A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Anything follows a recent widower (John Carroll Lynch) who falls in love with a transgender prostitute (Matt Bomer). Despite the premise, it's not particularly erotic or explicit. Sex is definitely discussed (and there's a non-graphic scene of an act of prostitution taking place in a car), but it isn't a huge emphasis of the film -- it's really all about love transcending boundaries and expectations. Expect to see drug use (pills and heroin) -- as well as unpleasant withdrawal symptoms -- and drinking. There's also quite a bit of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," etc.), and a suicide attempt takes place just off camera.
What's the story?
ANYTHING follows Early (John Carroll Lynch), a 55-year-old recent widower from Missouri who relocates to Hollywood to live near (but not too near) his caring sister, Laurette (Maura Tierney), and her family. The mild-mannered new Angeleno overcomes his culture shock quickly and befriends beautiful, heroin-addicted musician Brianna (Margot Bingham), as well as pill-popping, transgender sex worker Freda (Matt Bomer). Much to their surprise, Early and Freda find themselves drawn to each other.
Is it any good?
This drama is well-meaning and well-acted, and it has a very positive message, but it doesn't set its hook deeply. Longtime character actor Lynch beautifully carries Anything with his settled, believably open performance. In small roles as Early's brother-in-law and nephew, respectively, Christopher Thornton and Tanner Buchanan read as genuinely compassionate. And Tierney delivers as Early's loving but uptight sister, Laurette.
The film's theme of love beyond boundaries (gender, orientation, personal history, whatever) is certainly worthy. But the central romance is less convincing than, say, the one in Happy, Texas or, certainly, the blazing passion of Call Me by Your Name. The key moments of falling for each other are given short shrift, reduced to a montage (a sequence in which Early helps Freda through withdrawal builds their bond, but not sufficiently to sell their budding romance). This should be a monumental moment for both, a sea change for Early and a very difficult leap of faith for Freda. For some reason, those stakes don't quite play, though Bomer does introduce some self-doubt to the equation. Ultimately, Anything feels like a film you wanted to like more.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how transgender characters are typically portrayed in the media. Does the depiction in Anything seem realistic? Sympathetic?
How does the film deal with sex? Is it gratuitous or respectful? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How does the film address or present the subject of suicide? How does that topic tie into the larger issue of mental health?
Did it surprise you that Early would be open to a relationship with Freda? Why or why not?
For kids who love drama and romance
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.