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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film is centered around grief and tragedy. By confronting their grief, characters show courage and a willingness to come to terms with their past as well as previous relationships. The benefit of therapy is also depicted.
Positive Role Models
Julie is a strong-willed young woman, who knows exactly what she wants. She's ambitious, and is striving to make a career for herself in an otherwise male-dominated industry, and to do so on her own terms. She uses filmmaking as a means of therapy, telling her story through her art to help find closure and confront her past, and understand the passing of her ex-partner. She is flawed and makes mistakes, but that only makes her feel more relatable.
It's a female-led film, with a White, strong-willed woman at its center. She shows great determination to succeed in a male-dominated industry, although it's acknowledged that she does come from a wealthy and privileged background. Having suffered a tragedy in her personal life, she goes to see a professional therapist. There are number of prominent supporting characters from different backgrounds and ethnicities.
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Violence & Scariness
There are several references to suicide. In a staged performance as part of a production, a character is killed. A character is seen vomiting.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
While in bed, after one character informs another that they are on their period, they perform oral sex on them. When they kiss, blood is seen on their mouth, as well as on the sheets.
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The swearing is infrequent but does include the word "f--k." In one scene, a character loses their temper and says the word "f--k" several times over.
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Products & Purchases
The main family are very wealthy. But they are also depicted as being unhappy.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol throughout, at social gatherings like house parties and in pubs. Nearly everyone smokes in the film, sometimes smoking two cigarettes at a time. The central character does tell their parent off for smoking, acknowledging it to be bad for their health. There are references to drugs, in particular heroin.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Souvenir: Part II is a sensitive British drama about grief with some strong language and scenes of a sexual nature. Set in 1980s London, it is a follow-up to the 2019 film and finds Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) trying to come to terms with the death of her ex-boyfriend. Julie finds her most therapeutic way of finding closure is through filmmaking and in that sense the movie celebrates the cathartic nature of art. Julie is strong-willed and headstrong. She is ambitious, but vitally flawed, making for a realistic portrayal. There are a number of suicide references and discussions about drug addition, in particular heroin. There is one graphic sexual scene, whereby a character performs oral sex on another and subsequently kisses his lover, leaving her period blood on her face and sheets. The swearing is infrequent, but there are several uses of the word "f--k," including one scene where it's used repeatedly. Characters smoke and drink alcohol freely and throughout, though Julie does tell off her mother, Rosalind (played by Swinton Byrne's real-life mother, Tilda Swinton), for smoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This worthy follow-up to writer and director Joanna Hogg's 2019 movie, cements her as one of the most impressive voices in contemporary British cinema. The Souvenir: Part II is a distinctly personal, semi-autobiographical affair. It is almost overwhelming in how intelligently devised it is. Wickedly meta, the movie plays on the conventions of traditional storytelling. Julie -- played once again by the impressive Swinton Byrne -- effectively retells the story from part one of the The Souvenir through her student filmmaking project. As such, the movie works as a film about grief, but also as a really shrewd insight into the world of filmmaking and filmmakers.
Hogg must also be commended for bringing out such an array of subtle and naturalistic performances, each character so searingly authentic. None more so than Swinton Byrne's real-life mother, Tilda Swinton, who reprises her role as Julie's mother, Rosalind. Then there's the brilliant character of Patrick, again hilariously portrayed by Richard Ayoade. A firm highlight from the first film, his inclusion -- which is lengthier and even funnier than what came before -- certainly feels like Hogg was giving the fans what they wanted. As a fan, all we can say here is thank you. Now give that man a spin-off.
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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.