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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The relationship at the heart of the movie is based on manipulation and obsession.
Positive Role Models
There are two female leads, but neither displays role model characteristics.
Violence & Scariness
Smashing of objects (blender, cell phone). Verbal reference to a violent father. Character passed out in a muddy ditch in the rain.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Verbal reference to a "night of passion" and having sex.
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Occasional use of "merda" ("s--t"), "cazzate" ("bulls--t"), "puttana" ("bitch").
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Products & Purchases
Multiple brand names featured, including Apple computer, iPhone, Microsoft Word, and Kenwood appliances.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Frequent wine/beer drinking by adults at dinner, at a party, at a bar. In at least one scene, adults drink hard liquor. Main character takes Xanax to relax. Character regularly smokes cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Based on a True Story (aka D'après une histoire vraie) is a subtitled French psychological thriller, directed by Roman Polanski, about a toxic/obsessive friendship. It's based on the same-named novel by French author Delphine de Vigan. Adult characters drink frequently (wine, beer, hard liquor) in social settings, a character regularly takes Xanax to relax, and another smokes. There's little physical violence, though some behavior could be considered psychological abuse. Some aspects could potentially be too much for younger viewers, including suspenseful music, a clear sense of dread throughout the movie, and scenes in which a character is violently ill -- or passed out in a muddy ditch in the rain. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite a great performance by Green as the eerily overbearing "friend," this psychological thriller fails to convince. Some might be intrigued by how reality and fiction can influence and shape each other. There are also some interesting dynamics that are explored in the relationship between the two main characters in Based on a True Story. For example, to what extent does Delphine's friendship with Elle benefit her, and vice versa? And when exactly does Elle start crossing the line?
Depending on your point of view, it can be fascinating to watch as Elle worms her way into taking over Delphine's life. Or it can be excruciatingly frustrating that Delphine doesn't see the obvious as she quietly and wholeheartedly surrenders to Elle. The finale becomes even more fantastical and far-fetched, before ending with an unsatisfying conclusion.
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.