With a presidential election scheduled in 2012, there will be much said about “family values.” Friday Night Flicks, the Belfast Free Library’s free movie series, will start the year with three films that focus on the often-muddled state of the American family. All of the films will be presented in the Abbott Room of the library, 106 High St., at 7 p.m.

Beginning the series on Jan. 6 will be Barry Levinson’s 1990 film “Avalon.” Levinson based this poignant, endearing film on his own family history. Beginning in 1900, it is the story of one family’s assimilation into American life and the changes caused by the modern world. Featuring a fine ensemble cast, “Avalon” was nominated for four Academy Awards.

Tolstoy said “Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in it’s own way.” The Tenenbaums are the uniquely dysfunctional family featured in Wes Anderson’s dark comedy “The Royal Tenenbaums,” showing on Jan. 13. Gene Hackman gives his last great performance in a role written specifically for him, and the rest of the all-star cast is terrific as well.

In “The Squid and the Whale,” Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels portray a couple in the midst of a bitter divorce, but the focus of this film is on how the break up affects their two sons, played by Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline. Noah Baumbach’s screenplay was chosen as the best of 2005 by many critics’ organizations. The film will be shown on Jan. 27.

For more information, call the library at 338-3884, ext. 10 or visit belfastlibrary.org.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.