A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up is a romantic dramedy about two New York City 30-somethings (she's a single mom of two, he's a commitment-phobic bachelor) who get pregnant after a fateful, drunken blind date. Starring Christina Ricci and Hamish Linklater, the movie is definitely geared toward adults and doesn't hold obvious appeal for teens. Expect frequent strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," etc.) and several love scenes. None involve more than partial nudity along the lines of bare backs and legs and a man's chest, but it's clear that they're having sex. A couple of verbal fights between adults include hurtful insults. The story portrays the challenges of creating a blended family and incorporating a new partner into a divorced parent's life.
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What's the story?
In 10 THINGS WE SHOULD DO BEFORE WE BREAK UP, divorced New York City mom of two Abigail (Christina Ricci) is inadvertently set up for a blind date with Benjamin (Hamish Linklater). They get drunk, and she spends the night with him, only to discover more than a month later that she's pregnant. Abigail confronts Ben to explain that she's not sure whether or not to go ahead with the pregnancy and that she doesn't expect anything from him. But he decides he's all in and becomes fully involved, despite his self-absorbed personality and spotty past with monogamy. Ben even gets to know Abigail's kids and seems ready to commit. Meanwhile, Abigail's best friend, Kate (Lindsay Broad), thinks Abigail is making a huge mistake and should terminate the pregnancy, while Benjamin's ex-girlfriend (Katia Winter) makes it clear that she wants him back, regardless of his pregnant new girlfriend.
Is it any good?
This short, surprisingly affecting relationship dramedy explores the challenges of attempting a blended family that involves a womanizing bachelor and a cautious divorced mom. Ricci and Linklater are well cast and believable in their roles, and they sell viewers on the titular idea (like kissing -- and just kissing -- to make up, eating breakfast in bed, etc.). There's a tender moment in which Abigail, Benjamin, and the two kids all cuddle together in bed for a family movie night and Benjamin whispers "I had no idea it could be like this ... love, family, and commitment. This is everything I've ever wanted." Audiences will cheer for the not-so-young couple to have truly found a lasting kind of love.
But writer-director Galt Niederhoffer isn't interested in what's easy, predictable, or romantic. 10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up is about the complicated nature of love, parenting, and relationships. It's heartbreaking at times to see the sweet ups and bitter downs of Abigail and Benjamin's couplehood. And while it's not nearly as moving or memorable as Marriage Story, it has similarly uncomfortable-to-watch arguments that are full of ugly truths ("you're a scary drunk" / "yeah, well, you're a boring sober person") and hurtful proclamations that can't ever be taken back. Strangely satisfying (if not romantic), this is ultimately a movie about Abigail, whose truest love is for her children.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how sex and romance are depicted in 10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up. Why are conversations about consent and birth control important? What do you think about Abigail and Benjamin's relationship?
What do you think about the decisions Abigail and Benjamin make? Why does Abigail's best friend insist she's not thinking clearly about the pregnancy? What does being pro-choice mean to you?
Is the outcome of the movie what you expected? How does the story relate to the title?
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