him when his business went under. This did not happen in real life.
  • UHF: R.J. Fletcher portrays this real well when he's first seen & heard abusing his son R.J Fletcher Jr. for not acting intelligent enough.
  • The Butterfly Effect has Kayleigh's father. In the first timeline, he often had her strip and filmed her. In another timeline, due to Evan's interference, he left her alone but shifted the abuse to her brother. It is implied that it was physical abuse rather than sexual.
  • Michael Myers had these in the Halloween remake.
  • Hinted at with Charlie in Mystery Team
  • The monstrous Mrs. Bates in Psycho inflicted awful emotional abuse on her son, Norman. First of all, she cut him off from all other society throughout childhood, making him utterly dependent on her. All the while, she tells him that sex is evil and dirty, and that women are whores (except her). She then abandons him at age 12 when she finds a boyfriend. Unable to deal with the loss of his one companion, Norman murders them both. Wracked with guilt afterwards, he develops an identity disorder, occasionally taking on her personality to deal with his guilt and grief. Unfortunately, even the internalised Mrs. Bates is emotionally abusive, and Norman is riddled with anxieties over his sexuality and still smothered by his domineering mother.
  • A bit of narration in Terminator 2: Judgment Day has Sarah Connor reflecting on the fact that every would-be father figure Sarah had chosen for John was abusive or in some way unfavorable... except the reprogrammed T-800 sent to protect John.
    • Also, John is tipped off about the T-1000's replacing his foster mother partly by the fact that "she" suddenly starts being nice to him.
      • It's nowhere near clear that his guardians are abusive. They're frustrated about his behavior, including refusing to do normal household chores and frequently getting into trouble with the police - but at no point are they shown being abusive.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to have a knack for being a better father figure in his movies. Kindergarten Cop gives us Zach, who, along with his mother who tries to make excuses for it, are victims of his drunken rage. When John Kimble finally meets him, he starts to kick his ass, but stops when he finds out that his class is watching.
  • Mommie Dearest, which is based on the infamous exploits of Joan Crawford. Faye Dunaway's Crawford is painful to listen to at times.
  • In Broken Blossoms Lucy Burrows is regularly beaten by her father, who eventually kills her.
  • In Radio Flyer Mikey and Bobby's stepdad "The King" is very abusive to them, but he treats Bobby the younger of the two much worse he beats him for the littlest things especially when he's drunk one of these beatings is enough to put him in the hospital, at one point it is explained that he picked on Bobby is that he was smaller, weaker, and couldn't defend himself, eventually the two invent a flying machine to escape from him in the ensuing struggle "The King" is knocked unconscious by the machine as Bobby flies off and he is finally locked up without bail.
  • In Mikey one of the reasons why Mikey was a psychopath was because his original parents were abusive he also refused to take off his shirt to cover his scars.
  • Mr. Deeds implies that the father of one of the characters was physically abusive, as Mr Deeds' character lectures the character about swearing in front of the ladies as well as skipping school. Although he does tell the dad about skipping school, he apparently didn't tell the dad about swearing in front of the ladies, to which when he found out from Deeds, he was implied to have beaten the son with a belt.
    • To provide a bit of context, it is done for laughs. With the character being an (adult) football player.
  • One of The Joker's "scar stories" in The Dark Knight has Joker claiming that he got at least one of the Glasgow Grin scars from his father in an effort to make him not so serious. His response to an unintimidated partygoer suggests that, at the very least, his having an a!
  • In the movie Natural Born Killers there is a flashback which shows Mickey as a deliveryman who came to the house where Mallory lived with her abusive father, her neglectful mother, and her younger brother Kevin. The flashback is portrayed as an All In The Family or Married... With Children-style sitcom with a canned laughter track, the "audience" laughing hardest when Mallory is subjected to lewd comments, being molested by her father, and threatened with rape. It's implied he's raped her before, when her mother notes that Kevin was only born because her father was drunk and didn't realize he was in his own bedroom, and not Mallory's.
  • This is a plot point in Chinatown, and is the source of one of Film Noir's most shocking reveals. To make a long story short, Noah Cross raped Mrs. Mulwray and she had a daughter by him. Mulwray's protectiveness toward her drives a good amount of the plot.
  • It is implied in the film adaptation of Forrest Gump that Jennie and her sisters were frequently sexually molested by her father during their childhood.
  • Sybil, starring Sally Field. A girl is abused so badly she splits into multiple personalities to protect herself. The psychology may be dubious, but the depictions of the abuse are harrowing.
  • Eastern Promises. Semyon is physically and verbally abusive well into Kirill's adulthood. It may have gotten worse now that Kirill's a grown man, and is also, at least implicitly, because Kirill is likely gay. It comes across as worse in contrast to how Semyon treats the little girls in their family, which seems genuinely avuncular. Well, maybe not all the little girls in his family -- Semyon also orders Kirill to murder one of his illegitimate children, who would be Kirill's own infant half-sister.
  • Precious - Poor, poor Clareece "Precious" Jones. An illiterate and obese teenager, she has been raped by her father and impregnated twice, and endures constant and physical abuse from her unemployed mother, Mary. To escape from her grimy reality, she often tries to imagine a world where she's loved and appreciated.
  • Nearly every soap operas that are aired in Indonesian television stations. Especially if the protagonist is a child. There are always parents, usually women, who are greedy and abuse their children. Almost come in parcel with abusive older sibling. And usually female too.
  • In A Christmas Story, Ralphie's mom asks him where he learned the word "fuck". He decides it's a bad idea to truthfully say his dad, so he says his friend Schwartz. Ralphie's mom calls Mrs. Schwartz and notifies her. She screams "What?!" and proceeds to beat him without even hanging up.