12 Movies Like Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway
The movie Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway, which was released in the March of 2023, gained an impressive public discourse as it is based on the real-life events of Sagarika Chakraborty and Anurup Bhattacharya during the challenging years in their life from 2011 to 2013.
This movie, directed by Ashima Chibber, is set in Norway and showcases the real-life ordeal faced by the Bhattacharya couple after they moved to Stavanger, Norway, in 2007.
As an Indian immigrant family, they moved due to a job opportunity as a geophysicist obtained by the patriarch head of the family, Anurup, presented as Aniruddha Chatterjee in the movie, played by Anirban Bhattacharya. His wife, Sagarika, presented as Debika Chatterjee in the movie, is played by Rani Mukherjee.
In the movie, the newly settled Chatterjee couple welcomes two kids, Abhigyaan, their son, who was born in 2008, and Aishwarya, their daughter, born two years later. Just a year after the birth of their daughter, the Norwegian Child Welfare Services, also called Barnevernet, took the two kids away from the Chatterjee couple on account of incompetent parenting.
The story struck a chord with a massive Indian audience as the practices and rituals that accounted for incompetent parenting and child abuse, which led the authorities to take Abhigyaan and Aishwarya away from their parents, are actually a cultural part of the Indian society and parenting.
These rituals included sleeping in the same room as their kids, feeding their kids from their hands, and other Hindu traditions and practices. As it turns out, Norwegian laws are very rigid and strict with regard to their children and their upbringing and need to be followed uniformly regardless of cultural differences.
Hence, practices that would pass as differences in lifestyle owing to the cultural difference amounted to a legal acquisition of the Chatterjee kids. Suspicious of the Norwegian Child Services administration, who are displayed as corrupt in the movie, aiming to acquire as many kids as they can for their personal gain, Mrs. Chatterjee decides to fight for her kids.
Things get more complicated as the Norwegian authorities allege Debika to be mentally unwell on top of the ‘incompetent parenting’ and ‘child abuse’ allegations. Thus follows a tedious and draining process of court proceedings in Norway and India after the Ministry of External Affairs got involved. Debika sets out to prove her capability and give up a peaceful way of life to get her children back.
The movie is based on the book ‘The Journey Of A Mother’ written by Sagarika Chakraborty on her life experiences during the troubled years of her life she was away from her children from 2011 to 2013.
The movie received mixed reviews and also received a response from the Norwegian Embassy defending their stance and administration, claiming that cultural differences are well respected, as opposed to what has been portrayed in the movie.
The movie was released in theatres on 17 March 2023 and is now available to stream on netflix. If the authenticity of the movie, unconditional love, custodial battles, and the hardships of upbringing made this movie an interesting watch, then you might like the twelve following movies!
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The 1996 family drama film Hollow Reed was directed by Angela Pope and is set in Bath, Somerset. The story focuses on many important aspects, such as domestic abuse, homosexuality, and so on, yet portrays them in a simple and effective way.
We have Martyn Wyatt played by Martin Donovan, who has recently left his family as he finally accepted his reality and went on to live with his lover, Tom Dixon, played by Ian Hart.
The nature of his relationship is not taken kindly by people involved in his life and proves to be a hurdle later on in his life.
Martyn’s son, Oliver Wyatt, played by Sam Bould, lives with his mother, Hannah Wyatt, played by Joely Richardson, who, after the painful discovery of her husband’s sexuality, has taken up with Frank Donally, played by Jason Flemyng, who is a construction engineer and now Hannah’s live-in boyfriend.
Oliver spends occasional afternoons with his dad, who is worried about the unexplainable bruises and injuries suffered by Oliver. Martyn is suspicious of Hannah’s new boyfriend but is convinced by Oliver that it is only the neighborhood bullies.
It is revealed that Frank was indeed the one who tormented Oliver and was encouraged as he did not have to face any consequences for a long time. Oliver is not only afraid but is also at crossroads since revealing the truth might mean the end of any hope or happiness his mom might have gained because of Frank.
And Hannah, although aware of what her son is going through, decides to turn a blind eye after Frank makes a plea and promises to change his ways. Martyn, who is a General Practitioner, is bothered by his son’s injuries, and once he is sure of Frank’s guilt, he takes it to court to fight for the battle of his child’s sole custody.
The battle turns ugly as everyone involved is out for each other, and Martyn, although a concerned father, is questioned about his capabilities to provide a suitable environment on account of his homosexuality.
With brilliant performances and a heartfelt story, the movie focused on issues that were and still are prevalent in the society we live in. The authentic and subtle screenplay makes it a good watch, with a decent rating of 7.2 on IMDb.
