Marriage Documentary

Have you seen the HBO documentary 112 Weddings?

For two decades, filmmaker Doug Block made extra money by shooting wedding videos. After each one, he was always curious what happened next to the couples. (“I can’t help but wonder,” he says, “do they have any idea what they’re getting into?”) So, in this documentary, Block visits nine of his favorite couples to see how they’ve fared. As Block says, “happily ever after is complicated.”

You know those movies that haunt you for days? The film was incredibly affecting, and Alex and I kept pausing it to talk about various scenes. I still can’t get it out of my head. It’s on HBO on Demand or you can find it here.
Have you seen any good documentaries lately? Would love to hear…

P.S. 20+ best documentaries.

  1. I’m the filmmaker who made “112 Weddings” and just came across this blog post by accident. First, want to thank Jo and all who commented here for the very kind words. Nice to see it strongly affected so many of you. Just hope it didn’t scare you off from having kids. They really aren’t marriage killers, honest (well, not necessarily).

    Want to also mention that while the film is still available on HBO Go, as of June 14, 2015 it will be available on dvd and various digital platforms like iTunes and Amazon. And if you liked “112 Weddings” you’ll probably like another film I made about marriage called “51 Birch Street” – – which is available on Netflix, iTunes and, well, just do a google search.

  2. the nostalgia machine is awesome! :)

  3. I am watching “The truth about food” documentary by BBC. I recommmend it.

  4. Thank you Joanna for sharing this. Wow. I just watched it ( and it’s a rarity that I get to watch a film from start to finish with my busy busy toddler). What an incredible piece of work. Maybe the best thing I’ve watched in years. I can see why it stayed with you too, I will be thinking of it for a long time! I’ve been married 6 years, together with my husband for 11 years and we have a two year old. I think what I found most profound was just how quickly time seems to move, for me, for these couples, for everyone. Although my wedding seems like yesterday to me, it wasn’t. Makes me want to cherish every day a bit more, time is tricky. It goes fast even though at times you feel it is standing still.

  5. My husband and I watched this based on your recommendation and it was so good! We especially loved watching the couples’ body language. There were times when they were saying one thing, but their body language was definitely saying something else.

    We have been married almost 8 years and have a 4-year-old. To the people who are scared about having kids, please don’t be! It is hard, but so worth it. My husband and I always talk about how you have to have a really strong foundation going in to parenthood, though, because any cracks will definitely start to show. You have less time, less money, less sleep, less romance, and of course that changes your marriage. It is a lot different from our wedding day, that is for sure. But even just sitting down and talking about how hard it is helps us feel connected.

    This movie was actually reassuring since I realized things change for everyone after marriage/kids, not just us. And I loved the rabbi’s quote about how it is easy to have a happy wedding day because you through a lot of booze and money at that day, but if you throw a lot of booze and money at your marriage it doesn’t work out so well, or something like that. Funny, and true.

  6. What a great film! My husband, of 9 years, and I watched it last night. We both were shocked about the revelations of kids’ negative impact on marriage. We have two littles under 4 and if anything, experiencing parenthood together has ENHANCED our connection. We were together for 10 years, before having kids, so perhaps that helped us….Yes, things change, but if you have a solid foundation of love and respect (and lack self-centerdness, really), it just gets better and better.

  7. thanks for writing about this documentary joanna :) i absolutely loved it. i’ve been married for 6 years and mostly it’s been extremely hard that i am now thinking about getting a divorce. So with that on my mind, i’ve just been thinking about other people’s marriages and wondering are their’s as difficult as mine and how they deal with their problems. So many of what the couples said just struck a chord with me because i went through it (or am going through it). After watching it I realised that some marriages last…and some don’t…and that’s okay, life goes on. It’s kind of comforting…weirdly

  8. With this and Boyhood all coming out it must be the season of here’s people dealing with the real shit called ‘life’ I want to desperately see it and not see it all at the same time. You always have great movie picks, thanks!

