TV Review: Mum and Dad are Splitting Up
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One in three children in Britain have parents who are divorced. Olly Lambert’s documentary, ‘Mum and Dad are splitting up’ focused on several children’s experience of their parent’s divorce, and as a ‘child of divorce’, it was a documentary I was eager to see. I wondered how it would be structured, how honest the people involved would be and whether the conclusions drawn would be fair or not. I felt like the formula for the documentary was perfect: no stone was left unturned, no questions unanswered. Lambert demanded the utmost honesty from his subjects, even when discussing difficult topics. He shot one-on-one interviews with the children in their bedrooms, and then for the whole family footage he had them collected their living room. This was a powerful move, as we got to see the children speaking honestly and openly, in the place you would imagine they felt most comfortable, and then the contrast when they were forced to sit in a room with both of their parents. Something which they had spoken about strongly in their room, would be mumbled quietly to their parents. In his stylistic choices, Lambert reveals a lot about the dynamic between parent and child, as well as casting light on the problems some children suffer after their parent’s divorce. But that is where the problem lay for me. Lambert chose subjects who had all suffered greatly because of their parent’s divorce. Not all children are emotionally scarred after their parent’s separate. It depends on the circumstances in which the divorce happens and the efforts of the parents afterwards, as well as many other factors. I feel that the documentary presented an unfair view of what life is like for children, post-divorce. This is an issue for me for several reasons. It offers reason to the popular response to saying your parents are divorced of "oh, I’m so sorry." In my case, and I’m sure many others, there is nothing to be sorry about. I always feel incredibly patronised when someone feels the need to take pity on me because my childhood was not the same as theirs, and annoyed by the assumption that because my parents were divorced, it was less happy.
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