- Director: Angela Pope
- Genre: Drama
- Cast: Sam Bould, Martyn Donovan, Ian Hart, Joely Richardson, Jason Flemyng, Shaheen Khan, Kelly Hunter, Simon Chandler, David Calder, Roger Lloyd Pack, and Edward Hardwicke
- Releasing year: 1996
- Where to watch: Apple TV
The movie is set in New York City and focuses on the struggles of people involved in a case of Child Abuse. The story focuses on the life of a single mother who is trying to look after her two children, an inexperienced attorney who has proven herself in the classroom who takes on a pro-bono case, and a judge whose 23 years of marriage is crumbling in front of her shortly after her son goes to college.
The story is about Sara Diaz, played by Catalina Sandino Moreno, who is a single mother of two in New York City. Her 11-year-old son David Diaz and 8-year-old daughter Tia Diaz are played by Jaden Michael and Bryce Lorenzo, respectively.
One day, when Sara returns from work, she finds her son attending a party at their neighbors’ house, who have a bad reputation due to their substance abuse issues. Sara gets really upset over this and brings David back to their house, where they get into a fight.
This is where things start to go wrong, as during the fight, David gets hurt from a coffee table, hurting his forehead. Sara immediately comes to his aid and holds out an olive branch, after which they finally take some rest. The injury, however, has left a mark on David’s forehead, which concerns his teacher the next day, who sends him to the school infirmary.
At this stage, the principal summons the Administration for Children’s Services, and through the questioning that Tia was subjected to, revealing the incidents of the previous night to the authorities, the two Diaz kids are taken to institutional care.
After Sara reaches school upon receiving the news, she is told by the principal to take matters to the juvenile court to have her kids back. All of this is amidst an environment that is trying hard to redeem itself after losing an innocent 5-year-old to a grave mistake.
Their past mistake only makes the authority and the court more cautious and vigilant of Sara’s actions in order to avoid their blunder. The movie also focuses on the life of the inexperienced, pro-bono attorney assigned to Sara and a judge struggling with personal issues. The truth about David and Tia’s father is also revealed during the court proceedings.
- Director: James Lapine
- Genre: Courtroom drama
- Cast: Catalina Sandino Moreno, Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere, Tony Shalhoub, Dan Fogler, Raul Esparza, and Ellen Burstyn
- Releasing year: 2016
- Where to watch: Rakuten TV
Given to us by the recipient of four Academy Awards and the creator of ‘Parasite’ which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2020, Bong Joon-ho, this movie is about a mother who is trying to prove the innocence of her son, who is charged with murder and may face four years of detention.
Unsatisfied with the quick plea bargain, she takes matters into her own hands to bring justice to her son.
The unnamed mother, played by Kim Hye-ja, is based in a small town in South Korea. She is a widow and sells herbal medicine along with practicing acupuncture for her clients, for which she has received no formal education.
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She is very attached to her 28-year-old son, Yoon Do-Joon, played by Won Bin, who is intellectually disabled and shy. He is triggered when people poke fun at him for his condition and attack them.
Do-Joon doesn’t have many friends and hangs out with Jin-tae, played by Jin Goo, a local goon who invites disapproval from the Mother. Do-Joon gets in trouble because of a car that was vandalized by Jin-tae, who blames Do-joon for burdening Do-joon’s mother with debt. This causes Mother to be even more hateful toward Jin-tae, and she strongly advises Do-joon to cut ties with him.
Returning from the bar late at night, Do-joon sees a high school girl named Moon Ah-Jung, played by Moon Hee-Ra, walking alone. Do-Joon follows this young girl to an abandoned building.
The young girl, Moon Ah-Jung, is reported dead the next morning on the terrace with the name Do-joon inscribed on a golf ball lying near the corpse. Due to circumstantial evidence and incapable police, Yoon Do-joon is taken into custody and immediately arrested for murder.
Convinced that her son is not the culprit, the Mother sets out to prove his innocence to the court after she is failed by an incompetent lawyer and a society that is quick to judge. Mother suspects Jin-tae to be involved and desperately tries to find evidence in his house, discovering a golf club that appears to have blood on it. It is revealed by the police that the red substance is not blood but smeared lipstick.
Jin-tae eventually joins the Mother in solving the case and hopefully proving Yoon Do-joon’s innocence. The two, on a mission to bring Do-Joon back home, unravel secrets and try to find the truth behind the young girl’s murder.