  9. I watched this the other day and really enjoyed it and then went about my day. I initially didn’t think too much about it. But then my husband got home and before I knew it I was having a huge cry to him over it. I am six months pregnant and have already been warned by my sister that marriage satisfaction plummets after you have children and I am of course excited… But also scared I will miss our relationship the way it is now. Deep thoughts, I know… Buy this movie totally hit a nerve.

  10. I recently watched “Life Itself”, the Roger Ebert documentary, and “Freedom Summer”, one of the American Experience films on PBS about the effort to register African American voters in Mississippi in 1964. Both were excellent and quite moving – Dave Dennis’ eulogy in Freedom Summer just destroyed me, it was so heartbreaking – and deal with overcoming adversity.

  11. I thought about it for days after too! I could write pages, I had so many observations, but one thing I kept thinking of something my wise friend Stephanie told me when I was planning my wedding: it’s not about the wedding, it’s about the marriage. She was so right. Looking back (and it’s only been 5 years) we’ve grown up so much, and changed for the better. It takes work, and I hope we just keep getting to better places in our lives and marriage together.

  12. Thanks for posting about this documentary, I had a quiet evening to myself this evening (once the kids were asleep at least!) as my husband was at a work party, so I made a pizza and watched it. It was so interesting and moving – I have been married for 8 years and think marriage can be so fascinating! Thinking about what might the future might hold for us as a couple, hearing about how others have faired, and learning about how kids change marriages, etc. So so interesting! Have a great weekend! x

  13. I watched it last weekend and have been thinking about it all week. I even lost a little sleep. Fascinating and terrifying. Godspeed to Heather + Sam!

  14. This movie brought me to tears… enjoyed it very much! Thanks for the tip!

  15. I watched a PBS documentary called “For Better Or For Worse”( in a class when I was in college, and I LOVED it. I have watched it several times since then and have always gotten something new from it. They follow 5 couples who give advice about love and marriage. I highly recommend it!

  16. I think I know what we’ll be watching this weekend. Thanks for the recommendation!

  17. My poor husband is completely traumatized by this but I adored it… I loved the honesty… Said the woman 10 months into marriage

  18. Alamar. Dreamy cinematography, lovely story. Like a mini vacation for the mind.

  19. I can’t wait to see it. My husband and I just did a marriage retreat in June. It was great, insightful, hard and amazing and well worth it. We both feel like we learned a new language essential to relationships. It’s also made me more aware of how couple interact and communicate with one another. Can’t wait to see this documentary. It’s exactly where my mind is right now.

  20. So interesting, I’ll have to check it out. I’m a wedding photographer and thinking about seeing my clients years later always comes to mind on their day.

  21. I finally got around to watching City.Ballet. and really enjoyed it. Thanks for that recommendation!

  22. Yes, my husband and I watched this a few weeks ago and found it fascinating. Really illustrates how messy, complicated, beautiful and heartbreaking relationships can be. The couple with one young son (can’t remember names – wife was a TV producer turned art teacher) disturbed me the most. The husband seemed to regret marrying and having his child, and I can’t imagine how hard it was for her to watch (let alone film) that.

  23. Dear Zachary. But only if you want to be really, really… really depressed. I watched it a couple of months ago and I still think about it sometimes.

  24. I’m so glad you shared this. I’ve been watching it as an HBO special and was surprised to find it so introspective. I completely agree with the Rabbi when he said that if he had a magic wand he wouldn’t choose to remove the challenges of marriage. To do so would be like levelling the peaks and valleys of life. Without that, there would be no mountains to scale or vistas to enjoy :)

  25. Have you seen ‘Searching for Sugarman’? This documentary is simply AMAZING! it is about a musician, Rodriguez. Also, great soundtrack.

  26. Looking forward to watching this! As a single, independent kind of gal in my mid twenties I have a hard time coming to terms with my thoughts on marriage. Hopefully this will give me some good food for thought!

