Everything Must Go

  • Review Date: May 10, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Smart, poignant dramedy puts alcoholism front and center.
  • Review Date: May 10, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Amid the serious content, the movie's main message is a simple but important one: Addiction destroys. It's paired with the notion that redemption is available if you want it.

Positive role models

Nick is hardly an obvious role model, but how he deals with the hand he's dealt evolves into something pretty admirable. And Kenny is astoundingly wise beyond his years.

Violence

A man slashes a tire and keys a car; later, he has a confrontation with someone in a parking lot. Some shoving and yelling. The man also urinates into a fish pond out of spite and throws an object at a window.

Sex

A couple is shown in S&M wear, presumably having sex. A middle-schooler finds a trove of Playboy magazines. Conversations about infidelity.

Language

Words include "s--t," "f--k," "piss," "ass," "a--hole," "bulls--t," "crap," "damn," and more.

Consumerism

Pabst Blue Ribbon is prominently displayed; other labels seen include Budweiser, Schwinn, and Taurus.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The main character is an alcoholic who is seen guzzling from beer cans, sometimes with desperation. There’s nothing glamorous about it at all.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this moving drama, based on a short story by Raymond Carver, is far from the usual broad comedies that star Will Ferrell is known for. Though inflected with humor, it’s a serious and sobering (no pun intended) movie about a man slipping over the brink of life -- giving in to his alcoholism and losing his marriage and all his belongings. There’s some swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k"), a few brief sexually charged scenes (with partial nudity and kink), and loads and loads of drinking (the lead character is an alcoholic, after all).

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

With his job wrestled away from him, his wife finally fed up, and his belongings tossed into their front yard, is Nick Porter (Will Ferrell) finally hitting bottom? And, if so, what will he do? As always, Nick turns to drink, buying cases of beer and artfully arranging, as best he can, his belongings on the lawn as if it were his new abode. But when he meets a new neighbor (Rebecca Hall) with surprising insight into and understanding of his misery, reconnects with a high school friend (Laura Dern) who remembers him differently, and befriends a young boy (Christopher Jordan Wallace) who inexplicably has faith in him, Nick is confronted with a question: Who am I, and what do I do next?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

As lightly and expertly told as the original Raymond Carver short story on which it’s based, EVERYTHING MUST GO is a fantastic, unusual meditation on addiction and self-determination. Gone are the sappy, music-swelled moments and the sweeping epiphanies. What’s left is an intelligent, compassionate, and (we suspect) much more realistic, much messier arc of a man who's in the grips of alcoholism and is unsure of how to get out from under it -- or whether he even can.

Kudos to director Dan Rush, who knows exactly when to push and when to hold back. The supporting actors, especially Hall and Wallace (who, incidentally, is Biggie Smalls’ son) are subtly effective, as is Michael Pena as Nick’s less-than-saintly AA sponsor. But the movie is Ferrell’s. His Nick isn’t a loud, soppy, blustery drunk, and more power to him. Nick is broken to bits, held together by a hair and caseloads of Pabst Blue Ribbon, with a thread of connection to a wisp of his once-righteous self. And the stuff! Seeing all of Nick’s worldly possessions on that lawn is reminder to us all: Do any of these things, our things, really matter? If not, what does?

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the movie presents addiction. Is there any glamour here? What are the consequences of Nick's drinking?

  • What can viewers learn from Nick’s predicament and his response to it?

  • Why do you think Ferrell would choose to make a movie like this? Do you think he's trying to appeal to his usual fan base?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 13, 2011
DVD release date:September 6, 2011
Cast:Laura Dern, Rebecca Hall, Will Ferrell
Director:Dan Rush
Studio:Roadside Attractions
Genre:Drama
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and some sexual content

This review of Everything Must Go was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 16 years old Written byBestPicture1996 May 1, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Small and significant portrayal of alcoholism

Minus the weird sex scene that lasts maybe 3 seconds, the movie is fine to show teenagers. No over-dramatic acting from Will here; he plays a man who's lost it all. He's at rock bottom and he keeps on slipping down. Very well-made subtle indie that has a great cast for Ferrell to work with.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 May 14, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Smart, poignant dramedy puts alcoholism front and center.

this moving drama, based on a short story by Raymond Carver, is far from the usual broad comedies that star Will Ferrell is known for. Though inflected with humor, it’s a serious and sobering (no pun intended) movie about a man slipping over the brink of life -- giving in to his alcoholism and losing his marriage and all his belongings. There’s some swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k"), a few brief sexually charged scenes (with partial nudity and kink), and loads and loads of drinking (the lead character is an alcoholic, after all).
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Common Sense Kids Action