All at Once

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
All at Once Movie Poster Image
Dramedy has lots of swearing and risky teen behavior.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Everyone makes mistakes, but instead of beating yourself up about it when you do, learn to make better choices and try not to make the same mistake again. Resentment only hurts yourself, so don't hold on to it. Although it's often difficult, change is good; just be patient and allow some time to adjust.

Positive Role Models & Representations

James sacrifices his own dreams to raise his best friend's two daughters after the friend dies. He definitely makes mistakes, usually by saying things he doesn't really mean, but he loves the girls, would do anything for them. Alexis models all the downsides of teen years: bad attitude, sneaking out at night, drinking, taking a pill at a party without knowing what it is, running away. Grace is a good model of a tween who's well behaved and loves piano but has other interests too. Bridget is patient and supportive but sticks up for herself when she needs to. James' family and friends are loyal, patient, supportive.


One of the World Trade Center towers is shown on TV as it starts to collapse. Sisters slap each other in the arm a few times. James throws a coffee cup in anger. Joking reference played for comedy about beating children, being kidnapped at gunpoint, and miming shooting someone in the back several times with what looks like an ear of corn.


A man walks in to find two teens in bed; a bare leg, male torso, and female in bra are briefly shown. Arms and legs caressing are revealed to be two men in bed, covered from the waist down and bare from the waist up. A teen boy and girl in a bedroom; the boy puts on pants, the girl stays in bed with a bra on. Some kissing between adults cuts to the couple waking up in bed together in the morning. Nudity is implied but no sensitive parts are shown. Teens kiss and make out a few times at parties.


"F--k" and variations, "bitch," "s--t," "a--hole," "hell," middle-finger gesture, "balls," "bulls--t," "motherf----r," "Jesus Christ" as an exclamation, and "goddamn." Some verbal hostility and name-calling like "stupid."


A few action movies, especially starring Sylvester Stallone, mentioned. Chevy logo on a car prominently but briefly shown. iPad mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of adult drinking socially. A few times are to excess, hangovers are implied. Several scenes in bars. Teens at parties with beer bottles, red Solo cups. Smoking; cigarettes, joints, and a cigar. At a party, a teen accepts a pill, shrugs, and takes it, implying she doesn't know what it is. Her hallucinations are briefly shown, and there are consequences when her little sister is injured, she has a heated argument, and gets grounded. Some speculation about snorting cocaine. Mention that a teen's room reeks of cigarettes.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjKinsley1 May 5, 2019


I really like this a lot. I don't think it's a true story but it's very relatable.
Adult Written byKathy M. June 6, 2018

Big disappointment

This movie is not a tribute to those lost on 9-11, very disappointed. Unnecessary cussing, too much sexual innuendo and movie just never got any better,

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

Themes & Topics

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