A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie deals with sexuality. The primary plotline is a friendship-turned-romance between Holden and Alyssa, who is introduced as a lesbian. There are numerous conversations detailing characters' sexual practices and fantasies. Characters drink, smoke, have sex, use drugs, gay-bash, and get in fights.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Holden and his business partner and childhood friend Banky Edwards (Jason Lee) are enjoying the success of their comic Bluntman and Chronic when Holden falls head over heels for fellow comic artist Alyssa. Faced with the information that Alyssa prefers women, Holden remains undeterred, and the pair forms a close friendship that ultimately crosses the line between platonic and romantic.
Is it any good?
CHASING AMY is an age-old story: boy meets girl, boy falls head over heels for girl, boy discovers girl has no interest in him; in this case, the interesting twist is that Alyssa is a lesbian. Although smart for its time, the movie has not aged particularly well, and subsequent films from other directors have dealt more intelligently with the often blurry boundaries of sexual identity. This film deals with adult themes that should definitely be taken into consideration before allowing kids to view it.
Director Kevin Smith's atypical romantic comedy follows the relationship between Holden and Alyssa, while also entertaining an interesting discussion about the ostensibly straight male friendship between Holden and Banky. The movie is part of Smith's series of films focusing on characters living in New Jersey, but is definitely not his sharpest work. The acting is overall fine, but Adams' performance as Alyssa often makes her seem weepy and weak.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about issues of gender and sexuality. The film raises a number of interesting questions about sexual behavior and identity. Does Alyssa's affair with Holden undermine her identity as a lesbian? How does her affair alienate her from her community? Holden's reaction to information about Alyssa's past ultimately destroys their relationship. How might Holden have dealt with his feelings more productively? Is there a double standard about the amount of sexual experience that's acceptable for men and women?
- In theaters: January 23, 1997
- On DVD or streaming: June 13, 2000
- Cast: Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Joey Lauren Adams
- Director: Kevin Smith
- Studio: Miramax
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 113 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong graphic sex-related dialogue, language, sexuality and drug content
- Last updated: September 17, 2020
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