Parents' Guide to

Family Squares

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Zoom dramedy focuses on family connections; teen pot use.

Movie R 2022 99 minutes
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The emotional hardship of being far from home during a crisis has never been more relatable, but viewers may need more distance from quarantine life to really appreciate this pandemic dramedy. Writer-director Stephanie Laing likely anticipated that by the time her dysfunctional family film came out, COVID-19 would be in the rearview mirror and we could look back and laugh. But at the time of release, virtual meetings are still the norm, so the floating-heads-in-computer-squares format is somewhat difficult to enjoy.

Still, Laing's effort is a time capsule representing what life was like for many in 2020–21, discomfort and all. It recognizes the chaos of online school, the appeal of RV escapism, garages converted into home offices, the anxiety of isolated teens, the loneliness of singles, and the too-much-togetherness of couples. Most present, though, is the difficulty that so many people faced of having a family member fall ill or even die and not being able to be there to say goodbye. Much like a Zoom meeting, your interest in Family Squares may wane the longer it goes on, but Laing and her cast of top-notch actors (including Judy Greer, Ann Dowd, Margo Martindale, Henry Winkler, and many more) remind us that while family connections are sometimes spotty, they strengthen when you get closer to the source.

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