Nuanced representations of domestic abuse on-screen

Domestic abuse has long been represented on our screens, but much of the time fails to capture its multi-dimensional nature and all its subtleties. This is why we have put together a short list of recommendations of nuanced on-screen representations of domestic abuse to watch, which explore how we act and react, feel and numb, defend and deny, blame and doubt, question and struggle, love and fear.

Trigger Warning: Domestic Abuse – please take great care when watching these. While these familiar portrayals can be difficult to watch for some of us, they also help validate our experiences.


A beautifully tender, nuanced portrait of a young mother struggling through hurdle after hurdle to provide stability for her child after fleeing her abusive partner. The attention to detail, the representation of emotional and post separation abuse, and the use of perspective make it very important TV (on Netlix).

Big Little Lies

A powerful portrayal of how trauma affects the psyche of all those involved, of how the cycle of abuse is bolstered not just by the perpetrator but those around us too (on Prime Video).

I Am Nicola

A slow, intimate and very relatable portrayal of the subtleties of emotional manipulation and coercive control (on All 4).

A Star is Born

While this film is widely described as a romance, it is a portrayal of power, control and emotional abuse which captures what it’s like to be in love with someone who slowly chips away at your confidence and independence (on Prime Video).

Angela Black

A psychological thriller depicting the lengths a perpetrator will go to to control, intimidate and degrade his victim (on ITV).

Is This Coercive Control?

This isn’t drama, it’s documentary and it shines a bright light on the myths and misconceptions about the most rampant form of domestic abuse (on BBC iPlayer).