A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Rainy Day in New York is a Woody Allen romcom that shines a light on people's flaws and bad habits -- in a knowing, overtly cinematic way. There's infidelity among the characters -- including leads Gatsby (Timothée Chalamet) and Ashleigh (Elle Fanning) -- with various roles and relationships intertwining. No character is loyal to anybody else, and all the relationships depicted lack respect. That said, the movie does celebrate the notion of finding the right person and not settling for anything less. The movie's comforting, cinematic tone detracts from the severity of the characters' actions, and while main characters gamble, smoke both cigarettes and pot, and drink frequently, all of these vices are addressed and recognized for their destructive nature. There's no nudity, although a sexual encounter does lead to Ashleigh stripping down to her underwear. Expect occasional sex references, including a joke about oral sex and a discussion about sexual positions -- as well as use of the word "bulls--t." Note: The movie has struggled to find a U.S. distributor due to controversy surrounding Allen, although it is available in some countries, including the U.K.
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What's the story?
A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK tells the story of young, loved-up couple Gatsby (Timothée Chalamet) and Ashleigh (Elle Fanning), who embark on a weekend in New York. When Ashleigh is handed her biggest assignment for the school paper -- to interview esteemed Hollywood director Roland Pollard (Liev Schreiber) -- the couple go expecting romance and sightseeing. But neither come easily as Ashleigh finds herself chasing a story that sends her down an unexpected path.
Is it any good?
This romcom is, above anything else, incredibly true to its creator Woody Allen -- enriched with his familiar use of witty, self-deprecating language and romantic flair. The problem is that A Rainy Day in New York feels like a pastiche of his work, lacking in any real identity of its own. Because Allen writes in his own voice, the acting often feels imitative of his style and performance. Chalamet, in particular, falls into this category. It's almost as if he's doing an impression of the director, rather than serving the character at hand. It's an ensemble piece, starring the likes of Selena Gomez and Jude Law alongside Chalamet and Fanning, but regrettably very few actors come out with much credit, each given such contrived dialogue to work with.
Considering this comes from the director who made Manhattan, Allen's somehow even made New York seem quite bleak and uninviting. That said there is the occasional magical, charming moment, though overall the movie feels tired and just too self-aware. But with a lead character called "Gatsby," what did we honestly expect?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how sex and relationships are portrayed in A Rainy Day in New York. Are the characters respectful to each other? What do you think is needed to make a relationship work? Parents, talk to your kids about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
Ashleigh shows great determination in pursuing her ambition to be a journalist. In the midst of fake news, how important is it that journalism is protected today? How to spot fake news (and teach kids to be media-savvy).
How did this movie compare to others by Woody Allen?
- In theaters: October 9, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: November 10, 2020
- Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Liev Schreiber
- Director: Woody Allen
- Studio: Signature Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Adventures
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature suggestive content, some drug use, smoking, language and partial nudity
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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