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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The main character spends her time trying to figure out how to move on from a terrible accident, dealing with guilt and hopelessness, as well as small moments of hope. She finds her best chance through compassion and selflessness.
Positive Role Models
Rhoda makes a huge mistake -- drunk driving and killing a mother and child -- for which she cannot forgive herself; she spends four years in prison as well. For these reasons, she can't be considered a great role model, even though she works to make a positive new life for herself. She alternates between small moments of hope and big moments of hopelessness, but she does begin to find that compassion and selflessness have their rewards.
Violence & Scariness
The movie begins with a terrible car crash with blood and dead bodies (including the body of a young boy). The main character tries to kill herself. Some shouting and arguing, and, in one scene, a man briefly tries to choke a woman. A secondary character is seen in the hospital, the result of having poured bleach in his ears.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The main characters have sex, but no nudity is shown. Brief kissing between minor characters. The main character appears semi-nude when she tries to commit suicide, but only her rear end is really visible.
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"My God" (as an exclamation).
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Products & Purchases
The main character does a Google search and almost buys a package of Gummi Bears.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character gets into a serious drunk driving accident, though she's not shown to have a drinking problem. She drinks wine later in the film. The movie begins at a party, with brief flashes of teens drinking (and possibly doing drugs). Another major character seems to be drunk much of the time, though he's not seen drinking; viewers see half-empty bottles around his house. A teen boy mentions "getting high."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this downbeat, low-budget indie drama (with sci-fi undertones) revolves around a severe drunk-driving accident and the two survivors' ensuing attempts to get through life. There's some teen drinking, as well as sporadic drinking throughout and mentions/brief images of drugs. The central car crash has some graphic images, with blood and dead bodies (including the body of a little boy); viewers can also expect threats, yelling, a suicide attempt, and a brief attempted choking. There's one sex scene (no nudity), and one scene in which the main character lies naked in the snow (only her rear end is shown). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Marling and director Mike Cahill teamed up to write this screenplay, cleverly weaving a science-fiction element -- the concept of an alternate earth -- into the drama. That idea works beautifully, and it adds new layers of questions about who we are, our destiny, etc. This is most welcome, since the movie's main plot is pretty creaky. Like the laziest of Hollywood romantic comedies, it's based on the stretching of a lie. (Rhoda must convince John that she's just a cleaning lady rather than the driver who killed his family.)
Overall, the film's genuinely touching side overpowers the hackneyed stuff. Aside from the lofty, thoughtful subtext surrounding the drama, Cahill and Marling zoom in for a nicely focused set of characters and performances. Marling is in nearly every shot, and she's magnetic, conveying a lifetime's worth of hurt and beauty. Likewise, Kumar Pallana -- best known for his supporting roles in Wes Anderson's films -- provides some small, lovely, thoughtful moments.
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.