    I recently watched two great docs on a long international flight: Good Ol’ Freda and the Elaine Stritch docu (the day before she passed, mind you!) both were really fun and entertaining portraits of some seriously cool ladies. Highly recommend!

  27. I can’t wait to watch it. The trailer was wonderful – and after 8 years of marriage and 2 children, marriage has certainly taken on an entirely different angle.

  28. I’m a sucker for great documentaries, so I’ll keep an eye out for this!

    Jade ♡

  29. I’ll have to check this out, I love interesting documentaries as well!

  30. I really enjoyed this documentary. I would love to see what happens with these couples ten years from now, after being married for twenty years. I found that all of the couples were navigating through the good and bad times of a relationship and raising children, some worse or better than others. Being married for 21 years, I remember feeling some of the things these people are feeling being married for 7, 10, and 13 years, so I would like to see a follow up with these people when they hit 20 or 25 years. Will they still be together once the kids are grown? What will they think was the secret to their successful marriage? (my secret: communication) It’s nice to see that so many of them are putting effort into maintaining a relationship and not just giving up.

  31. That looks so fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

  32. Hi Joanna! Thank you for sharing this! I’m with Elisabeth…please let us know what children does to your marriage? My husband and I have been married for 5 years, and we have a little one on the way! :)

  33. I second Sarah on Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It is a beautifully filmed documentary about a master sushi chef’s lifelong focus and dedication, with interesting notes on culture, honor, sacrifice, and bits of humor in an otherwise intense world.

  34. Joanna, Have you seen The Case Against 8? It is also on HBO. I have watched it twice and have cried each time. Truly, it is an amazing film.

  35. SOMM sounds incredible!!! i’m going to see if we can track it down this week….

  36. jess, ABSOLUTELY. that was 100% the most affecting part for me. i couldn’t stop thinking about her. she was in such a dark place, and he was so devoted—you could tell they had had those conversations a million times. and she even said that at their wedding she was trying to enjoy it and stay in the moment, so it seemed like she had struggled with depression for years.

  37. lindsay, that’s so fascinating. during the documentary, i was trying to see if i could guess each marriage’s outcome by watching the couples when they were getting married. so interesting…

  38. thank you so much for these suggestions!!! i am adding these all to my list:)

  39. Stories we tell! it is on netflix streaming and so so good.

  40. That was an awesome one! The other two great HBO docs to watch are The Case Against 8 and First Comes Love (you will LOVE LOVE LOVE First Comes Love)

  41. OOO how interesting is this!!! I would be interested in seeing what happens to these couples as well if I was a wedding videographer or photographer. This is particularly interesting as a newlywed.


  42. Try “A Lot Like You.” All women should see it. And it was written, directed and stars by friend Eli Kimaro. Wonderful.

  43. Adding this to the top of my list—thank you for sharing!

    Your movie recommendations are always spot on. I saw Finding Vivian Maier after you suggested it and it was amazing! The best film I have seen in ages.

  44. Blackfish was an intense documentary about killer whales at Sea World. Family Band: The Cowsills Story was interesting-they were the inspiration behind the Partridge Family.

  45. I watched it. I thought it was really good, but as someone who is about to embark on marriage, it did make me somewhat paranoid…especially about having children. Yikes. However, I am glad I watched it in the end and can appreciate that everyone has a different experience. It did make me stop and think…do I really want to bring children into this awesome/fun loving/peaceful/happy relationship? It seems so daunting!

  46. I watched this last week and my biggest take-away was how much marriage seems to change, and how hard it becomes after a couple decides to have children.

    That sort of terrifies me! I’d love to know what other couples think about this. Does having children completely destroy the relationship temporarily? It is as challenging as people say?

  47. This looks fascinating! I so want to see it. Might be thought provoking and lead to some great discussion with my husband of 11 years.

