What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie includes frequent sexual references and some images. While the latter tend to be brief and comic (a woman who works as a maid dresses up as an ooh-la-la French maid to entertain her boyfriend), the language is explicit, frequent, and usually witty, a means for the women characters to express their frustrations and desires (dialogue includes more than 20 f-words, usually used to describe sex). Some characters say cruel or gossipy things to others (a husband tells his wife she has a "fat ass," some friends say one woman's husband is "gay"). Characters drink wine, beer, and liquor in social situations; Olivia smokes pot in her bedroom and with her boyfriend. Olivia repeatedly calls her ex, a married man.
What's the story?
FRIENDS WITH MONEY is a look at women's friendships. As the title suggests, the primary complicating element in these friendships is money. "Poor Olivia" (Jennifer Aniston), as her friends call her, is actually poor, at least compared to them. She's also single and working as a maid, both life developments that make them worry about her. Her friends, Christine (Catherine Keener), Franny (Joan Cusack), and Jane (Frances McDormand), though married and well-off, are not without problems of their own.
Is it any good?
Like Nicole Holofcener's first two films, Walking and Talking and Lovely & Amazing, Friends with Money treats its characters with respect and in detail. While the movie mostly takes the women characters' perspectives, it's not to judge men or anyone else, but to examine that very idea, that perspective is limited, and it's also what you've got. The several experiences fit in something like a narrative structure, but not quite. Scenes cut from one woman to another, their stories expanding and commenting on one another, leaving pieces and sometimes coming together.
Each story asks viewers to rethink their assumptions. The friends do come to understand and cherish one another, but not without troubles along the way. The friends don't actually resolve all their differences or frustrations. But that is the beauty of Friends with Money. While the final plot contrivance that brings Olivia round to having money is unconvincing, it might also be a critique of movie-style happy endings. Or maybe not.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the ways that money affects relationships: How does it create expectations, tensions, and insecurities? How does Olivia's resistance to making or having lots of money like her friends make her an object of pity or concern? How do the women provide support for each other even when they might be mad at each other? How do they cope with depression or disappointment?