- Director: Bong Joon-ho
- Genre: Mystery, thriller
- Cast: Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin, Jin Goo, Yoon Je-moon, Jeon Mi-seon, Lee Jung-eun, Chun Woo-Hee Moon Hee-Ra, and Song Sae-byeok
- Releasing year: 2009
- Where to watch: netflix, Prime Video
Seven-year-old Mary Adler, played by Mckenna Grace, lives with her uncle Chris Evans as Frank Adler in this movie which is set in Petersburg, Florida. The story is about Mary, who exhibits extraordinary mathematical ability, which astonishes her school teacher Bonnie Stevenson played by Jenny Slate, at her public school.
Mary becomes popular in her school, which she doesn’t find challenging, rather boring, and prefers to be homeschooled by her uncle.
However, she befriends students in her class and even stands up for one of her classmates who was getting bullied by hitting the bully in the face. She also brings her one-eyed cat Fred to school for a show-and-tell which is well-received by the class.
Bonnie, Mary’s teacher, informs Frank about his niece’s extraordinary abilities but isn’t met with the kind of reaction one would expect. It seems that Frank, who left his job as a professor to become a boat repairman, intentionally surrounds Mary with a subtle and comfortable environment, one where she can make friends and doesn’t stretch her abilities to the fullest potential.
Picking up on Frank’s casual attitude, the principal summons Mary’s maternal grandmother and Frank’s mother, who has the same views about Mary as the school. She believes that Mary’s true potential must be harnessed somewhere else.
It is hard to believe that the put-together and wealthy Evelyn, played by Lindsay Duncan, is Frank’s mother. The two have been estranged, and Frank has cut all ties with his mother, who now seeks the custody of Mary as she believes her to be “one-in-a-billion” and intends to move her to Massachusetts.
Thus begins the courtroom drama, where we get to know more about Mary’s mother. The movie, appreciated for the performance of the cast, has a gaging screenplay, and although the storyline is a simple one, the movie is a warm and interesting watch.
- Director: Marc Webb
- Genre: Drama
- Cast: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, and Octavia Spencer
- Releasing year: 2017
- Where to watch: Prime Video
Any Day Now
Set in West Hollywood in the 1970s, the movie Any Day Now is inspired by true events. The story showcases an incompetent mother, Marianna, played by Jamie Anne Allman, who has a special needs son, Marco.
Marianna has drug addiction issues and leaves her son by himself, and she doesn’t pay much attention to his needs. One night after Marianna leaves Marco uninformed and doesn’t return the next morning, Rudy, played by Alan Cumming, their neighbor, gets concerned for Marco.
Rudy gets to know from their landlord, with whom Rudy was having an argument, that Marco’s mother has shown no signs of return. This is when Rudy takes Marco to an attorney named Paul, played by Garret Dillahunt, to seek advice on what to do, only to be shunned away by the attorney anxiously.
Rudy, a struggling musician, works at “Fabios,” a gay nightclub, as a drag performer, and Paul is a closeted attorney who doesn’t want to be seen in public with Rudy.
Paul advises Rudy to call Family Services, who would then take care of Marco, but Rudy believes that Marco would be mistreated due to his differences while accusing Paul of neglecting them to save face at his workplace.
Paul and Rudy eventually makeup and, on their way home, locate Marco, who escaped to foster him and has been wandering the streets. Rudy thus decides to take Marco in to ensure his safety. Since Rudy is not his designated guardian, Rudy enlists Paul to make sure he gets custody.
At this point, the two of them visit Marco’s mother in prison and assure her that they will look after Marco, and to avoid any issues, they hide the real nature of their relationship from Marianna and claim to be friends.
Marianna is not fully convinced of their friendship but gives temporary guardianship to both of them.
Marco is elated to finally find a loving household where he starts doing better in every aspect of his life, but this pleasant change is short-lived as people around them start to question Paul and Rudy’s ability to take care of him on account of their homosexuality and the nature of Rudy’s job.
The proceedings in court get ugly, and Paul and Rudy are accused of heinous things despite Marco’s extremely positive words regarding the two. People’s hate towards Paul and Rudy evidently stems from their homophobia and is also clear to see in the judge’s opinion of them, who also condemns them for hiding the true nature of their relationship.
As the story progresses, it brings about new challenges for Marco, which get difficult for him to handle. We see how the system fails a special needs, easy-to-love Marco and denies him a loving home.
- Director: Travis Fane
- Genre: Drama
- Cast: Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, Gregg Henry, Jamie Anne Allman, Chris Mulkey, Don Franklin, Kelli Williams, Alan Rachins, Frances Fisher, and Isaac Leyva
- Releasing year: 2012
- Where to watch: Prime Video
The Divided Heart
Set during the World War II era, this movie, based on real events, portrays the effects of war on families. Families got torn apart, people went missing, and children were left to wonder where their loved ones had gone and if they would ever return.
