Parents' Guide to


By Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Well-meaning but sometimes confusing middle school drama.

Movie NR 2016 90 minutes
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Good intentions, thought-provoking issues, and nuanced characters are defeated by a script with an overly-complicated plot, characters with deficient motivation, and a lack of clear resolutions. Apparently, writer-director Christopher Boone wanted to make an unpredictable, subtle film that would resonate with today's middle school audiences. He did, and yet he didn't. Sometimes subtlety muddies the waters. In this case, plot elements are spotlighted, then dropped (the penny drive simply fades away; the most devious player never pays a price for her mischief). Sammy's mathematics display on behalf of her mom looks great on film, but the reason for it and its impact are impenetrable. Still, solid performances, especially by Julia Flores, Esodie Geiger, and Monique Candelaria, and the earnestness with which it was made make Cents watchable. And, without a doubt, it delivers heartfelt messages about growing up, mother-daughter relationships, and learning from one's mistakes.

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