Are You Here

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Are You Here Movie Poster Image
Flawed friendship dramedy has plenty of drugs, some sex.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

True friendship is vital, but, as one character says, it's rare to find it among adults, so it must be nurtured.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Steve and Ben have been best friends since childhood and truly care about other. But they're also dysfunctional together, supporting each other's flaws and enabling self-destructive behavior. They both have to grow up at the same time in order to see both their own issues and the issues in their relationship.

Violence

Some bickering between friends and family members. A man upsets a dining table in a fit of pique. One scene shows a man slaughtering a live chicken.

Sex

One character is a reckless womanizer who tries to bed almost anyone, including co-workers, strangers, and grieving widows. He's a regular with prostitutes and often peers out the window at a female neighbor when she's changing clothes. A few scenes show nude women, and one long sequence includes a naked man seen from behind. Also some kissing and suggestions of sexual activity about to happen.

Language

Frequent profanity, including everything from "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole" to "tw-t," "bitch," and "d--k."

Consumerism

Some beer brands are shown on camera, including Bud Light.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The two main characters smoke pot almost constantly, one to self-medicate his mental illness, the other to mask his profound unhappiness. They also drink heavily, everything from beer to whiskey, at home, at bars, at work, wherever.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Are You Here centers on the friendship between two not-so-emotionally healthy guys (Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis) who've known each other since childhood. One is immature, constantly stoned, and quick to pursue every woman he sees, while the other is mentally ill and reluctant to address his condition with real treatment. Their friendship is challenged when one inherits a substantial amount of money and it's not clear he can handle his newfound wealth. Expect plenty of marijuana use and drinking, as well as frequent swearing (everything from "f--k" and "s--t" to "bitch" and "a--hole"). Some scenes include nude women, and one long sequence includes a naked man seen from behind. There's also some kissing and suggestions of impending sexual activity.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjohnswanson October 30, 2014

Tons of sex, nudity, language, and drug use.

This movie is certainly not for kids. Although kids will be interested in seeing Owen Wilson and Zach Galifanakis because they are very funny, parents don... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byKepo February 28, 2017

What's the story?

Ben (Zach Galifianakis) and Steve (Owen Wilson) have been friends since they were little kids, and now that they're adults, the mostly functional (though emotionally stunted) Steve spends a good portion of his time and energy caring for Ben, who's clearly suffering from mental illness but refuses to be treated for it. Theirs is a true friendship that has stood the test of time (and loads of ill-conceived adventures), but it's also an unhealthy relationship. And it's thrown even further awry when Ben's father dies, leaving him a significant inheritance that's he's incapable of managing. His sister, Terri (Amy Poehler), is determined to contest the will, and the complicated situation is made even more so by Angela (Laura Ramsey), the very young widow of Ben's late dad, who seems to feel connected to Steve.

Is it any good?

ARE YOU HERE, the first movie directed by Mad Men's Matthew Weiner, aims high but falls pretty far down in its efforts to make big statements about too many big topics. There's friendship, addiction, the perils of ignoring mental illness, and inter-sibling issues to explore, not to mention a streak of environmentalism. In short, it's a lofty film that's a sprawling mess.

The one saving grace is the rapport between the two leads, and the story of their characters' deeply committed friendship. The film's take on the two is honest and unflinching. But that's not the case when it comes to the way that relationships with women are rendered. Newly widowed Angela is a flimsily conceived character; Poehler's role as the bitter sister who always wants to tell her disturbed brother off is also skimpy. Eventually, the guys do figure out, in a manner of speaking, their respective paths, but do we care about their journey? Not really.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents can talk about how the movie portrays drinking and drug use. Why do the characters turn to substances so often? Are there realistic consequences for using them?

  • What do you think about Steve and Ben's friendship? How do they help each other, and how do they hold each other back? Is it a believable relationship?

  • What did you think about Angela and her relationship to the two men? Does she care for Ben? Or Steve? Or neither?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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