Focusing on one of many such incidents, The Divided Heart is about a little boy who was supposedly orphaned and got another chance at a loving family. Things, however take an unexpected turn.
The movie focuses on the real-life story of a child whose father was a member of the Slovenian Partisans who were executed by the Nazis. His mother was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp and was later presumed dead.
Many children, including our protagonist, were sent to the Nazi program known as Lebensborn in Germany. The child is seen wandering the streets by himself one day in Germany, and since there is no family that can be traced to the child, they are presumed to be casualties in the war. He is sent to an orphanage.
The little child is eventually adopted by a couple who cannot have a child of their own, and he gradually accepts them as his parents and grows to love them.
After some time, when the child is around ten years old, the biological mother of the child is found to be alive in Yugoslavia, and upon hearing about her son, she travels to Germany to claim her son after having lost her two other kids and her husband.
The moral dilemma in the movie is faced not only by the court but also by the audience, who, on the one hand, recognize the love and care the child got from his adoptive parents and, on the other hand, the child’s biological mother who has lost everyone but her son.
The movie ends with the same verdict as the real-life incident that followed.
- Director: Charles Crichton
- Genre: Drama
- Cast: Cornell Borchers, Yvonne Mitchell, Armin Dahlen, and Alexander Knox
- Releasing year: 1954
- Where to watch: Mubi
The movie Evelyn is a story somewhat inspired by the true story of Desmond Doyle and his fight to get his children back from the Irish authorities. Pierce Brosnan, as Desmond Doyle, is a single father who has three kids, Evelyn Doyle, played by Sophie Vavasseur, and her brothers Maurice and Dermont, played by Hugh MacDonagh and Niall Beagan, respectively.
Desmond’s wife left him as he is a drunkard and out-of-work, leaving him to take care of their three kids, Evelyn, Maurice, and Dermont. Upon learning about the situation, Desmond’s mother-in-law reports the situation to the Irish authorities.
The children are hence placed in a Church-run orphanage as, according to the judge, the law prohibits the children from being in a broken home.
Evelyn finds it difficult to adjust to the strict environment where a lot of girls have been stuck for years with no end in sight. She sends a letter to her father stating the condition she is in while Desmond finds little hope of seeing his children again.
Desmond receives help from a local bartender and chemist who advises him to talk to her brother, who is a solicitor. Desmond realizes that in order for things to get better, he needs to change his ways, give up his drinking and get his life back on track, starting with a job. The path is a challenging one as he falters along the way, but he is determined to get his kids back.
- Director: Bruce Beresford
- Genre: Drama
- Cast: Sophie Vavasseur, Pierce Brosnan, Stephen Rea, Alan Bates, Julianna Margulies, and Aidan Quinn
- Releasing year: 2002
- Where to watch: Prime Video
Black or White
The movie Black or White portrays the life of a mixed-race child Eloise Anderson played by Jillian Estell, who lost her mother and has never heard from her father.
Eloise’s guardianship is the main concern as her maternal grandfather Kevin Costner is Elliot Anderson, who is wealthy and would like to be left alone to take care of her granddaughter in his mansion with his Mexican maid. Elliot has recently lost his wife to a car accident, due to which he needs to assume all responsibilities of raising Eloise.
Things get complicated when the young girl’s paternal grandmother Rowena played by Octavia Spencer, wants to take custody of her grandchild.
She is faced with resistance from Elliot, and as neither of them seems to back down, court proceedings for her custody begin. Through the court hearings, we get to know what the intentions of both parties demanding custody are.
Even though both of them love her, on the one hand, the tactics that Rowena resorts to are questionable, to say the least, and on the other hand, though Elliot is trying his best to take care of Eloise, given his circumstances, he is emotionally struggling.
There are instances where stereotyped personas are played into for personal benefit, and though all of them come from a good place wanting what is best for Eloise, their ways often are not morally correct.
- Director: Mike Binder
- Genre: Drama
- Cast: Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Jillian Estell, Bill Burr, Jennifer Ehle, Andre Holland, Gillian Jacobs, and Anthony Mackie
- Releasing year: 2014
- Where to watch: Prime Video, Apple TV
The Children Act
Seventeen-year-old Adam Henry, played by Fionn Whitehead, is suffering from leukemia and, according to the doctors, is in desperate need of a blood transfusion which would be his saving grace. The only problem is his religious beliefs would not allow him to go forward with it, and his parents are also of the same belief.