  48. this sounds so good… so real.

    I recently started watching a ton of documentaries on Netflix, and the one that hit my most was Inequality For All. You NEED to watch it!! It might be a little Left-wing, but it’s good.

  49. This looks so fascinating. The Woman Who Wasn’t There (on Netflix) was infuriating and fascinating at the same time. The Science of Babies (also on Netflix) had me saying, “Did you know…?” to all my new mama friends for weeks!

  50. Just happened to see this last weekend when I was flipping through the channels, loved it so much! My husband even sat down and watched part of it. Very interesting documentary.

  51. Ohhhh, I know what I’m doing this evening. Thanks for the recommendation! I want to echo what Caroline said — you MUST watch SOMM! Fascinating documentary, because wine.

  52. I’m so glad you mentioned this documentary – I watched it a few weeks ago and have also been haunted by it ever since! It was eye opening to see that all marriages have trials and tribulations – it’s just that everyone’s trials and tribulations are different, and some were able to weather the storms better than others. It’s such a realistic portrait of marriage – everyone who is about to get married should see this.

  53. I came upon 112 Weddings a few weeks ago and watched it… So interesting!!

  54. Can’t wait to watch! Thanks for sharing!

    I believe if you have a strong foundation as a couple coming into marriage and realize that nothing in life is “perfect” then together you can be “imperfectly perfect” for each other. It’s the ups and downs, ebbs and flows and children do not ruin relationships… the relationships are already “rocky” and then they add a child into the mix.

    Last docu I watched was “Remembering the Artist”

  55. I am getting married soon, and watching this was admittedly a bit scary! I think the saddest couples are not the ones who divorce, but the ones who are still together and seem to have drifted apart.
    I also really loved seeing wedding dresses from 10 plus years ago. It’s so interesting how bridal fashion has evolved.

  56. The Queen of Versailles, on Netflix, is worth watching.

  57. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

  58. Definitely adding this to the queue of documentaries to watch. Recently saw SOMM and it was amazing— all about 4 guys preparing to take the sommelier exam and it’s surprisingly intense! I couldn’t get over how they talk about the wine while tasting— really truly remarkable.


  59. That looks like a goodie! This documentary is not about marriage, but it’s about what an American married couple is doing… leading the growing real food movement and getting the uninitiated to join the Food Revolution. I am from Illinois, am a voluntary JOFF Food Ambassador and am simple goobers for ” Food Patriots”. Lovely, funny, inspirational stuff:) XoLindsey

  60. The documentary, “Remembering The Artist, Robert DeNiro Sr. on HBO is wonderful and touching.

  61. Oooh…thanks for blogging about this. I get married next May and I’m so interested in the institution of Marriage and everyone’s different experiences and opinions of it. Thank you!

  62. Made me cry. Especially the story about the woman dealing with depression and the amazing love and support her husband showed her.

  63. My new husband and I watched this the week before we got married (July 12th was our wedding day). I was hoping it would give me a glimpse into our future but it was really sad in some parts. Plus kids ruin a lot of relationships, apparently!

  64. “Tim’s Vermeer” is amazing, both for the technique discovered but also for the amazing Tim!

  65. This documentary isn’t a marriage one, but Mortified Nation is brilliant! It’s about people reading their diaries and personal moments, it’s refreshing. It’s on Netflix, if you have Netflix. (

  66. This looks incredible! Can’t wait. We just watched Life Itself last week and it was fascinating! The explosive chemistry between Siskel and Ebert was so eye-opening and I never knew how prolific Ebert truly was. The love between his wife and him was also so touching. I know you talked about wanting to see it so I hope you get a chance : )

  67. This sounds SO COOL! My boyfriend is a wedding videographer and he’s had clients divorce before their video is even complete. I know it’s awful, but it’s always fun to watch the couples and try to pick out who won’t make it, haha. You can usually tell!

    -Lindsay from Dearest Darling