War of the Roses (1989): Black Comedy of Marriage, Starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner

Danny DeVito directed The War of the Roses, a black comedy based upon the 1981 novel of the same name by Warren Adler.

The film stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito, who had  previously worked successfully on the comedies, “Romancing the Stone,” and its sequel “The Jewel of the Nile.”

Douglas and Turner play a wealthy couple engaged in a seemingly perfect matrimony. When their marriage begins to fall apart, material possessions become the center of an outrageous and bitter divorce battle.

The film’s title, of course, refers to the long British battles between the warring Houses of York and Lancaster, while contending for the throne during the Late Middle Ages.

The tale is framed by Gavin D’Amato (DeVito), a lawyer who discusses a divorce case in his office with a taciturn client. Noticing the man’s determination to divorce his wife, Gavin decides to tell him the story of one of his clients, a personal friend of his.

And in the end, we are back at D’Amato’s office, where finishing his story, he presents his client with two options: either proceed with divorce and face a bloodbath in court, or go home to his wife to settle their differences properly.

The client chooses the latter, and Gavin, satisfied, packs up and goes home to his own family.