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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
People may not be who they first seem to be. It's important to be true to yourself. Loyalty and love are tested in difficult times. "Don't lose sleep over something as shallow as money." "Keep secrets so loved ones aren't sad."
Positive Role Models
Chieh is a struggling actor and director who perseveres despite money troubles and disability. The mom, Sanlian, is a noisy, self-pitying, volatile, over-reactive shrew. Chengxi is an angsty teen dealing with difficult circumstances.
Violence & Scariness
Loan sharks beat up a guy who owes them money. A badly broken leg is seen. A teen threatens to jump off a balcony. A man is covered with blood after the death of a loved one.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two men kiss. A woman tries to unzip her husband's pants. Someone suggests that a wife should act "sluttier" to satisfy her husband. The issue of a gay man marrying in order to seem "normal" is central.
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"F--k," "s--t," "damn," "fag," "pervert," "ass," "bastard," "hell," "screw," "bitch," "d--k," and "retard."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke cigarettes and get drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dear Ex, a Taiwanese film in Mandarin with English subtitles, is a mashup of emotions surrounding the revelation to a 14-year-old boy that his deceased father was gay and that he left his money to his gay lover. Two men kiss. Adults smoke cigarettes and get drunk. Loan sharks beat up a man unable to pay back his loan. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "fag," and "bastard." A teen threatens to jump off a balcony. A man is covered with blood after the death of a loved one. The issue of a gay man marrying in order to seem "normal" is central to the movie. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This Taiwanese drama is so-so; not terrible but not wonderful, either. On the plus side, Dear Ex is about love and loss, being true to oneself self, and finding the courage to be authentic in the world, and those goals are accomplished well. But good intentions are weighed down by a chaotic style that doesn't organically flow from the plot. A messy and nearly incomprehensible play-within-a-play detracts from the rest of the goings on. Drawings, however cute, come out of nowhere to black out a scene, or adorn a character with wings or a sword. The reason for these flights of fancy are never clear, nor do they especially enhance our understanding of the action.
The gay man who falls deeply in love with the older married man is extremely sympathetic. The fact that he cannot tell his adoring mother that he's gay because he doesn't want to disappoint her is both touching and human, and that is why teens with secrets may find this movie heartening and compelling
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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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.See how we rate