Parents' Guide to

State and Main

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Intriguing characters, good movie for older teens.

Movie PG-13 2000 105 minutes
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Writer/director David Mamet clearly relishes the chance to skewer some of the people he has met on his previous movies, but it is done with a light, even romantic, touch. In one of the movie's funniest scenes, Mamet turns the most well-established conventions of farce upside down as, for once, a character behaves sensibly and trusts another character instead of believing the circumstantial evidence. Then, just to make sure we don't take anything for granted, he has another character do the same thing and be completely wrong.

Mamet does not make this a story of city slickers taking advantage of country yokels or of crafty country people triumphing over the corrupt city folks. Both sides have a range of characters with a range of motivations and moral compasses. Joe keeps saying that his movie is about purity and second chances. So is this one, with a lulu of a second chance for one character who really needs it. Consistent with Mamet's duality throughout the movie, other characters who do not deserve second chances get them, but those are probably just "a second chance to make the same mistake again."

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