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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Encourages empathy, compassion, and communication -- particularly between family members.
Positive Role Models
Scott cares about his family and is willing to sacrifice his plans to help his sister. Cindy is loving, creative. Cookie cares about her step-kids. Schizophrenia is portrayed through the eyes of someone without that mental illness; depiction relies on symptoms drawn from stereotypes, including delusions, voices, mania. Nearly all characters are White, except for one supporting character who is Black.
Violence & Scariness
A character dies (off camera); his dead body is briefly visible. A character destroys a home and goes missing, scaring a family member. Flashbacks of a girl acting erratically and putting herself in danger.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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Occasional strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "oh my God," etc. A character makes a rude gesture.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink at dinners and parties. Discussion of prescription drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Broken Diamonds is an indie drama starring Ben Platt as Scott, a young aspiring writer whose plans to move to Paris are delayed when his father dies and his older sister (Lola Kirke) must move in with him. The movie includes a potentially concerning depiction of a young woman living with schizophrenia: She's not the main character, and her symptoms and behavior are portrayed in the context of the impact they have on Scott's story arc. Expect occasional strong language (including "f--k" and "goddamn"), a few disturbing moments (a dead body, a character destroying a home), and serious themes revolving around chronic illness, mental illness, childhood trauma, and more. That said, the movie also encourages empathy, compassion, and communication. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The talented stars of this drama give capable performances, but the script falls into the trap of using a character with mental illness to impact the main character's growth. Platt and Kirke do fine work with the roles as given. They have a tender rapport, and both give nuanced performances as 20-somethings living without much parental support -- just each other. But there's a sense of unease watching Broken Diamonds play out, because it's off-putting to see a character who has a mental illness function primarily as a supporting character who changes the main character's life -- a cliché that has been criticized as tokenism for decades. Cindy's story arc includes perceived stereotypes and extreme symptoms of how schizophrenia manifests itself in young adults (voices, delusions, hallucinations, trouble concentrating, movement disorders), but they're all shown from Scott's perspective. Cindy's actions and struggles are viewed as important primarily because of how they impact him (and he has his own emotional issues to process), not her.
It's difficult to see past the movie's fundamental flaw because of Cindy's lack of agency as a character. Additionally, Ben's own character is limited to that of grieving son and put-upon brother, without exploring other areas of his life -- like his friendships, his plans in Paris (other than as a metaphor), or his past, aside from a couple of conversations with Cookie and his mom (over the phone). As with his directorial debut Camp X Ray (which he also wrote), Peter Sattler once again shows that he knows how to capture talented performances, but the execution here ultimately falls short because of the screenplay's missteps.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
Movies That Feature Characters Living with Mental Illness
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.See how we rate