A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Daisy Winters is a drama about an 11-year-old girl (Sterling Jerins) dealing with her mother dying of cancer. Both death and cancer are discussed, and a pale dead body is shown. Suicide by pills is also mentioned. The main character makes an iffy choice in choosing to cover up her mother's death and bury her in the front yard. She also breaks her arm, falling from her bike. Brief language includes use of "f--k," a few uses of "s--t," and single uses of "bitch," "goddamn," etc. A blow-up sex doll (complete with naked breasts) is shown, and characters talk about an extramarital affair that resulted in a child. Kids read a copy of Playpen magazine, but nothing is shown. An older character unwisely gives a pot brownie to an 11-year-old girl, and drugs are mentioned elsewhere.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
In DAISY WINTERS, 11-year-old Daisy (Sterling Jerins) has a close relationship with her mother, Sandy (Brooke Shields). Daisy's father is a mystery that Sandy has never told her about, and it's always been just the two of them. Sadly, Sandy has cancer, and it seems to be a losing battle. If Sandy dies, Daisy will be sent to live with her strict, religious Aunt Margaret (Carrie Preston). Meanwhile, Daisy and her best friend, Jackson (Nick Gore), are fascinated with their neighbors, especially a sad man who commits suicide and a recluse who stays locked inside all the time. Daisy also meets a new kid, Josh (Kyle Red Silverstein), and his cool, motorcycle-riding dad (Paul Blackthorne). One day, while exploring the neighborhood, Daisy gets an unconventional idea that will let her stay put should the worst come to pass.
Is it any good?
This drama is under-directed to the point of being alternately lifeless and awkward, but the main character has an appealing spunkiness that sometimes elevates the film. Daisy Winters is like a mash-up of an after-school special, a straight-to-video weepie, and a disturbing psychological portrait. But director Beth LaMure can't seem to establish much of a tone for any of these angles; everything is filmed in the most tiresomely basic way imaginable. Most scenes start on cue, with a character entering a room, a knock at the door, or a phone ringing, as if they were all practice exercises in Filmmaking 101.
When the unthinkable moment happens, it's handled with such odd detachment that it's almost shocking. Perhaps even worse is a soundtrack full of navel-gazing, mediocre pop music. The seasoned actors have a hard time with their thin characters, especially Preston, who doesn't seem to get where her Margaret is coming from. The younger actors are even stiffer, although Jerins, a veteran of movies like World War Z, The Conjuring 2, and Paterson, occasionally bursts to life with moments of thoughtful intuition; she makes Daisy a character who deserved a stronger, more daring movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Daisy Winters depicts death and parental loss. How does Daisy handle her mother's death? Were her actions appropriate? Should there have been more consequences?
Is Daisy a likable character? Is she a role model for tweens? What are her positive qualities? What mistakes does she make? Does she learn from them?
Why do you think the man gives Daisy a pot brownie? Were his intentions good? Does that matter?
- In theaters: December 1, 2017
- Cast: Brooke Shields, Carrie Preston, Sterling Jerins
- Director: Beth LaMure
- Studio: Hannover House
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature thematic content including some drug material, brief strong language and some suggestive images
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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.