Matters reach the Family Division of the High Court of Justice England and Wales, and the case is assigned to Judge Fiona Maye, played by Emma Thompson, who is extremely dedicated and committed to her work, more so than her personal life.
She is struggling with her personal life as her husband, Jack, played by Stanley Tucci, complains that she has no time for him, due to which he would be having an affair with his colleague. He is open about it, but it is nevertheless hurtful for Fiona, who is shouldered by the weight of an intense case at the same time.
Fiona visits Adam in the hospital, where she discusses the situation with him, and discovers that Adam has consented to go against the life-saving transfusion on account of his religious beliefs and is ready to face the consequences even if it means deteriorated health or death.
The movie focuses on the life of Adam and Fiona and the aftermath of the declaration. Their lives get entangled for way longer and more intensely than anyone had anticipated.
A commendable performance by Emma Thompson as the judge and her supporting cast was acclaimed by the critics, while the movie itself, based on a novel by Ian McEwan titled the same as the movie, received mixed reviews with a rating of 6.7 on IMDb.
- Director: Richard Eyre
- Genre: Drama
- Cast: Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, and Fionn Whitehead
- Releasing year: 2017
- Where to watch: Prime Video, HBO, Hulu
News From Home
This documentary movie, created by Chantal Akerman, consists of picturesque clips of New York City, where Akerman moved when she was 21 years old from Belgium. Although the pretense of the movie is nothing like Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway, there is however a beautiful element of the mother-daughter relationship portrayed in the documentary.
While the visuals of the movie focus on are in accordance with the locations where Chantal Akerman used to take walks, the audio, which was added later, is the words of her mother.
Chantal’s mother used to write her letters informing her of what was happening back home while she was in New York, taking petty jobs to sustain herself while wanting to work in the film industry. These letters are read aloud, and the voice-over was added to the movie depicting a new city through visuals with a familiar place through audio.
The movie is nuanced, capturing the city life but also providing the warm calmness of home. The viewers get to see shots of the Staten Island Ferry, Times Square subway station, Hell’s Kitchen, and so on while being rooted in the daily life of Chantal’s mother through her letters.
- Director: Chantal Akerman
- Genre: Avant-garde documentary
- Cast: Chantal Akerman
- Releasing year: 1977
- Where to watch: Max
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The movie created by Jonas Carpignano is the final installment of the trilogy set following Mediterranea (2015) and A Ciambra (2017), set in the town of Calabria in Southern Italy. The movie follows the Guerrasio family, and through the course of the movie, it unravels secrets that are unknown to the daughter of the family, 15-year-old Chiara, played by Swamy Rotolo.
The movie starts out with a birthday celebration for 18-year-old Giulia, played by Grecia Rotolo. Things take a dark turn when later the same night, a car detonates, following which Chiara watches as her father, Claudio, played by Claudio Rotolo, flees the place.
Chiara’s mother, Carmela, played by Carmela Fumo, seems unexpectedly unbothered by the whole situation and explains the situation to Chiara, who is not convinced. Chiara thus seeks to find the truth out for herself, revealing long-kept secrets in the family.
As it turns out, the environment Chiara is in is problematic and not conducive for a child, which leads her to be placed in foster care. Chiara thus needs to deal with her situation and make decisions that are everlasting and decides her future.
- Director: Jonas Carpignano
- Genre: Drama
- Cast: Swamy Rotolo, Claudio Rotolo, Grecia Rotolo, and Carmela Fumo
- Releasing year: 2021
- Where to watch: HBO Max, Mubi, Hulu, Prime Video
Children of Invention
The movie is, to an extent, inspired by the director and writer’s own life and his short film Windowbreaker (2007). The story, in the first half, follows the life of an immigrant and a single mother of two. She works to fend for herself and her children while falling for the fraudulent pyramid schemes and ends up losing money.
Things get really out of hand for the mother of two, Elaine Cheng, played by Cindy Cheung, as she gets in trouble due to the pyramid schemes she keeps falling prey to and ultimately gets arrested.
Her two kids, Raymond Cheng, and Tina Cheng, played by Michael Chen and Crystal Chiu, respectively, are left to look after themselves after their mother is arrested and with no one around them to nurture them.
The movie gets its name from the kids’ way of inventing things to feed their imaginations and entertain them. The movie was critically acclaimed and received positive reviews and also received various awards after it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
- Director: Tze Chun
- Genre: Drama, Indie
- Cast: Crystal Chiu, Michael Chen, Cindy Cheung, Ai Cheng, Suzan Mikiel Kennedy, Stephen Gevedon and Yan Xi.
- Releasing year: 2009
- Where to watch: Prime Video
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