Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
C.O.G. Movie Poster Image
Strange, edgy movie based on David Sedaris story.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages
This movie doesn't really seem to know what it wants to say: The bulk of it advocates becoming Christian and taking God into your heart, but then it abruptly drops this idea, and, additionally, doesn't provide many positive examples.
Positive Role Models & Representations
The lead character is a cynical, smart Ivy League graduate who views everyone else with contempt. When he gets to know a few people, he starts to understand kindness, but for whatever reason, all of these friendships end or fall apart abruptly. He's left even more confused and sad than he was at the beginning.
A character comes on to the main character in an aggressively sexual way; one scene comes very close to being a rape scene, but it's stopped in time. The predator slaps his victim and has him pushed up against the wall, with the victim pleading for him to stop. Another character tells the story of how he lost his leg in war. A woman uses some verbal, violent abortion imagery while telling a story.
The main character and another male character flirt. The second male character shows the lead character his extensive collection of sex toys, all of which are mounted on the walls and on shelves in his room. This character comes on strong to the main character, who rebuffs him, but the other character starts to force himself onto the other man. Background characters are seen passionately kissing on a bus, and a woman is shown doing something sexual to her partner under a blanket.
Language is very, very strong during the movie's first half, and especially in its first 10 minutes, though it eventually tapers out to nearly none by the final half hour. Words include "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, "p---y," "c--t," "c--k," "t-ts," "a--hole," "cum," "ass," "son of a bitch," "f----t," "d--k," "motherf----r," "crap," "retard," "slut," "c---sucker," "dyke," and "bastard."
Mountain Dew is mentioned. The main character gulps some NyQuil to try to get to sleep on a bus.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character gulps some NyQuil to try to get to sleep on a bus. Two guys drink beers in a social way after work. Adult characters smoke cigarettes in one scene.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that C.O.G. is a coming-of-age comedy/drama based on a story by humorist/essayist David Sedaris -- though his many fans are likely to be disappointed. The movie is strange, confused, and not very funny. It features a main character who may be gay, though the movie doesn't really discuss this. A sexually aggressive male partner tries to force the lead character into sex, but the attempt is stopped before anything very serious happens. There's also some violent imagery in the dialogue. Language is extremely strong, especially during the movie's first third, and includes just about every word under the sun. There are a few quick sexually suggestive moments, and adult characters occasionally drink beers and smoke cigarettes in a casual, background way.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChris Y. December 30, 2017

Good movie with salient points

This movie felt eerily similar to my experiences as a young adult coming to terms with some of the aggressive sexual behaviour of some gay men and my concurrent... Continue reading
Adult Written byCrystal T. July 7, 2017

Degrading God.... Don't watch

At the beginning of this film I was a little interested in seeing what was going to happen. However, throughout the film I began to realize how deceptive it was... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old September 22, 2013


I am a kid I have not seen the movie.
But I really waunt to.
I think if your child has read at least one or two of David sedarises books and you have two.
And... Continue reading

What's the story?

Snooty Yale graduate David (Jonathan Groff) -- who subsequently goes by "Samuel" -- decides to go off the grid and find himself. He gets a job picking apples, but unwanted advances from a male co-worker, Curly (Corey Stoll), send him running. Penniless, he turns to Jon (Denis O'Hare), whom he met handing out religious pamphlets on the street (with the mysterious acronym "C.O.G." on them). Samuel joins Jon in his artistic vocation, making clocks shaped like Oregon out of jade and trying to sell them at craft fairs. At the same time, Jon tries to convince Samuel that he needs to embrace God and takes him to church. Samuel struggles with these concepts of faith, as well as more earthbound troubles.

Is it any good?

C.O.G. claims to be the first movie adapted from the writings of essayist/humorist David Sedaris, and, unfortunately, it's a huge disappointment. Sedaris' work is wry, self-effacing, witty, and often tender; this movie is simultaneously confused, arrogant, and passive. As with almost any movie told from the point of view of a writer, the lead character is only a passive observer and isn't at all engaging. Likewise, other characters never really come to life, because we only see them from one vantage point.
As for the movie's themes, it hints at the character's homosexuality but then totally ignores it and buries it until a final moment that's too little, too late. Plus, after a cynically humorous opening scene, the humor stops, the religious themes are introduced with the utmost seriousness, and finally, these, too, are just as suddenly dropped. Most disturbingly, a quasi-attempted rape is shrugged off as an awkward inconvenience. The only thing that's consistent about the movie is that none of it feels genuine.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sexually aggressive "Curly" character. What does this character represent? How does he affect the main character? How does this violent episode change the mood of the story?
  • How does the movie depict religion and/or Christianity? What do the characters get out of their belief? Where does their faith get tested?
  • How does C.O.G. the movie differ from the original David Sedaris essay?
  • Is this a "coming of age" movie? What does that genre usually entail?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coming-of-age stories

Themes & Topics

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