A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that All at Once is a dramedy about a man who raises his best friend's two daughters after the friend dies in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. A burning and collapsing tower is briefly shown, and at the end is a dedication to all who lost their lives due to those events. There's a lot of strong language, including "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." Adults are frequently seen drinking, once or twice to excess. Risky teen behavior includes drinking, smoking tobacco and marijuana, taking an unknown pill, and running away. Sex is implied several times by two people being in bed together unclothed from the waist up, but no sensitive body parts are shown. Kissing and caressing are shown a few times. Mild violence includes sisters slapping each other's arms, and resulting trauma and grief after the events of September 11, 2001.
What's the story?
ALL AT ONCE, James Maxwell (Jon Abrahams) goes from being an up-and-coming New York City artist to being a dad to his best friend's two young daughters after the friend dies at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Now, over 10 years later, oldest daughter Alexis (Sasha Frolova) is in full-tilt, teen-rebellion mode while the younger Grace (Nicole Elizabeth Berger) is becoming an accomplished pianist. When James loses his teaching job, he and the girls have to move back to James' hometown of Buffalo, New York. Can the girls get over their resentment of leaving Manhattan? Can James find a way to enjoy life in the town he once couldn't wait to leave behind? And can the three of them find a way to move forward as a family?
Is it any good?
Jon Abrahams assembled a charismatic and attractive cast into this dramedy that gives us some mild laughs but never quite finds its real heart. The storytelling takes some odd shortcuts and lingers a bit too long on areas that don't support a strong, unifying theme. But there's enough to enjoy along the way, and All at Once ends on enough of an upbeat note to make it an OK choice for a movie night with older teens and up.
Teens will definitely relate to Alexis' rebelliousness and how annoying she finds both James and Grace. Fortunately they'll also see the negative consequences of her worst behavior, and all ages can certainly empathize with how the loss of her parents continues to affect her.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the strong language in All at Once. Is it realistic? Is it a big deal? Why or why not?
Is the depiction of drinking and drug use realistic or problematic in any way? What negative consequences are shown? Are they accurate or realistic?
Do your parents or relatives remember the attack on the World Trade Center? What do you know about it? How did it affect you, your family, friends, and community?
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