A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Though suicide is one of the movie's main themes, it doesn't really discuss the repercussions of the act except to say: "Don't do it. Life is better."
Positive Role Models
These are realistically human/flawed characters in their early 30s; they make mistakes, but they also forgive each other and talk things through. They rush to the side of their friend when he needs them most, and their friendship remains strong after everything is said and done. That said, they do consume a lot of alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes.
Violence & Scariness
One of the movie's main subjects is suicide. A character climbs into the bathtub fully clothed and sends a tweet. He's next shown returning from the hospital with bandages on his wrists. The bathroom, with blood on the tub and on the floor, is shown. There's a minor car crash, and characters frequently argue, although they remain good friends. One of the characters works for a suicide hotline.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No nudity is shown, but characters are shown kissing and are heard having sex. Characters sometimes try to kiss people who aren't their regular partners, though these kisses are often rebuffed. One woman may be pregnant; she explains to her friend that she's "late."
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Several uses of "f--k" and "a--hole" and a few uses of "s--t"/"bulls--t" and "ass," plus a use of "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation).
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Products & Purchases
Familiar beer labels are briefly seen, and characters sometimes use their mobile devices, though brand names aren't really shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
During a weekend with friends, characters frequently drink wine or beer, and most smoke pot at least once. Some of the characters are shown smoking cigarettes. Two of the characters take prescription anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that About Alex is an ensemble drama about characters in their early 30s who gather together when one of their friends attempts suicide. Though suicide is a main topic of the movie, it's not really discussed in any depth except to say that it's a bad idea. But some blood is shown in a bathroom where the character made his attempt. Language is quite strong, with words like "f--k," "bulls--t," and "a--hole" used throughout. Characters are heard having sex, and sex is discussed, though there's no nudity. Viewers see characters kissing, and occasionally characters try to kiss people who aren't their partners (these attempts are usually rebuffed). Characters also smoke pot and drink a good deal of alcohol, and some of the characters smoke cigarettes. Older teens may be interested in adopting this as their generation's The Big Chill or The Breakfast Club. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
ABOUT ALEX is inspiring, even if you're not of this specific generation. This film is the writing and directing debut of Jesse Zwick, the son of Oscar favorite Edward Zwick (Glory, etc.). His ensemble drama is a throwback to many other movies, notably The Big Chill and The Breakfast Club, as well as the more recent I Melt with You and 10 Years. It has enough youthful exuberance -- and naïvete -- to assume that it's saying something new. (Although, at one point, a character opines, "this is just like one of those '80s movies!")
But although About Alex doesn't really have a single fresh idea or genuine surprise, the characters actually do come to life and begin to exhibit their own amiable personalities. Actors like Plaza bring a special blend of intelligence, humor, and emotional vulnerability to their roles. Their relationships are complex, without any easy solutions, and decisions aren't easy. Yet characters continue to stumble forward, choosing hope over failure.
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.