A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Friendship is an active, recurring choice to say "you matter to me."
Positive Role Models
While Wren is anything but a role model at the beginning, by the end she demonstrates ways to atone and give of herself (sometimes literally) to demonstrate her remorse. Her friends are loving, supportive, thoughtful. As individuals, they're also impressive: an involved mom, a successful businesswoman, an endurance athlete. As busy as their lives are, when they learn that their friend needs them, they show up. Other characters show compassion and support when they know someone is sick and needs help. A friend Wren meets at a cancer support group teaches her empathy.
Made by a female writer-director, the film centers on women's experiences and showcases the power of female friendship. Main character is a White woman; of her three friends, two are White and one is played by bisexual Chinese American actor Sherry Cola. A Black actor playing a cancer patient shows emotional vulnerability and teaches empathy. The film is a mixed bag when it comes to portraying serious illness. The main character lies about being sick (pretending illness/disability is a cliché), but characters who are genuinely ill are portrayed sensitively/with empathy.
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Violence & Scariness
All-out bar fight, which has consequences. A flying object accidentally smacks a child in the face.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Humorous double entendres/sexual references. Sarcastic joke about "getting some D." Brief glimpse of an affectionate couple.
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Strong language throughout, including: "a--hole," "bitch," "clit," "c--t," "crap," "damn," "dildo," "goddamn," "hell," "s--t," and regular use of "f--k." Insensitive/ableist comments like "you look homeless" and "you're crazy." "Christ!" used as an exclamation.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Smoking cigarettes and pot. Vaping. Heavy drinking, including drunkenness. The main character lights alcohol on fire while it's in her mouth (meant to look cool). Reference to hallucinogenics.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sick Girl is a female-driven comedy about the challenge of keeping friendships close as adults. Main character Wren (Nina Dobrev) has been a big partier since high school, while her friends have transitioned into their 30s with spouses, babies, and careers. In order to keep their attention, she lies about having cancer. The ensuing support of her friends and family members is a demonstration of the idea that the people who love us will be there when we need them the most. Wren also gets lessons in empathy from a genuine cancer patient (Brandon Mychal Smith), who shows her how damaging it is to lie about something so devastating. Expect heavy drinking, including a scene at a club when Wren swigs alcohol and then lights it on fire while it's in her mouth (you just know some teen somewhere is going to try to imitate it). Characters also smoke cigarettes and marijuana (perhaps medical, perhaps not), and there's a big bar fight with punches and shoves. Strong language throughout includes "bitch," "c--t," "s--t," "f--k," and more. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
First-time writer-director Jennifer Cram starts out by building a castle of debauchery but bulldozes it quickly into desperation: What wouldn't we do to keep our best-friends-forever friendships as close and fun as they were in our school days? In Wren's case, she takes it too far, to a place that's so wrong, it's actually extremely insensitive.
Lying about cancer may be too much for some viewers, except for one thing: The central quartet of friends is hilarious together. Cram's day job is in casting, and she proves her mettle, as this cast sings. The four friends are so funny and play off each other so perfectly that they rival the iconic gal pals from Sex and the City and Girls. The film never suggests that Wren's lie isn't the lowest of the low, but compassion rides high, and Sick Girl's ultimate message about what friendship really means is lovely.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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