A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this isn't the typical sweet Sandra Bullock film. Sandra's character Gwen is an alcoholic undergoing rehab. The film includes themes of addiction, suicide, loss, self-hatred and infidelity. Gwen's behavior is reprehensible before she commits herself to getting better. The most upsetting is the suicide death of a main character that Gwen could have helped prevent. Two rehab residents are seen (briefly) in the midst of sexual encounters, but there is no nudity.
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What's the story?
Gwen (Sandra Bullock) is the child of an alcoholic. Her mother has bequeathed her the disease, along with the philosophy "If you're not having fun, what's the point?" It's only after she falls from a tree trying to retrieve some pills she had tossed from her window that she begins to grasp the severity of her problem. With the (begrudging) help of her fellow group therapy patients, Gwen starts to confront the toll her addiction has taken on herself and her friends and family. Although the reconciliation between Gwen and her newlywed sister is awfully hasty, the movie demonstrates the betrayal and frustration that loved ones suffer as a result of chemical dependencies. Lily (Elizabeth Perkins) makes it clear that she is overwhelmed with disgust and rage at Gwen's lack of self-control. When she recounts the offensive toast that crowned Gwen's assault on her wedding, you will have a hard time not cringing yourself. Although Gwen is a sympathetic character, the movie doesn't let her off easily.
Is it any good?
Sandra Bullock sheds her good-girl image with this engaging dramatic comedy written by Susannah Grant (who also penned Erin Brockovich). As the addict Gwen, Bullock is alternately defensive and painfully vulnerable. While every step is a tough one, the movie manages to bring a lot of humor to her plight.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: April 14, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: September 19, 2000
- Cast: Dominic West, Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen
- Director: Betty Thomas
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature thematic elements involving substance abuse, language and some sensuality.
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