By Michael Ordona,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Drug use, strong language in well-meaning love story.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Love has no boundaries. The movie is all about healing and being open to love.
Positive Role Models
Several family members show kindness, openness when faced with main character's surprising (to them) romantic choice. Main character suffers a terrible blow that makes him want to kill himself, but learns to find beauty and hope again, to have something to live for. A transgender sex worker is portrayed as a multidimensional person with feelings, human flaws.
Violence & Scariness
A character attempts suicide in the bathtub (the cutting isn't shown); another character shows evidence of her own suicide attempt.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One character briefly shown participating in an act of prostitution in a car (no nudity). Discussion of that job, but nothing explicit. Direct questioning of just how sexual the main relationship has become. Discussion of a teen relationship that turns sexual.
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Fairly frequent strong language includes "f--k" and its variants, plus "s--t," "ass," "hell," "bitch," and "c--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One character addicted to pills, others to heroin. In one scary scene, main character almost takes heroin at another's urging. Main character drinks, combining booze with Xanax tablets. Unpleasant withdrawal sequence includes vomiting, screaming, etc. Drinking at a dinner party.
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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.
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Where to Watch
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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 are drinking and drug use portrayed? Are there realistic consequences? Why is that important?
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?
- In theaters: May 11, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: July 31, 2018
- Cast: John Carroll Lynch, Matt Bomer, Maura Tierney
- Director: Timothy McNeil
- Studio: Paladin
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language throughout, sexual references and some drug material
- Last updated: October 14, 2022
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