5. The Baileys – It’s a Wonderful Life
Watching It’s a Wonderful Life is a time-honored Christmas tradition, and it’s a beautiful film that has been making audiences feel tingly for generations. That said, the Bailey family are one of cinema’s most high-profile dysfunctional families.
Yes, the film was made in a different era, and it tells the story of a time long past, but there’s numerous ways in which the Baileys fail to be an entirely healthy family unit.
For a start, George saves his brother Harry’s life, only to partially lose his hearing. This prevents him from fighting in the War, but when Harry wins a Medal of Honor, George grows quietly resentful of his brother. Between this, running his father’s business (despite it going against everything he’d wanted for himself), and inheriting his father’s rivalry with the sinister Henry Potter, George grows to be a bitter man, depressed to the point of suicide.
Oh, and, just to pass that trauma on to another generation, George is frequently seen berating and belittling his own children, mocking them and loudly declaring to his wife that he doesn’t want them.
Maybe it wasn’t such a wonderful life being a Bailey, after all.