A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Before We Go -- actor Chris Evans' directorial debut -- is a relationship drama that takes place during one night in Manhattan. Evans and Alice Eve play strangers who are thrown together under unusual circumstances and end up getting to know and confiding in each other. There's some strong language ("s--t," "a--hole," and one "f--k"), one fight during which a man is punched in the face, social drinking by adults, and some sexual situations (a couple exits an elevator having obviously just had sex, and another couple kisses passionately but doesn't do anything more), though nothing particularly graphic.
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What's the story?
BEFORE WE GO is Chris Evans' (Captain America) directorial debut. Evans plays Nick, a jazz trumpeter who's killing time in New York's Grand Central Station when he sees a panic-stricken woman (Alice Eve) run by, dropping her phone. The woman, it turns out, is Brooke, an art consultant who's desperate to make the last train to Boston. But when she doesn't, Nick offers to help her find an alternative way home. Thus begins the two strangers' journey around Lower Manhattan, where they try to find a missing purse, crash a party, and wind up at a wedding reception attended by Nick's ex-girlfriend. As the night goes on, Nick and Brooke share an undeniable connection, but they both also have considerable relationship baggage to sort through.
Is it any good?
As the story progresses, it's obvious that Nick and Brooke have chemistry, but their openness and intimacy aren't enough to make the movie as compelling as other "romance in one night" stories. The standard-bearer, of course, is Before Sunrise, but there's also the fun, adventuresome Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Sure, Before We Go is set in New York and stars attractive, charming actors, but it's not romantic enough to make the build-up to the "will they or won't they?" matter.
Nick and Brooke are both stuck, and while it becomes clearer why Nick isn't going to the reception where he's expected -- and why Brooke must return home by the morning -- it doesn't really become clearer whether they're meant to start something based on this one night. The romance takes a back seat to the friendship they strike, each providing the confidant and voice of reason the other needs to move forward. There aren't many supporting actors or funny scenes, although it is kind of cute when the two duet on "My Funny Valentine" -- the one standard Brooke told Nick she knew by heart. An uneven story about two adults in need of connection and a push to get past their fears, Before We Go may not be memorable, but at least the actors are good.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Before We Go's messages. What audience do you think the movie is aimed at? Is it more or less grown-up than other romantic movies?
What do you think about the way the various relationships are portrayed? Do any seem more or less realistic than others? Why? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
What's the appeal of movies that take place in one night? What are some others you can think of, and how does this one compare?
- In theaters: September 4, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: November 3, 2015
- Cast: Chris Evans, Alice Eve, Emma Fitzpatrick
- Director: Chris Evans
- Studio: Radius TWC
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: brief strong language and some suggestive content
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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