Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
Expired Movie Poster Image
Tough indie drama features great performances.
  • NR
  • 2008
  • 107 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The film suggests that one character's use of pornography and prostitutes has damaged the person's capacity to form real attachments. A supporting character passes away. City property is misused, with ramifications.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Pretty much all the main characters have their flaws, and they often behave in ways that leave much to be desired.


A character is hit by a car; another character scuffles with an angry bystander. The main characters wrestle with each other.


A character peruses online pornography; a character masturbates (images aren't graphic); characters kiss and have sex; a character calls a sex-chat line and later avails himself of the services of a prostitute.


Some crude language, including "f--k," "ass," "s--t," "bitch," "retard," a--hole," "p---y," "nipples," "whore," "sluts," and references to "down there."


Some brands mentioned and shown on screen, including M&Ms, Subway, Carl's Junior, Corvette.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol -- champagne, wine, and cocktails -- is consumed; a character refers to years being lost to drug use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this mature indie dramedy revolves around a tentative, troubled romance between adults and probably won't have too much appeal for kids, or even many teens. It's fairly explicit about sex, with one main character using Internet pornography and even prostitutes to satisfy his needs, even while he's seeing someone. He's not painted as an out-and-out "bad guy" for his behavior, either. There's also a scene with masturbation, as well as some strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t"), drinking, and references to drug use.

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What's the story?

The feature-film debut of writer-director Cecilia Miniucchi, EXPIRED follows the life of Claire (Samantha Morton), a quiet, introspective Los Angeles meter maid. Claire does her job and does it well, spending most of her evenings tending to her wheelchair-bound mother (Teri Garr), who's speechless since her stroke. Claire meets fellow parking officer Jay (Jason Patric), and the two have a series of strained conversations and awkward meals that culminate in something like a date. But Jay has no idea how to treat a woman, and Claire has no idea how a woman should be treated ... raising the question of whether the twosome's relationship is really what either of them wants or needs.

Is it any good?

This film requires a leap of faith from its audience: Viewers have to tackle some big, rough issues and fairly ugly behavior, but the trade-off is getting to witness some truly amazing acting. Morton, Patric, and Garr are all terrific here, and indie-film stalwart Illeana Douglas has a few brisk, brief scenes as Claire's neighbor and confidant. Morton manages to make Claire a complex person, not just a vulnerable victim; Patric makes Jay's self-loathing aggression the most visible part of a wounded soul. And the two come to confront each other; as Claire says to Jay in one of the film's more emotionally naked confrontations, "Maybe you could try making love to a person, instead of a body."

Miniucchi may not shy away from ugly imbalances and interactions, but she's not simply playing the "shocking indie film" angle, either. Claire and Jay are people, not just positions; after the credits roll, you may find yourself arguing about the relationship you've just seen unfold and the characters you've just witnessed the lives of. Regardless of which position you take, you're going to have an opinion. And the plot, like life, throws a few surprises at the characters and the audience. Expired is a tough film about the challenges of living and taking chances; some of its laughs are wrenchingly uncomfortable, and some of its harder moments are excruciating, but it's always superbly acted and achingly sincere.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages about relationships. Jay clearly has intimacy issues -- why?

  • Is his use of pornography and prostitution an impediment to real intimacy? How about Claire -- what keeps her from reaching out to other people and the world?

  • Why do you think so many movies are about relationships (particularly romantic ones)?

  • What is it about that topic that keeps people coming back for more?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love kooky characters

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