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Irreconcilable Differences is a 1984 comedy-drama film starring Ryan O'Neal, Shelley Long, and Drew Barrymore. The film was a minor box office success, making over $12 million. For their performances, both Shelley Long and Drew Barrymore were nominated for Golden Globe Awards.

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The film begins with media attention surrounding Casey Brodsky's (Drew Barrymore) decision to divorce her parents and have her nanny, Maria Hernandez, become Casey's legal guardian, which results in her parents, Albert and Lucy Brodsky, being brought out of their self-absorbed lives and made to testify in court about their personal lives. Much of the film is presented asflashbacks.

At a truck stop in Indiana on the night of January 20th, 1973film professor Albert Brodsky is hitchhiking across the country, where he gets picked up by Lucy van Patten, a woman who has ambitions of writing books, particularly for children, but is repressed by her fiancé "Bink", a gruff Navy man, and is depressed about being relegated to the life of a military wife. Through getting to know Albert, Lucy loosens her inhibitions, breaks off her engagement to Bink, and marries Albert shortly afterwards.

The couple moves to California, where Albert attaches himself to a famed Hollywood producer, who entrusts him to film a romantic script the producer has kept shelved for a long time. When Albert suffers from writer's block about the romance, Lucy aids him with her writing skills. The film becomes a box office hit, but cracks are forming in Albert and Lucy's marriage, particularly since Albert was slow to credit Lucy for the screenplay and he is frequently traveling to places such as Cannes, France, while leaving his daughter in the care of Lucy, or more often Maria, their maid. When Albert sees a young woman named Blake Chandler working at a hot dog stand, he takes her home and casts her in his next movie, which becomes a moderate success. When Lucy sees signs that Albert is interested in Blake for more than just acting, she divorces him, further troubling Casey. Albert ensures that Lucy gets custody of Casey, while he lives in a Hollywood mansion with Blake.

A turning point occurs when Lucy, angered both at Albert's procrastination in paying child support and at the sight of a sloppy, overweight woman in a supermarket buying the same comfort food as she is, hurries home and channels her anger into writing a tell-all novel. Meanwhile, Albert's producers are warning him not to attempt his musical remake of Gone with the Windcalled Atlanta. Albert ignores their advice though, and his budget for the picture skyrockets, mainly because of his own perfectionist attitude and Blake's diva-like behavior on set. Atlantabecomes an embarrassing box office bomb, costing Albert any assignments in Hollywood and causing Blake to desert him. Meanwhile, Lucy's novel becomes a runaway success, allowing her to buy and move into Albert's former mansion, and begins to morph into a diva.

There is a final confrontation in which Albert and Lucy quarrel in front of Casey about her custody, which degenerates into a literal tug of war with each parent pulling on one of Casey's arms, ignoring her pained protests. That is the final straw for Casey, who then decides to divorce both her parents.

The film then returns to the courtroom, where Casey gives testimony that just because two parents no longer love each other, that does not give them the right to ignore their children.

The film ends with both Lucy and Albert arriving for visitation with Casey at the same time by mistake, and deciding to go out to eat at a family restaurant, suggesting there is now a more peaceful, though decidedly bittersweet, relationship among the three.

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Golden Globe Awards[edit]Edit

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