Parents' Guide to

Coming Up for Air

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Mother-son message movie focuses on mental illness.

Movie NR 2019 124 minutes
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This well-intentioned if overlong message movie promotes mental health awareness for college students. The cast isn't well known but does a decent, believable job. Staples stands out as Anna, who's heavily in debt but doing everything she can to support and help her son. Anna's maternal plight will be relatable to audiences with older teens or kids away at college, just as Stan's struggle to balance academics and athletics (and life in general) will feel similarly realistic to 18- to 22-year-olds who are doing their best to handle living on their own and life as an adult.

Coming Up for Air gets bogged down in parts, and it's about half an hour too long, but it's not without amusing and endearing moments. The comedic banter between Anna and her younger sister brings some levity to a drama with heavy themes, and the blossoming relationship between Anna and an old friend is just enough to keep the story from being melodramatic. Director Robert Cicchini's quiet movie skirts the line between retro after-school special and a streaming-service teen film, with various resources offered during the credits. It's worth watching before your kids have grown and flown, but it's not a likely pick for a fun family movie night.

Movie Details

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