A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The obvious message is that life is definitely worth living, no matter how difficult, dire, or desperate your circumstances might seem. The movie explores how depression and personal tragedy are temporary and that, with encouragement and support, life can and will get better and more satisfying.
Positive Role Models
The four main characters help one another overcome their depression, get counseling, and choose life instead of suicide.
Violence & Scariness
The movie's plot revolves around four strangers who all meet as they attempt (but fail) to commit suicide. Later a young woman is rushed to the hospital because of an overdose.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Partial nudity in a clinical way: A young woman shows her behind in a hospital gown. J.J. sleeps with a woman the same night he meets her while on vacation. Martin admits he had an affair with a 15-year-old he thought was 25, and he's referred to as a "perv," "pervert," and "pedo" (short for "pedophile"). Jess tells someone she had hoped to shag him.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Frequent use of strong language (particularly by Jess), including "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," some British slang, and other expletives.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Almost everyone has an iPhone and a Macbook.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The "Topper's House Four" all drink quite a bit -- to the point of getting drunk -- while on holiday together in Spain. The next day, the foursome discusses having a hangover. They also drink more casually while out together on other occasions. Martin smokes cigars, and one character accidentally overdoses but survives, while her ex is clearly on party drugs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Long Way Down is a dark comedy about four strangers who postpone their suicide attempts after meeting on the night they originally wanted to end their lives. Based on English author Nick Hornby's (About a Boy, High Fidelity) 2005 book, the movie deals with heavy themes (depression, loneliness, isolation) that are sometimes portrayed as humorous and other times as heartbreaking. One of the characters swears like a sailor ("f--king"), and there's a one-night stand, a naked behind (glimpsed when a character is in a hospital gown), a non-fatal drug overdose, and some serious drinking. But the message, of course, is that life, no matter how painful it might temporarily be, is still worth living. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Hornby's books have mostly translated into funny and poignant films like About a Boy and High Fidelity, so perhaps it was inevitable for one of his novels to seriously falter on the big screen. The cast of A Long Way Down is surprisingly stellar, but the characters are still unbelievable and difficult to relate with, except possibly for Paul's wannabe rocker J.J., who's more generally depressed than suffering from a particular tragedy. As Maureen, Collette, like Paul, exudes a quiet, pervasive sadness that's in sharp contrast to Poots' manic, potty-mouthed Jess and Brosnan's narcissistic and shallow Martin.
The screenplay and the direction are so uneven that they make the movie seem more like episodes of a zany TV dramedy patched together than a seamless story about four lonely souls who are desperate for connection and hope. The book, one would hope, fills in the holes that the movie glosses over, but on the screen, even the four points of view and narration don't truly invest the audience in the characters' lives. There are occasional funny moments and a predictable romance, but overall the tone and the execution fall flat.
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.